Just over two decades ago, a team of psychology researchers named Costa and McRae researched personality and came up with five pairs of personality traits (termed, “the Big Five”) that seem to encompass most people in some varying blends.
One of their pairs of important traits is referred to as the Neuroticism traits—comprising two ends of a spectrum spanning from sensitive/nervous at one end to secure/confident at the other.
Costa and McRae believed that individuals were usually near one end of the spectrum of the neuroticism traits. In essence, they said that humans are either mostly sensitive and nervous or secure and confident and much of their testing has confirmed this theory.
Consider whether you’re more sensitive and nervous or more secure and confident. These points will help you decide:
1. Consider the prevalence of experiencing negative emotions. In general, the term, “neuroticism” means “negative emotion”
- So, do you mostly feel positive feelings or negative ones? If you feel more positive feelings, you likely tend toward the secure and confident side of neuroticism.
2. How well you handle stress figures into your neuroticism factor. If you struggle to deal with ongoing stress, perhaps calling in sick from work or developing a physical illness when you’re under prolonged stress, you could rank more toward the sensitive and nervous end of the spectrum.
3. The balance of your emotions plays into neuroticism. If you would describe yourself as having inconsistent emotions, you might be sensitive and nervous. This means your emotions might be unpredictable and moods may be in flux throughout your day or week.
4. Your reactions to ongoing life situations matter. The ability to regulate your reactions and respond well to challenging events is a part of the neuroticism picture.
- If something unexpected blocks your path and you’re able to continue living a tranquil existence, you might very well be seen as secure and confident.
5. Take career tests. As the Big Five personality traits are often included on career and job tests, don’t be surprised if you must respond to statements related to the neuroticism factor when taking such tests. Those statements might sound something like this:
- I feel angry all the time.
- Little things bother me.
If you rate the above items as high, then you would likely score near the sensitive/nervous part of the scale.
- I easily recover from disturbing events.
- I rarely feel anxious.
In the event you rate these types of responses highly, it’s likely your overall neuroticism score would fall more toward the secure/confident range.
Why Would You Want To Take These Tests?
Taking such tests will broaden your ideas about yourself and help you commit to making long-term changes, if you like, in order to live a life that pleases you more.
Because your personality largely determines the person you are and the life choices you make, it’s wise to spend some time understanding elements of your neuroticism traits.
You can often obtain information about these tests, or take one, at a local community college. If you prefer, look for “The Big Five Personality Test” online. You can take it for free and the results are used for educational purposes.
In the meantime, try to learn more about neuroticism traits. The more you understand about the constructs of personality, the more likely it is you’ll take the time to concentrate on becoming the successful person you want to be.