Have you ever wondered why older people seem more responsible, kinder, and more agreeable than those still in their youth? After conducting numerous research studies, psychologists found that most people get nicer as they age and their personal traits tend to improve. They call it the Maturity Principle and according to them, we can apply its rules on ourselves and actually change our personalities if we want to.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 16,000 people in Australia, who were surveyed repeatedly between 2005 and 2009. The happiness study, as psychologists love to call it, collected information about the personality of respondents and their well-being. The results published by psychologists online in the Journal of Personality in January show that people who were happy in 2005 became more conscientious, more agreeable and more emotionally stable in 2009. Interestingly, they also become more introverted than they were in the begging of the study. It seems that such great changes in one’s traits occur naturally, but only if you are happy. The researchers explain that our personality changes in responses to major life events such as marriage or advancing in a career.
The Maturity Principle, as it is called, works in most people between the age of 20 and 65. During this time, the positive treats increase – conscientiousness, responsibility, trustworthiness, and so on. And negative treats that usually cause us troubles in work and in our personal relationships tend to decrease. We become more kind and friendly, more sincere and open, and more aware of ourselves and the world. But researchers also say we don’t have to wait to get older to become better persons. All we have to do is try to change our personality. It may sound impossible at first, but what do you think therapists do for a living? They can help you quit smoking or lose weight by making you change your behavior. And this is the secret to transforming yourself into a better person – start with changing your behavior and over time, it will get encoded and change your personality!
For instance, you want to lose weight. Find the reason you have excess weight – are you overeating? You should become aware of when and why you overeat and try quitting the habit step by step. In several months, you will find you don’t want to overeat, and surprisingly, you’ve lost a few pounds without any diets. This principle is valid for almost any trait of the personality. However, doctors say, this kind of intentional behavior takes a long time to become your second nature. It will take time and efforts, but it will most probably do wonders with your terrible smoking habit, your anxiety, your anger or total pessimism.
A good motivation for improving one’s personal traits is the fact that generally, people who are friendly, outgoing, kind, and responsible are happier than shy, irresponsible and unsociable people.