Everything you Need to Know About Neuroticism

Everything you Need to Know About Neuroticism


What is it?

Neuroticism broadly is a personality trait to be in a negative or anxious emotional state. It is one of the traits of the five-factor model of personality along with extraversion, agreeability, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. It is not a medical condition but a personality trait which makes the one with it to be more prone to experience negative effects like anger, anxiety, self-doubt, depression etc. With respect to the Big5 personality traits, neuroticism is often related to low emotional stability. Individuals with high neuroticism tend to be less stable emotionally, anxious, tense and withdrawn whereas the ones low in neuroticism tend to be content and more emotionally stable. It has also been observed that the latter ones report fewer psychological as well as physical problems(Britannica, 2019). It has been noted that highly neurotic individuals are more dissatisfied with their lives and themselves. Various studies suggest that presence of neuroticism in individuals is associated with prolonged misery for the individuals as well as their close ones. People with neuroticism are sensitive to environmental stress. Everyday situations can appear to be menacing and unsafe which can prove to be both positive and negative. Being vigilant of their environment enables them to be informed of any potential harm. There is also a possibility for people to become reserved and withdraw themselves from active social engagement. This reduces their ability to face and solve problems efficiently. This habit of theirs to withdraw from any social engagement can also be beneficial as it enables them to introspect and analyse their thoughts in a much better way.

According to the data retrieved in researches conducted5], it has been confirmed that the individual differences in neuroticism are heritable. The remaining individual differences are largely developed by environmental influences.  


Signs of neuroticism

Signs that a person is highly neurotic includes the following:

  • The extent to which they worry about things. They are typically seen to overstress themselves about trivial things.
  • Their attention span is usually less. They can easily lose focus or can be disturbed easily.
  • They are very moody. They can get irritated easily and have frequent mood swings.


How to cope with neuroticism?

It is natural for someone who is highly neurotic to feel entrapped in situations where they cannot adjust adequately or appropriately and also to struggle with depression or anxiety due to the same(may or may not be the case). As neuroticism is not a disease so there is no cure as such. But then personality traits are also not set in stone and can be changed during the course of life. Age or major life events can bring about this change in oneself. Eventually one may or may not become less neurotic but one can definitely take measures to cope with neuroticism.

  • Psychotherapy is one such option for such people.
  • Mindfulness practices can be the tools to better cope with the distress. Mindfulness is basically to concentrate on your thoughts, accept them and your feelings and to consciously insert yourself into the moment. This might appear to be the worst situation for a person who is highly neurotic as it is making them to focus their attention on the very maladaptive patterns that that they might feel entrapped in. However, mindfulness partly focuses on how to view the experience that one is having. Engaging in mindfulness promotes a person to look at an experience with acceptance and curiosity rather than fighting it. Mindfulness enables a person to face all situations and learn from them without undue self-criticism.

Neuroticism is not a medical problem but a universal personality trait which is healthy as a part of a balanced personality profile.

By - Divyangana


  1. Neuroses and neuroticism: Differences, types, and treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved September 03, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246608
  2. Neuroticism. (n.d.). Retrieved September 03, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/neuroticism
  3. Whitbourne, S. (2017, July 11). Research Suggests a Cure for Neuroticism. Retrieved September 03, 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201707/research-suggests-cure-neuroticism
  4. Widiger, T. A., & Oltmanns, J. R. (2017). Neuroticism is a fundamental domain of personality with enormous public health implications. World Psychiatry, 16(2), 144-145. doi:10.1002/wps.20411
  5. Hill, W. D., Weiss, A., Liewald, D. C., Davies, G., Porteous, D. J., Hayward, C., . . . Deary, I. J. (2019). Genetic contributions to two special factors of neuroticism are associated with affluence, higher intelligence, better health, and longer life. Molecular Psychiatry. doi:10.1038/s41380-019-0387-3
  6. Weed, N., & Kwon, S. (2019, January 02). Neuroticism. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/science/neuroticism

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