Rarely is ambition considered a harmful trait, but according to a new study, if that ambition comes with a side of hostility, you may want to learn to cool down.
Findings suggest those with aggressive tendencies are more likely to suffer from heart disease and other cardiovascular complications. Ambitious types who credit their success to kindness rather than hostility, on the other hand, are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular health problems.
Researchers at the University of Utah evaluated 500 undergrad students and divided them by their personality types: either hostile-dominant or warm-dominant.
They then watched the blood pressure of 180 of these students during stressful conversations with two partners: one dominant and the other more agreeable.
Those who identified as hostile-dominant saw significant increases in blood pressure when conversing with a fellow dominant but no increase when conversing with an agreeable partner.
High blood pressure, according to the research, is a common factor among those with heart disease.
A second study — this one, evaluating the blood pressure and behavioral responses of older people — confirmed these results.
Even though this is bad news for aggressively ambitious types, study coordinator Timothy Smith assures “people can take steps to change a hostile personality style.” Such changes, however, are often made slowly over time.
So, if your own success can be attributed to a “take no prisoners” attitude, know that you may be doing yourself more harm than good in the long run.
Success is only worth it if you're around to enjoy it, so chill out and take it easy: It'll all work out in the end.
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