Mental Health


Mandy Kloppers

Am I neurotic?

Are you a neurot? Okay, I made that word up but it sounds fitting… Many people ask themselves, “Am I neurotic?” but many don’t know what defines neuroticism. Neurotic people tend to be quite highly strung. They tend to be emotional, more up and down than the average person.

Anxiety, depression and self doubt are part and parcel of neuroticism. Neurotic people are more prone to mood disorders. Neuroticism is a long-term tendency to be in a negative or anxious emotional state. It is not a medical condition but a personality trait. People often confuse this with neurosis.

On the plus side – neurotic people tend to be intelligent, with great wit and they tend to have empathy with others. They also tend to be good with people. A little bit of neuroticism can put you ahead of the competition but if you don’t manage it, you will fall behind. N

Neurotic people tend to be more self-aware and more self-critical, having accurate and high-quality psychological information is a great gift for personal development and therapeutic work when applied constructively.

How to manage neuroticism

There’s no longer a psychological diagnosis of “neurotic,” but psychologists still investigate the personality trait of neuroticism. One of the five basic factors of personality, a high level of neuroticism means that an individual has a chronic tendency to worry, approaches the future with dread, reflects on personal weaknesses, and in general finds it difficult to enjoy life to its fullest. Although personality traits are theoretically unchangeable, as they are thought to be part of the fabric of the individual’s psyche, new research suggests some ways that people high in this quality can feel happier about themselves and their lives.


Mindfulness can help with neuroticism. Part of mindfulness is deciding on how to view the experience that you’re having. If you’re engaging in mindfulness, you look at an experience with acceptance and curiosity. Rather than fighting the feeling, you ask yourself where it’s coming from, and redefine the situation as one you can conquer.

Research findings supported the hypothesis that people high in neuroticism who were also high in the trait of mindfulness exhibited lower psychological distress  than those individuals high in neuroticism alone. Conversely, those participants with low levels of mindfulness who were high in neuroticism showed the greatest distress of all. Interestingly, other personality traits, such as extraversion, which theoretically should be related to psychological distress, did not show a similar pattern. Overall, people higher in mindfulness regardless of neuroticism levels showed less distress than those with lower mindfulness scores.

When your thoughts are getting the better of you, try this simple mindfulness exercise:

Look for:

5 things you can see

4 things you can hear

3 things you can touch

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste

The above helps us to engage our 5 senses, it keeps the brain busy and keeps us in the present moment rather than getting us tangled in the chaotic web of thoughts in our minds.

Deep breathing can help too. Breather in and count to 5, hold for 5, breathe out and count to 5, hold for 5…repeat.

Progressive muscle relaxation is another good strategy.

Finally – learn to dismiss your thoughts. They are just thoughts not fact. The more we focus on them, the more they have the power to unsettle us – especially the negative thoughts.

Mandy X