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Cynicism Cynics who tend to be suspicious and mistrustful of others, a character trait th at scientists refer to as hostility, may have

an increased likelihood of develop ing heart disease. "These aren't necessarily hot-headed people, but people who a re more likely to read into people's behavior as some hostile motive," Stephen B oyle said during a telephone interview. In a study of more than 300 Vietnam veterans who were healthy at the study start , Boyle found that those who scored high on measures of hostility were about 25 percent more likely to develop heart disease. Boyle and his colleagues think that hostile individuals might experience more st ress, which can cause spikes in an immune-system protein called C3 that has been linked with various diseases, including diabetes. In fact, the participants wit h higher scores on hostility showed an increase in these proteins while the nonhostile men showed no such increase. Lack of Meaning If you lack a sense of purpose, your stay on Earth could be truncated. A study i nvolving more than 1,200 elderly participants who didn't have dementia at the st udy's start found that those who indicated having a high purpose in life were ab out half as likely to die over the study period, which lasted up to five years. The results, published in the June 15 issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicin e, held regardless of a person's age, sex, education and race, along with level of depression and neuroticism. "Persons with high purpose readily derive meaning from and make sense of the eve nts of their lives, and likely engage in behaviors and activities that they deem important," said study researcher Patricia Boyle of the Rush Alzheimer's Diseas e Center in Chicago. Some other research has suggested that people with a higher sense of purpose may have different levels of stress hormones, better heart health or improved immun e systems, though more research is needed to firm up any of these biological mec hanisms, she said. The opposite also holds: "The findings from our study suggested that people who no longer set and work actively toward goals or enjoy their day-to-day activitie s (how they spend their time) are those with greater mortality risk," Boyle told LiveScience. Fretting People who are highly neurotic -- constantly worried and anxious, and prone to d epression -- die sooner on average than their chill counterparts. And a recently reported study of nearly 1,800 men followed over a 30-year period suggests that 's partly because neurotics are also more likely to smoke. Perhaps having a ciga rette eases anxiety, said study researcher Daniel Mroczek of Purdue University i n Indiana, adding that such a short-term payoff might not be worth it if it kill s you down the line. Lack of Self-control Late for appointments? Can't keep your desk organized? No self-control? These se emingly benign qualities could take a toll on your health.

A review of more than 20 studies and nearly 9,000 participants revealed people w ho are conscientious -- organized and self-disciplined, as opposed to impulsive -- live two to four years longer than others. Study researcher Howard S. Friedma n of the University of California, Riverside, suspects the boost in lifetime can be attributed partly to the fact that highly conscientious individuals are less likely to smoke or drink to excess, and live more stable and less stressful liv es. The study is detailed in a 2008 issue of the journal Health Psychology. Anxiety The jitters can put a strain on your noggin, research suggests. Compared with th e highly frazzled, individuals with a mellow demeanor who are outgoing may be le ss likely to develop dementia, which can be caused by Alzheimer's disease and ot her illnesses. The claim is based on a study that followed more than 500 elderly individuals for five years. Among the outgoing extroverts, dementia risk was 50 percent lower for participants who were calm compared with those who were prone to distress. Gloom and Doom The gloomy, inhibited person is not just at a disadvantage socially, but also ph ysically. A preliminary study of more than 180 patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease (plaque buildup in the arteries) showed participants with so-called typ e D, or distressed, personality, had an increased odds of dying sooner than othe r people. Type-D people are more likely to experience negative emotions while at the same time hold in their feelings. The researchers, who detail their work in the August issue of the journal Archiv es of Surgery, suggest the personality type is linked with the body's immune sys tem as well as stress response system. Stress Whatever you do, don't let this list worry you! Research is showing that prolong ed stress can be deadly, and if it doesn't do you in, workplace stress can incre ase your chances of heart disease, flu virus, metabolic syndrome and having high blood pressure. A study of nearly 700 Israeli workers found that those who experienced job burno ut (when work stress becomes unmanageable) were nearly twice as likely as others to develop type 2 diabetes, in which a person's body becomes resistant to the s ugar-regulating hormone called insulin. And while a job promotion might boost your income, it also stresses you out. Bri tish researchers recently found that when people get promoted, they suffer on av erage about 10 percent more mental strain and are less likely to find time to go to the doctor.