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NATURAL HEALTH
by dr. laurie steelsmith


Which Personality Type Are You?

Did you know that your personality can have an effect on your health? Ancient Chinese medical practitioners found that there are five basic personality types that correspond with what they called “the five elements”: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. You have all of the five elements within you, but one element usually dominates and can have a profound effect on your vitality. Each element is associated with particular physiological tendencies, emotional needs, psychological traits, and spiritual qualities. Knowing your dominant element can help you to make healthier choices when it comes to your diet, career, relationships, and lifestyle.

Which type are you?

Wood types tend to be ambitious, have strong Type A personalities, and high vitality. They love life, and they are so eager to succeed that they can be highly competitive. Wood types are apt to be leaders in their fields, CEOs of a big companies, or elite athletes. They are extroverted, and have a strong sense of hope, vision, and purpose. However, Wood types are so driven that they tend to manifest conditions due to stress—such as high blood pressure, premenstrual syndrome, breast and ovarian cysts, headaches, and tight muscles. On an emotional level, too much work may thwart their usual sense of purpose in life, and they can become angry or depressed.

If you are a Wood Type, keep your element balanced by taking time to replenish your energy with relaxing activities that quiet your mind like yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Create playtime in which the journey is more important than the goal, eat healthy food, avoid alcohol, and indulge in sour-tasting foods (which are beneficial to Wood types). As I often tell my patients who are Wood types, the most important thing to remember is that attaining and maintaining great health will allow you more success in reaching your life goals.

Fire types are fun, charismatic people who have a great deal of enthusiasm for whatever they are involved in. They are full of love and passion, seek out drama, and thrive on travel. They also enjoy expressing themselves verbally, and they often speak rapidly. Fire types tend to laugh a lot, even when they are talking about something that isn’t funny. When it comes to relationships, Fire types have an enormous amount of social energy—a seemingly boundless capacity for interacting with others.

When Fire types have too much excitement in their lives, they can experience anxiety, heart palpitations, insomnia, and depression. When women who are Fire types are in perimenopause or menopause, they are likely to have hot flashes or night sweats more often than other women. If you are a Fire Type, I recommend that you balance your element by creating a schedule that includes time to nurture yourself. Spend time alone each day to write in your journal or meditate. It’s also important to stay clear about what is important in your life and what isn’t. Remember to eat regular meals, don’t allow yourself to get too hungry, and limit your intake of spicy foods. 

Earth types are compassionate, loving people who are apt to be nurturers and caretakers. They have a tendency to feel deeply compassionate toward other people, even strangers, and welcome all types of people into their lives. Because of their understanding nature, they are natural arbitrators who can resolve disputes between others quickly and effectively. Earth types have a strong connection with the earth, and they feel a great sense of comfort and peace when they are in nature. As a result, they are inclined to be environmentalists and conservationists. They also find solace in eating, and have a sweet tooth.

When Earth types give too much and neglect themselves, they are prone to digestive problems, food allergies, heartburn, fatigue, PMS, and easy weight gain. If you are an Earth type, imbalances in your life can also cause you to become excessively needy for love, affection, and attention. At the same time, you can become so sympathetic to other people’s needs that you try to take care of them in ways that may ultimately prevent them from figuring out how to take care of themselves. To keep yourself in balance, I suggest that you surround yourself with loving friends, maintain healthy emotional boundaries between yourself and others, say “no” when you need to, and avoid eating too many sweets.

 

longevity

"Longevity"

 

Metal types are quiet, meditative, intellectually sharp, spiritually inclined, and unusually creative. They seek perfection in everything that they do, and they are likely to be serious artists and craftspeople. They are self-disciplined, detail-oriented, and will naturally spend endless hours in a deep, almost trancelike state of concentration while they are involved in the creation of their art. In their personal relationships, they dislike small talk and they are usually very committed to a small number of people. Physically, Metal types have a fast metabolism and they often crave spicy foods.

If you are a Metal type, when your life is not in harmony you are apt to have upper respiratory infections and skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. I highly recommend that you keep yourself in balance by doing regular aerobic exercise to enhance the health of your lungs, exploring your creativity, eating regular meals, and making sure that you maintain creative outlets for stress. 

Water types are seekers of wisdom. In their youth, they typically possess a quality of being “wise beyond their years.” As adults, Water types are known for being unusually deep thinkers, always searching for truth and meaning. If you are a Water type, you are a philosopher, comfortable in the world of your mind, and you often prefer your own thoughts to a superficial dialogue with other people. You are strong-willed, and you seek out quiet, tranquil environments. Physically you are healthy, vigorous, and have enormous willpower and a tremendous capacity for endurance.

If you are a Water type and you spend too much time alone, or in “survival mode,” you tend to manifest conditions associated with the kidneys and bladder. On an emotional level, when you are imbalanced your normally deep reservoir of inner strength can spill over into fear. I frequently advise my patients who are Water types to keep themselves in balance by drinking plenty of fluids and socializing regularly so that they don’t become too emotionally isolated.

Knowing which of the five elements dominates your personality can guide you in taking better care of yourself. By keeping your five element personality type in mind, you will be able to make choices about your health that will help you create a lifetime of wellness. 


about dr. laurie steelsmith

Dr. Laurie Steelsmith (www.drlauriesteelsmith.com) is the author of Natural Choices for Women's Health:How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness (Three Rivers Press, 2005). She is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Hawaii Society of Naturopathic Physicians, Hawaii Acupuncture Association and a Diplomate of the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists.

Dr. Steelsmith can be reached at her private practive in Honolulu, HI (808) 943-0330.

dr. laurie steelsmith


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