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Veterinary Industry: things I'll need..... 2. Understanding my Personality

Posted in 1. Mental health resources @ Feb 25th 2016 - By Nadine Hamilton, Positive Psych Solutions

What does your personality have to do with working in the veterinary industry?

In a recent Small Animal Talk blog post 'Can resilience inoculate against burnout, depression and suicide?' Nadine discussed why some people seemed to be affected more severely by the common stressors within the veterinary industry than others. She suggested it came down to an individual's coping skills, personality, optimism and resiliency all of which seemed like great topics for Blog Posts. So here's Part 2: Understanding your personality

So what does your personality have to do with the way you work, communicate, or deal with stress?

The answer to this is simply “quite a lot!”.

When you think about it, there are lots of different personality styles out there.  Some people have an optimistic personality (like me) and look for/expect the best in things, while others are more prone to being pessimistic and look for/expecting the worst.  Similarly, some people have the ability to be very assertive, whereas others are either aggressive or passive (and even passive-aggressive). 

Research has shown time-and-again that individuals with more optimistic personalities are likely to live longer (all other things considered of course) and be healthier.  And, the good news is, you can learn to become more optimistic!

Likewise, having a resilient mindset is also beneficial.  Individuals who are resilient are those who encompass a set of attitudes or assumptions about themselves that have an influence on their developing skills and behaviours.  Resilience is not necessarily only gained by experiencing some unfortunate event – it is possible to create psychological fortitude and strength by undergoing events that are positive as well.  These behaviours and skills influence the assumptions the individual has, so there is a constantly operating dynamic process.  This set of assumptions is referred to as a mindset. 

Therefore, an individual with a resilient mindset is said to have several main characteristics:

  • feeling as though they have control of their life;
  • knowing how to strengthen their hardiness for stress;
  • exhibiting interpersonal capability and effective communication;
  • learning from failure and success;
  • forming realistic expectations and goals;
  • having decision-making and problem-solving skills that are solid;
  • living life responsibly based on values that are thoughtful;
  • acting as a contributing and compassionate society member;
  • helping others to feel special, while feeling special themselves.

Resilience can also be described as the ability to bounce back, and while it is closely related to tough-mindedness, it is not the same thing.  Whereas tough-mindedness can incorporate qualities such as being strong-willed, determined, or even avoiding seeing situations through the eyes of others, resilience can actually be found in both the brashest people and the quietest people. 

Knowing what kind of personality, you have can be crucial in helping you to deal with the demands of every-day life, as it can help you to better understand the reasons why you respond to things the way you do.  Seeking the help of a qualified and experienced professional can assist you in putting the pieces together and providing you with effective ways of dealing with the challenges that inevitably crop up!

If you have any questions for Nadine about the importance of coping or how to develop coping skills, why not ask her in the Comments section below?

Click here to read the other blog posts in the series:

Veterinary Industry: things I'll need...1. Coping Skills

Veterinary Industry: things I'll need...3. Optimism & Resiliency - one and the same?

About Nadine

Nadine has an extensive background in psychology and training, and has worked in a variety of organisations and industries for over 30 years. Her university training predominantly focused on organisational psychology and human resource management, and she is one of few known practitioners on the Gold Coast to specialise in positive psychology.

In addition to her qualifications as a psychologist, Nadine has a Master of Training and Development degree, and has just completed doctoral studies (Doctor of Education) focusing on veterinarian wellbeing.  Part of her doctoral research included the development of a psycho-educational intervention program, which returned promising results for treating anxiety, depression, and stress!

Due to the success of her research, Nadine is now specialising in wellbeing and suicide prevention, with a special interest in veterinary professionals.

If you would like more information on mental health - vist the Vetanswers Resource Page: Are you ok? Don't let the silence win

Or Call Lifeline 13 11 14


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