GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Learn how to read your mind and make your life easier.
You know how to eat well and keep fit with exercise, but knowing more about your mind will help you achieve your goals. ‘To know you need to know what your mind gets up to when you’re not paying attention,’ says Andy Gibson, Mindapples founder and author of new book, The Mind Manual (Hamlyn, £12.99). Gibson suggests looking at the traits in the Big Five model of personality. ‘All the traits are healthy and normal,’ says Gibson. ‘Comprehending the basic patterns in how you feel and how you react can help you understand what you need to feel happy and comfortable.’ When You have a sense of where you stand in the spectrum of traits below, use it to help inform your decisions, predict what you need in a given situation and to accept your strengths while taking care of yourself in the areas that challenge you.
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If you’re introverted, you’ll be good at listening and observing, but prefer not to be in the limelight. Extroverts, on the other hand, love social engagements and being noticed. Thrill seeking, they can be on their own, but usually prefer going out.Gibson’s top tip: ‘If you’re an extrovert, try not to lose yourself in other people, or in the constant search for praise. Make time for quiet reflection and spend time alone.’
Are you a worrier or a warrior? ‘This trait describes how responsive you are to negative situations such as threats and criticism,’ says Gibson. A sensitive ‘worrier’ is cautious, to try to avoid feeling hurt. A warrior type is more relaxed, emotionally stable and willing to take risks.Gibson’s top tip: ‘If you’re very sensitive, you may need to be careful with yourself. Avoid stress and watch out for beating yourself up or taking criticism too hard.’
How well do you control your actions and work steadily towards a long-term goal? Highly conscientious people make and stick to plans, keep their promises and live according to their principles. If you’re low in this trait, you have to work harder at planning! You’re probably good at coping with uncertainty, though, and accepting that other people aren’t perfect.Gibson’s top tip: ‘If you’re low in the trait, you may struggle to behave in a way that’s consistent with your values. Be honest with yourself and accept your failings.’
Do you keep the peace at all costs? If you’re high in this trait, you tend to be trusting and forgiving, but may have trouble expressing your needs, as you fear upsetting others. People with low levels of agreeableness can lack empathy and ignore social rules. They can be tiring to be around as they assert their opinions. Gibson’s top tip: ‘If you’re high in agreeableness, experiment with telling people how you feel, and finding ways of talking about what you need.’
5. OPEN TO EXPERIENCES
If you love to travel, have a wide range of interests and enjoy learning new things it’s likely you’re high in openness. ‘If you prefer familiar situations and dislike change, you’re probably lower in openness,’ explains Gibson. ‘You may also be better at appreciating what you have and upholding traditions, though.’ Gibson’s top tip: ‘If you’re high in openness, don’t let your quest for knowledge and experiences leave you adrift with no position of your own. Sometimes it’s important to stick with things and preserve what works.
Each issue, we bring you the best advice from the latest self-help books.
This month we look at The Self-Care Revolution by Suzy Reading (Aster, £12.99).
In a nutshell: Yoga teacher, PT and psychologist Reading uses the latest research into the building blocks of wellbeing to bring you a mind and body toolkit for times when the going gets tough. Her ‘vitality wheel offers a choice of eight evidence- based ways, including power yoga, to boost happiness, energy and resilience and minimise illness, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
A nugget: ‘What we need are micro-moments of nurturing dotted throughout our days… helping you navigate stress and change.’
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