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Social Well-being

What kind of personality do you have? How would you describe yourself? Personality - constructionPsychology uses the Big Five Personality Traits as a way of summarizing individuals: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion. One way to remember these terms is with the word, CANOE.

Transition to retirement is less traumatic if you plan ahead to have purpose and meaning in your life in later years. Even if you’re already retired, it’s not too late to make plans for your future. What are your daydreams about? Where do you focus your attention? What inspires you to spend your energy on? A good place to start this quest is with your values, because anything you do that matches your values will bring meaning and purpose to your life.

As I mentioned last week, personality factors do not vary across all levels of loneliness (Cacioppo et al., 2006). A lonely person is just as likely as a nonlonely person to exhibit - emotional stability - surgency (level of positive affect) - agreeableness - conscientiousness - shyness - sociability.

Identifying loneliness

There is a grossly unfair stigma attached to people who are lonely. They are mistakenly viewed as having a flaw in their personality, whereas they are simply genetically predisposed to loneliness.

No noticeable differences

In fact, their social skills are just as good, they dress as well, and they are just as pleasant to be around as non-lonely people.

Parents, especially mothers, tend to be blamed (or praised) for how children turn out, but James Hillman takes issue with this mind set. Of course they have a strong influence, but he claims it is a fantasy that “the primary instrument of our fate is the behaviour of your mother and father.” 

A 10-fold increase in depression in our society is caused by a culture of individualism. This is the view of psychologist Martin P. Seligman, and it makes sense to me. Our pleasures, our pains, our successes, our failures – all are seen as significant concerns of the individual, rather than concerns of the group or community.

When you have a job to finish, is it better to motivate yourself by looking back at the part you’ve already done, or look ahead at what’s left to do? If you want your willpower to kick in, it’s better to look ahead at what is left to do. What do you usually do to finish something – look back or look ahead? This is a small example of monitoring your behavior, to help you stay on track.