The Link Between Personality and High Anxiety

Usually I write an introduction for my podcast episodes. But today is different.

I spent a good chunk of time researching and thinking about this topic because it explains a lot about why some people become anxious in the face of life.

If you’ve ever wondered why you became an anxious person then you need to listen to this podcast.




  1. says

    Mind blown…this has been BY FAR the most helpful information i have ever heard. i can not thank you enough! I believe you are the light at the end of the dark tunnel that has been my anxious life.

  2. Sarah says

    I was not a nervous child nor was I afraid of people. I was however very stubborn and was used to get what I wanted immediatly. My mother was my only parent and she had severe depression. She took care of me but made me dependant on her. I remember crying at daycare until my mom came back to pick me up on the first day. I tought she would never be back.
    Now, when anxiety hits, I feel like I’m never going to be better and I’m convinced I have somethign else that is not noticed by doctors. That’s the stuborness. They tell me “ it’s going to pass“ but I feel it’s not and that feeling makes me scared and so it doesn’t pass for a long time and confirms my fear in a way. I was never taught to be self reliant when things went wrong. Mom always hugged me to make it better. But I realised as I got older that she was not capable of caring for herself emotionally so how could she take care of me? I can’t reassure myself when it comes to anxiety and I don’t believe what people tell me eventought I do believe when I feel ok. The paths in the brain makes a lot of sense. I don’t think that my unstable mother is the cause of my anxiety, but I think she may have involuntarily contributed to my bad way of dealing with discomfort, fear and sadness.

  3. says

    Hey Sarah, I like your thought. I think people find their way to anxiety in many ways. It’s not always obvious, but if you snoop around a bit I think most people will find that it all stems from something than anxiety symptoms.

  4. Andromeda12 says

    Hi Paul.
    I have a few questions regarding your podcast (which I must say, I really enjoyed as it was one of the best of your podcasts). I noticed a few contradictions here and there that got me a little confused.
    According to what you said in this podcast some people get stuck with their anxiety because they try to rationalize their way out of it, but you also say that “knowledge is power” and when we have an anxiety attack we should accept that it is just our body reacting to fear and adrenaline. Isn’t that also rationalizing ones way out of anxiety rather than accepting all the feelings, thoughts and symptoms as such?

    And another thing that got me confused: you talked a lot about how there is a reason for why we are anxious, a chapter that we haven’t dealt with or accepted in our lives but in a previous podcast (some while back, can’t remember which one) you stated that there doesn’t have to be a deep rooted reason for our anxiety (other than stress and anxious people inflicting anxiety on themselves of course :P) and searching for a reason is only a waste of time and causes more unnecessary anxiety.
    Is there a golden middle between these oppositions or did I just get everything wrong?
    Cheers, Martin P.

  5. says

    Hi there,

    Good catch. But there’s no contradiction.

    You must understand the facts about anxiety to know, and accept, that it is a function of stress and not death and disease. Therefore, knowledge is important. However, it is not all you need. In my view, taking a big picture look at your situation, both in terms of how you got where you are and how/why your anxiety is being expressed the way that it is, is just as important. The emotional piece cannot be left out!

    Also, although anxiety is not always based in trauma or family history, it is for many if not most. It’s complicated.

    My official view is that there is a complex mix of genetics (personality traits), history, and ways of coping that shape an anxious person.

    I doubt it is one thing in that regard.

    Also, don’t forget that my views grow and adapt as I learn myself. When presented with new evidence I consider it. So the whole trauma thing got on my radar when I became a therapist and worked with folks that had anxiety but also a long and terrible family history, for example.

    There is def not a one size fits all reason as to why people get stuck in anxiety.

  6. Abbey says

    BEST. PODCAST. EVER. Seriously. I’ve always felt a tremendous amount of shame because I was convinced I had caused my anxiety by making poor choices in life. Irrational? Absolutely. But fear is a liar and I take the bait almost (almost) every time. Then that shame puts me dead center on the ol’ anxiety hamster wheel. I’m learning though. I’m finding that I’m a painfully sloooowwww learner, but I’m mostly learning to be more gentle and accepting of myself. But this podcast was a game changer! Through listening I was able to see that I’m neurotic. Yippee! I’m neurotic!! I love having some explanation. And I can see that my neurotic tendencies go waaaaay back to my childhood. This really alleviates some of my irrational shame….one less bullet the anxiety monster can shoot at me! Thank you!!! Please keep doing what you’re doing, you’re a gifted man.

  7. Cindy says

    Adapt and survive is probably how I got to be so sick. What happened to me over forty years ago was something that I could not deal with at all. Instead of killing me (instead of dieing of humiliation), it made me anxious and sickly. A week or two ago while ruminating, I suddenly thought, “There’s nothing I can do about it.” I felt better immediately. All of my symptoms disappeared and I had a spring in my step again. A few days later I find myself once again bedridden, in pain and frightened. My adapt is to be sick, I guess. Accept and float only works for a few hours or days and once again I am in that persistent eddy that drags me down. This podcast was all about finding out what is bothering you. I know what is bothering me. I just don’t know how to “deal” with it. What do you do if your light bulb goes off and then burns out so quickly?

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