When do people change
Can People Change? A Look at What's Realistic
Most people agree: Everyone makes mistakes.
You might use this phrase to console a loved one who’s done something they regret or boost self-compassion when you mess up yourself.
Perhaps you add the reassurance, “You’ll do better next time,” or vow to use your experience to improve in the future.
These common sayings imply people can change — and they absolutely can.
Anyone can make an effort to alter specific habits or behaviors. Even some aspects of attitude and personality can change over time… with some dedicated effort.
Yet while people can change, not everyone does. How can you tell if someone will ever really address certain behaviors? What factors make improvement more likely?
Keep reading to find out.
Change is often complicated, and it doesn’t always happen the way you envision. The following reminders can help you maintain a realistic perspective about the process.
You can’t force change
Simply telling someone “You need to change” usually won’t work.
Before someone can make lasting change to a specific behavior or trait, they need to want to make those changes.
You can certainly offer encouragement and support or set an example of positive change, but you can’t control anyone else’s actions.
Ultimatums sometimes inspire behavioral change because they illustrate what’s at stake:
- “Either you stop drinking or I leave this relationship.”
An ultimatum may not work, however, when the other person views it as an attempt to exert control. What’s more, they probably won’t commit to a lasting effort unless they truly care about the consequences.
Change takes time and effort
If you’ve ever resolved to change something about yourself, you likely understand this decision is only the beginning.
After setting a goal, such as “Stop showing up late,” you probably explored reasons behind your frequent lateness:
- trouble getting up in the morning
- frequently misplacing keys
- a tendency to lose track of time
Once you had a clearer idea of what you could do differently, you probably tried to put your plan into action. Maybe you tried setting your morning alarm 15 minutes earlier or attached a key hook to the back of your front door.
But even the best intentions don’t yield immediate improvement. You might have needed to experiment with different strategies to find one that really worked.
When hoping for change from someone else, don’t expect overnight success. They’re going through the same process. Encouraging them and praising their efforts can help build up their determination to keep trying.
Change doesn’t always follow a linear path
Even someone with a sincere determination to change won’t always succeed the first time, or the second. It’s easy to slip back into old habits at first, sometimes without realizing it.
It often helps to reconsider your strategy and explore other methods of managing triggers before trying again.
That said, true commitment to change generally shows up in noticeable effort and progress.
Say your partner teases you whenever you disagree.
After some discussion, they admit they do this to lighten the mood because they dislike conflict. When they realize it hurts you, they agree to stop. They succeed for a few months but eventually fall back into the habit.
When you call it out, they decide to go to therapy to address the underlying issues related to their fears around conflict.
Various factors combine to make up personality, values and beliefs, and behavior.
Some of the biggest factors include:
- genetic predisposition to certain traits
- childhood environment
- life experience
In the past, experts largely believed personality traits tended to remain relatively fixed, once developed. More recent findings suggest personality can change throughout life, even into older adulthood.
In fact, personality seems to change most between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.
One possible explanation for this involves the self-exploration process common in early adulthood, which may promote self-directed change.
While your traits aren’t set in stone, some characteristics are more easily adaptable than others.
With encouragement and effort, most people find it possible to change aspects of self, such as:
- habits and behaviors
- attitude and outlook on life
- physical or verbal responses
Research suggests people can work to address areas of their personality they feel dissatisfied with, though this change often happens indirectly —more on that below.
What about people who cheat or lie?
Many people wonder whether people who do hurtful things — lie, cheat, or manipulate, to name a few — can really change those behaviors.
In theory, yes, anyone can stop doing something if they choose to do so. The problem typically lies in what prompts the behavior and their willingness to address that emotional trigger.
Infidelity and lying happen for any number of reasons, and if those underlying causes go unaddressed, the behavior likely won’t change.
The same goes for manipulation. Many people learn to manipulate to get their needs met, and this behavior can develop in childhood as a defense mechanism.
It’s often difficult to address ingrained strategies for coping and survival, but people can, and often do, learn new behaviors with support.
Considering broader behavior patterns can help. Someone who regrets their actions and expresses interest in growth may succeed at making changes.
But someone who insists they’ll really change “this time” yet shows no remorse and makes no effort to do anything different? They may not be ready to address their behavior.
While people are generally capable of change, there are some aspects that are less likely to change.
Core personality traits
While personality does continue developing into adulthood, core traits tend to remain relatively stable throughout life.
These traits, known as the Big Five, include:
- openness to experience
These key elements of personality tend to evolve in smaller ways instead of changing completely.
Someone who’s fairly introverted in early adulthood, for example, probably won’t swing toward extroversion. Instead, they might work to become more social by seeking out and cultivating important relationships.
People who do want to make changes in personality may find it most helpful to address beliefs and coping mechanisms associated with specific personality traits, not the traits themselves.
Say you’re fairly untidy and have a tendency to procrastinate on projects and chores.
When you notice these traits occasionally cause problems in your relationships, you make a greater effort to complete things on time and keep your living space more organized.
You didn’t directly change your level of conscientiousness.
Instead, you changed your response, perhaps by reminding yourself to stay on task when you feel distracted or telling yourself your partner doesn’t want to see dirty laundry overflowing from the hamper.
Emotions and emotional responses may not change easily, either.
Even unpleasant or painful feelings can have a lot of significance, and it’s tough to “turn off” emotions. (Even when you can, you shouldn’t — this can affect well-being.)
By acknowledging and accepting them instead, you can teach yourself to react in more helpful ways.
Mental health conditions
Similarly, you can’t entirely get rid of most mental health conditions, whether that’s depression, anxiety, or a personality disorder.
But you can improve your symptoms by seeking treatment and learning new ways to cope.
Once you realize the need for change, you’ll move through a few stages:
- contemplation: thinking about the change
- preparation: getting ready for the change
- action: implementing the change
- maintenance: sticking with the change over time
It’s common (and very normal) to experience setbacks along the way. The factors below can help improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Outlining some of the reasons behind your desire for change can help you feel more committed. When you get stuck or discouraged, these reasons can renew your desire to keep trying.
Once you decide on a change you want to make, list your reasons. Reviewing this list whenever you struggle can make a big difference in your determination to stick with it.
If a loved one shares difficulties making progress with a change, help boost their motivation by reminding them of what they’re working toward and what they stand to gain.
Your brain can’t always separate imagination from reality, so mentally “seeing” your success may actually help you achieve it.
Visualizing yourself succeeding at your goals can help your brain believe you actually can succeed. The more you believe in yourself, the greater your chances of improvement.
Try these visualization exercises to practice envisioning your success.
Positive feedback and support
When you hesitate to acknowledge the possibility of change, you give others less motivation to make an attempt. They might think, “Why bother if no one has faith in me?”
You can help increase a loved one’s chances of success by offering encouragement instead of doubt.
- asking about their progress
- praising their attempts
- joining them in making positive change
Keep in mind that the same applies to you. If you don’t believe you can change, you might not succeed.
Generate positive support by telling loved ones about your goals. They can offer encouragement, cheer you on, and strengthen your faith in yourself.
Effort (not ability)
Getting stuck on your perception of your abilities can sometimes stop you before you even get started.
If you’re naturally shy, you might think, “There’s no way I can get to know new people on my own.” Convinced you lack the ability to change, you might continue avoiding social situations, even though you want to make new friends.
A better approach involves exploring ways to achieve growth.
- “Talking first is too much, so I’ll start by smiling and making eye contact.”
- “I’ll introduce myself to one new person each week.”
- “Today, I’ll say hello to two coworkers.”
After you successfully complete these smaller steps, the end goal might seem more achievable.
You can also encourage a loved one with this strategy. As they practice a new behavior or work to break a habit, offer encouragement and recognition of their effort instead of focusing on end results.
Some change requires professional support. Not everyone has an easy time addressing certain behaviors on their own, and some changes require professional support.
In fact, the behaviors and characteristics that cause the most harm — dishonesty, infidelity, low empathy — are often the most difficult to address.
But therapy can help with any type of change, whether that involves:
- breaking unwanted habits
- rebuilding trust
- overcoming addiction
- increasing empathy
- addressing mental health concerns.
A therapist can help you (or a loved one):
- uncover factors contributing to the unwanted behavior or personality trait
- explore strategies to promote new behaviors
- develop a plan to manage triggers and maintain effort over time
Even behaviors associated with personality disorders, which were once considered extremely difficult (if not impossible) to treat, can improve with professional support.
In therapy, you’ll find compassion and guidance, not judgment, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Change is a possibility, not a given.
It’s important to recognize that people can change, but it’s just as important to know when to move on.
In most cases, change doesn’t happen until someone wants it for themselves. If they don’t seem willing to address problematic behaviors, waiting and hoping may simply leave you in a position where you accept pain again and again.
If you’d like more guidance on your specific circumstances, a therapist can always offer support.
Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.
Can People Change? When, How, and Why (or Why not)
People can change but only if a few requirements are met, including self-awareness and willpower. There are some exceptions, though.
Your personality is shaped by a dynamic relationship between your interactions, temperament, and environments. Change is possible.
What does it mean for a person to change? Change is a sustained reinforcement of new behaviors and thinking patterns.
Changing who you are or how you behave may be possible through a collective understanding of attitudes, habits, behaviors, and personality traits.
Yes, changing your attitude is possible. But it may be difficult in some cases if you don’t explore the root cause of your current attitudes.
Attitude is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “a relatively enduring and general evaluation of an object, person, group, issue, or concept on a dimension.” It comes from your beliefs, emotions, and past experiences and behaviors.
It’s possible to change your attitude when you understand how it is formed and how it impacts your life.
Sometimes, though, attitude is linked to emotional pain or hurtful past experiences. You may not be aware of this or, even if you are, your attitude in a certain situation may be a reaction to a trigger or an event that activates the pain.
Living with trauma, for example, may lead to a defensive attitude and affect how you respond to specific challenges.
“People who experience this may want to change,” says Jeffrey McQueen, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County and a licensed chemical dependency counselor. “But it’s not uncommon for someone who experienced trauma to prefer the lifesaving responses — because it’s what has saved their lives and allowed them to feel safe. ”
Therapy may help resolve emotional and mental health challenges, and this could facilitate attitude change as well.
Yes, you can change your habits, both negative and positive. In fact, as you age, face new challenges, or engage in new routines, your habits may tend to change so you can adapt to the new circumstances.
But, there’s a distinction between habits and behaviors. In general, behavior is an action that can be observed and that comes as a response to internal or external influences.
Habits are behaviors you’ve repeated so often that they become automatic for you and no longer require your intention or conscious thought to be executed. For example, leaving your keys at the console table next to the door or getting that cigarette out whenever you feel anxious.
People can change habits by becoming aware of them and purposefully modifying that behavior enough times until the new habit becomes automatic.
Some habits may require you to explore their root cause, though. For example, if a habit is associated with anxiety, you may want to work at reducing anxiety first.
Before attempting to change what you think it’s a bad habit, it’s important to understand why you do it. This will help you sustain the change.
“For example, most people would identify smoking as a bad habit,” McQueen explains. “A person living with anxiety or bipolar disorder who utilizes smoking to calm and ground them may find this to be more of a coping tool versus a bad habit.”
Gaining this understanding may help you change a habit that may be harming you, like smoking, and replace it with effective coping skills.
“Yes, people can change, but it’s not that simple,” says Misty Smith, a licensed professional clinical counselor in Michigan.
Personality traits aren’t static and they may change with age and time. However, core personality traits tend to be longstanding, stable, and persistent.
Personality traits are your characteristic patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. For example, persistence, generosity, and honesty are personality traits.
These traits exist on a spectrum so you may be more or less persistent than your sibling even if both have that same characteristic trait.
“People evolve and change over time,” Smith says. “Our interests and approach to the world changes. Our experiences change who we are, and how we internalize and interpret the world around us.”
Because of this, you may be a generous person, but may in time become less generous with certain people or in specific scenarios, for example.
Core personality traits may be less likely to change, even at will.
Known as the Big Five, these core traits are:
They also exist on a spectrum. For example, in the extraversion spectrum, you can be an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between.
“It’s not as easy to change those core aspects,” Smith explained. So, it’s not likely to go from being an introvert to an extrovert, for example.
Yes, people can change behaviors, but they need to first become accountable for those, and then be convinced they should (or want to) change them.
Hurtful behaviors — such as lying, cheating, dismissing, or controlling — are often habits that turn into harmful behavior patterns. They may also be associated with mental health challenges, which makes change more difficult.
Research from 2020 explains personality may be shaped by an interaction between multiple sources, from genes to events and social relationships, rather than only one source.
Personality development isn’t linear, and change isn’t either. Though harmful behaviors may have begun as survival or coping mechanisms in childhood, the 2020 study showed positive influences and relationships, like friendships and family, can increase the chance for someone to change those behaviors.
“No one is born acting or behaving a particular way,” McQueen said. “Behavior is learned, and so it can also be unlearned. This implies that change is more than possible — it’s actually likely.”
When a hurtful behavior is associated with a mental health condition, though, professional support may be needed for people to change. Even then, depending on the condition, sometimes change isn’t likely.
For example, someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may lack the insight to identify problematic behaviors or the need to change. They may also be less likely to seek support and resources when those behaviors impact their lives.
“People engage in behaviors that serve their purpose,” says Smith. “We engage in the behaviors that provide something for us.”
Ileana Arganda-Stevens, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, says the capacity for change grows in the presence of six vital aspects:
If you have a few or all of the above, you’re more likely to change behaviors, attitudes, or traits.
“When we start to show ourselves more self-compassion,” she says, “rigidity begins to relax, and we become more flexible and open to trying new things and making meaningful changes in our lives.”
Motivation is also key, according to Smith.
You may want to change your attitude because it’s affecting your ability to maintain relationships; someone else may want to change their habits because they’re impacting their ability to contribute at work. Another person may want to change hurtful behaviors because they’re impacting their bond with their children.
Not everyone is willing or able to change, though.
This may be because it’s not the right time, or the individual may not realize there’s a need for change. Maybe they lack the insight to understand how the behavior or attitude is affecting their lives. Maybe these behaviors are linked to emotional pain or trauma, and until that is resolved, change is more challenging.
Why people don’t want to change depends on the situation. “The pattern or habit is a tool that allows the person to cope with a deeper struggle,” explains Smith.
People can change when they’re self-aware, receive support, and become intentional about behaving differently.
But, change takes time and it may be challenging in some cases. For example, if you live with a mental health condition that involves lifelong symptoms that may impact your attitude, habits, and behaviors.
“People do not change”: what is wrong with this stereotype and how to become different after all
December 14, 2021 A life
Actually, we can be whoever we want. But first you need to get rid of the deceptive attitude.
Cheryl Snapp Conner
Founder of SnappConner PR, author, PR and business communications specialist.
Why is it a mistake to consider the type of personality to be invariable
We are used to asking: "Are you an extrovert or an introvert?" — as if these labels forever define a person. But a recent study refutes this. nine0003
In 1947, educators assessed 1,200 14-year-olds on six characteristics: self-confidence, perseverance, mood stability, conscientiousness, originality, and willingness to learn. After 63 years, half of the participants were tested again. The scientists asked everyone to evaluate themselves according to the same criteria and get an assessment from someone close to them. As a result, there were almost no coincidences with the original characteristics.
According to Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, after 10 years a person becomes different. During his research, Gilbert asked people how much their interests, aspirations, and values had changed over the previous decade. Participants noted significant differences. He then asked how much they think their interests, aspirations, and values will change in the next 10 years. Most assumed it didn't matter. nine0003
It seems to us that we will remain as we are now. But the same Gilbert said: "Every person is an unfinished project that mistakenly considers itself completed. " Therein lies the problem.
How the thought of an unchanging personality hinders us
First, because of it, we tend to judge others based on their past. For example, when we get to know a person we are thinking of hiring, we ask about his previous experience, study his achievements, and ask about other people's opinions about him. We take it for granted that his past actions will tell us how he will behave in the future. nine0003
Undoubtedly, past actions can tell something about a person and it is worth learning about them. But it is better to evaluate current attitudes or approaches to solving hypothetical situations. If you want to know about the candidate's experience, ask what and why he did in the most difficult situation and what he would do now if he had the opportunity. This will help to understand how flexible a person’s thinking is, what caused his choice then and now.
And this applies not only to job candidates, but to all people in general. Try to evaluate them by how they think and behave in the present time, and not sometime before. nine0003
Second, because of the belief that personality is permanent, we do not believe that we ourselves can and will change. So, we guarantee ourselves that bad habits, addictions and unhealthy reactions will remain with us in the future.
How to change any part of yourself
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins believes (and I agree with this) that there are three conditions to overcome any deep-seated habit:
- Desperate desire to get rid of it.
- A traumatic or critical event that signals that you must change. It can be anything: your child's worries that smoking will cause you to die early, or the doctor's words that you should change your diet to avoid another heart attack. nine0036
- The ability to replace one habit with another.
I tested this theory on myself. I have been addicted to Diet Coke for over 20 years. At my peak, I could not do without six (at least) cans a day. I made heroic efforts and once lasted for a full six months, until severe stress caused me to break loose.
Later, I began to notice that I often get sick after flights and lack of sleep, I easily catch colds, and I began to take a nutritional supplement to increase immunity. I was warned that it could cause a rash as a reaction to poor diet or alcohol. I figured it didn't apply to me. A week later, when I was supposed to give a talk at a conference, I woke up covered in a rash. And I realized that it was caused by cola chemistry, because otherwise I ate well. After this incident, it became disgusting for me to even think about drinking something so harmful to the body again. nine0003
That was three years ago. I have replaced an old habit by drinking several bottles of kombucha a day. And I'll never touch Diet Coke again.
Decide right now who you will be tomorrow
Everyone is able to change established beliefs and character traits, making regular efforts. Maybe you have always been shy, but at one point you realized that this prevents you from achieving something very important. Or lived aimlessly, until the case showed you the need for change. nine0003
It is possible. Find something that will push you to transform, choose a replacement habit or personality trait you want, and get started. Most importantly, do not take old attitudes or traits as an integral part of yourself.
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How to change for the better
Not so long ago, scientists were sure that a person's personality remains unchanged until death.
But now the plasticity of the brain is a scientific fact, and there is a lot of evidence that a person can change under the influence of circumstances and with the help of conscious efforts. We tell you exactly how this happens and whether it is possible to completely reshape your personality.
What is personality
To describe and define the psychological traits of a person, specialists usually use the Big Five personality model. It suggests that personality is a combination of five traits that manifest themselves when interacting with other people:
- Extraversion. How sociable and positive a person is.
- Kindness. How sensitive he is to others, empathic, ready to seek compromises in case of conflicts, accommodating.
- Integrity. How disciplined, responsible, competent.
- Openness to experience. How receptive to new ideas and ready to do something unusual.
- Neuroticism / emotional stability. How anxious, depressed, shy, and vulnerable a person is. nine0036
In order to more or less accurately determine how strong or weak certain traits are in a person, scientists use special tests. But it is not necessary to go through them. By the age of twenty, many of us already know about our level of sociability, conscientiousness and other personality traits. But studies show that usually people want to change something, or even everything, in their personality.
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This desire is understandable. Personality traits determine a lot in life: from family life and career to health. For example, research shows that people with high levels of conscientiousness find it easier to find and keep a job, generally earn higher salaries, and move up the corporate ladder faster. In addition, conscientious people live longer. Apparently, because it is easier for them to stick to healthy habits.
A pronounced openness to new things makes people more creative. And goodwill increases the chances of a strong marriage. Extroverts, on the other hand, are usually happier because they have a wide network of social contacts and they have someone to rely on in a difficult moment. nine0003
People with a high level of neuroticism have the hardest time: social contacts are not easy for them, and in other areas they often feel insecure. All this makes life difficult.
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How personality is formed
Many factors influence the formation of personality, but genetics is one of the most important. This has already been shown by many studies involving twins and twins. In the most famous of them, a group of American scientists examined in detail the life of two identical twins who were separated at the age of three weeks and did not know about the existence of each other for many years. They met only in 39years and despite this, they grew up very similar: they had almost the same results on personality tests, brain wave measurements, they behaved similarly in different situations, had similar hobbies, and even gave the same names to dogs that they had in childhood .
Other studies have also shown that genetics even influence political attitudes. In twins, they were very similar, but in ordinary brothers and sisters they were more likely to differ, because their genes are not identical. nine0003
However, not everything is determined by genetics. Other factors influencing personality: the conditions in which a person grew up, as well as life experience. For example, how a child was treated by parents affects how he builds relationships in adulthood. And a person who is genetically prone to friendliness, being in an environment that causes him severe stress, can become quick-tempered and intolerant.
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Can personality change
Sigmund Freud and many of his followers believed that a person's personality is formed by the age of five. And after that, it remains unchanged.
But modern research shows that Freud was not entirely right: although the framework of personality remains stable throughout life, its features in most people change little by little until old age. And for the better.
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This is confirmed by a 50-year study of 1,795 volunteers in the UK. It began in 1960, when scientists first asked volunteers to take a test that determined their severity of personality traits. In 2010, the procedure was repeated. It turned out that over the past years, volunteers in general have become more calm, accurate and socially responsible, less impulsive. In addition to this, men have increased self-confidence, and women have increased sensitivity. Thanks to other studies, it became known that personality traits change most actively between the ages of 20 and 40 years. And by 65, the process slows down. nine0003
There is a hypothesis that these changes occur naturally in the process of changing social roles, to each of which society makes certain demands. For example, if a person’s work is very important, he becomes more responsible in everything related to it. And if he puts a lot of effort into developing relationships with other people, this increases his self-confidence and emotional stability. Important life events such as marriage, the birth of children, the death of loved ones, mental disorders and serious head injuries can also change the severity of personality traits. nine0003
How you can consciously change your personality
This will require a lot of time and effort. And the changes are unlikely to be stunning: it will not be possible to become a new personality, but it will be possible to slightly correct some of its features.
One of the methods was developed by the American psychologist Nathan Hudson. He suggests not setting yourself global goals like: I want to become a sociable king of parties. Instead, create a program of not very complex, but unusual actions that would be natural for a person with personality traits that you lack. The second step is to do one of these things regularly. After a few months, you will see changes. nine0003
Hudson's advice is based on one of his successful experiments. In 2016, he, along with colleagues, recruited a group of student volunteers, each of whom wanted to change one of their personality traits. They were divided into two groups: main and control. After that, participants in each of them received reminders for 15 weeks that they wanted to change. The difference was that the students in the main group were offered specific actions to change their behavior by the leaders of the experiment. For example, those who wanted to become more sociable were advised to call a friend and invite them to dinner. At the end of the experiment, scientists measured the effect: small but positive changes were found in participants in both groups. But those who received specific recommendations, which means they knew what to do, had better results. nine0003
Hudson also gives examples of specific actions that help change personality traits.
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To increase extraversion:
- Before going to bed, reflect on the positive social experiences you had during the day. Focus on what you especially liked about it.
- Say hello to cashiers in supermarkets more often.
- Come up with a list of questions to ask strangers when they first meet. nine0036
- Think of responses you like to common questions people usually ask each other at parties. And rehearse them.
- Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while.
- Find a volunteer organization you like and go to a meeting.
- If a group of people playing football or basketball regularly gather at a sports field near you, ask if you can join them.
- When someone wants to know your opinion about something, be honest about what you think. nine0036
- Be open with your friends, for example try to tell them about your problems sincerely.
To reduce neuroticism:
- When you wake up, say out loud to yourself: today I decide to be happy.
- When you are overwhelmed with negative emotions and you feel like you are losing control, take a few deep breaths in and out.
- Before you go to bed, make a list of the things that made you happy today.
- Tell other people more often how you appreciate them and what you are grateful for.
- If you are religious, devote the last few minutes before bed to prayer. If you are not religious, try meditating.
- Spend at least a couple of minutes a day writing a diary: describe how your day went and your feelings.
- If you are anxious about an upcoming event, remember how you have handled similar situations in the past.
- Go on a photo hunt. For 30 minutes, take pictures of everything that brings you happiness: beautiful flowers, food, a comfortable bed, yourself. It is not necessary to post all this on social networks. nine0036
- When you find yourself having negative thoughts about something, don't suppress them. And try to counterbalance three sincere positive thoughts on the same topic.
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Another effective way to reduce neuroticism and increase extraversion is psychotherapy. Scientists from the University of Illinois, after analyzing more than 200 studies, found that after an average of three months of working with a psychotherapist, people felt more emotionally stable, and their communication skills became slightly better.