JULIE STAFFORD: What’s your personality type?

By Julie Stafford • Last Updated 7:22 pm on Friday, March 23, 2012

Julie Stafford

According to ancient Chinese wisdom, each of us has personality characteristics that are defined by five elements — wood, fire, Earth, metal and water. The idea is that everyone possesses certain aspects of all five elements, but that one tends to be more dominant than the others. Knowing where you fall, it’s said, can help you make healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to diet, jobs and relationships.

It might seem a little out there, but I’m a firm believer, mostly because I see these elements in others and myself. I most definitely fall into the Earth category. But what exactly does this mean? We Earth types tend to be compassionate and loving and are drawn to be nurturers and caretakers – sometimes to a fault. We, as the name of our element suggests, have a strong connection to the Earth and like being outside. We also find ourselves being able to resolve disputes fairly quickly and effectively. I can attest, too, that we also are comforted by eating, especially sweets.

The interesting part for me is what knowing your main element can reveal about your health. For example, people who have strong Earth elements tend to give too much of themselves and don’t nurture their own health, which makes them prone to digestive problems, food allergies, heartburn, fatigue and easy weight gain.

People who study this school of thought say that folks like me can keep ourselves in balance by gathering a circle of loving friends, maintaining healthy emotional boundaries between ourselves and others, learning to say “no” when needed, and avoiding eating too many sweets.

Like I said, this kind of thinking might be a little too wacky for you. But I’m willing to go outside of the box. I’ve been that woman who gives everything she has to everyone around her to the point of exhaustion. I’ve eaten myself toward a 20-pound weight gain. And I’ve learned to say “no” when I simply can’t do one more thing. I also know that I find solace in nature and know I feel better without sugar in my system.

Try Googling “elements and personality types” and figure out what element you’re drawn to. To my way of thinking, why not be open to ancient Chinese wisdom — especially if it gives you insight into who you are.

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