The 5 Elements: Keys to Your Personality

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Ready to discover keys to your unique personality—what makes you tick? Hold on to your hat, because the surprise comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is 5,000 years old.

The 5 Elements: Keys to Your PersonalityHaving worked as a licensed, nationally board-certified acupuncturist for the last 20 years, I thoroughly enjoy incorporating time-tested, respected principles of Chinese Medicine into my daily work with office patients and wellness coaching clients. And that can mean introducing some of the interesting characteristics that comprise each of the Five Elements.What are the Five Elements? They are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Traditional Chinese beliefs teach that, taken as a whole, these elements constantly interact with each other. They create a continuous, balanced flow that sustains life, transitions, and health within individuals and the universe around them. Each element has its own blueprint of characteristics, including an emotion, a color, a season, a body part, foods, and personality attributes, both when you’re in balance and when you’re out of balance.According to this ancient philosophy, YOU, too, are composed of different combinations of the Five Elements.That’s why knowing which of the Five Elements best describes you is so helpful. Your individual combination of elements can inform any holistic adjustments—for example, acupuncture or diet—needed to rebalance you when necessary.

No person is 100 percent one element—we have facets of each element within every one of us. However, this quiz can serve as a simple, fun introduction to the elements that are the strongest in you—and how best to harness those qualities to enhance your own wellness. Ready? 

Grab a pen and paper and jot down which letter(s) best describes you:

1. In typical social or work situations, I’d describe myself as…

  1. a natural leader, willing and able to guide.
  2. a warm, inviting “people person.”
  3. a mediator, the one who recognizes both sides.
  4. practical and focused on the goal.
  5. quietly confident.

2. I feel most comfortable and am at my brightest and most creative during…

  1. spring.
  2. summer.
  3. late summer or early autumn.
  4. autumn.
  5. winter.

3.  When I’m feeling terrific, I’m…

  1. decisive and strong. I decide on a goal—and go for it.
  2. enthusiastic and positive. I’ve been told I’m inspiring to others.
  3. friendly and caring. People are comfortable counting on me.
  4. organized and disciplined. I generally feel good about myself.
  5. wise and confident. I’m intuitive, sensitive, and flexible.

4.  When I’m feeling less than my best, my physical symptoms might include…

  1. headaches, numbness, or tremors.
  2. pale coloring and sometimes palpitations.
  3. fatigue, sugar cravings, and indigestion.
  4. exhaustion, and breathing and skin problems
  5. joint, back, or neck pain and feeling stressed.

5.  When life gets stressful, my mental and emotional state could be described as…

  1. indecisive, angry, or just generally moody.
  2. restless or anxious.
  3. burnout—a feeling of mental shutdown.
  4. melancholy—a persistent sense of sadness.
  5. fearful or unmotivated.

All done? Now tally to see which lettered response(s) you chose most often. If you answered…

A, you echo the Wood element. Your balance is best achieved by learning to forgive yourself and others, “owning” your mistakes, finding ways to be less stressed, irritable, frustrated, and angry, and letting go of the need to control.

B, you reflect the Fire element. Your balance is best achieved by spending time with uplifting friends. You thrive when you reward yourself for your personal victories, set small, achievable goals, and allow others to express themselves.

C, you identify with the Earth element. Your balance is best achieved by giving yourself “me” time. You probably need to focus on being in the moment rather than worrying about the future and to learn to use food as fuel and not as comfort.

D, your characteristics are similar to Metal. Your balance is best achieved by emphasizing what you can control—good self-care, eating well, and exercise, as well as spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, and undertaking projects that inspire you.

E, you favor the Water element. Your balance is best achieved by working to build faith in yourself and others and in something bigger. Trust in your own capacity to succeed, respect your own energy levels, establish quiet time, and truly believe that you will have enough resources and reserves for your life to work out.

shadow-401178_640While a simple, fun test like this one only scratches the surface of the Chinese elements, I hope it has piqued your curiosity. I encourage you to learn more about this gentle, elegant, ancient wisdom and its underlying concept of balance among body, mind, and spirit—something we all need more of in our harried modern lives.

For further insights, give me a call at 212-686-0939. I’d be honored to explore these ideas with you and be a resource to help you attain balance and wellbeing from the inside, out.


  • Roberta Mittman

    A dedicated alternative health care practitioner, health and wellness coach, speaker, author, and licensed acupuncturist, Roberta Mittman is the founder of the Park Avenue Center for Wellbeing. She serves the New York City area as well as those from around the world who connect with her for guidance to reach healthy, happy, and richly rewarding lives. Roberta specializes in guiding women over 40 to quickly and elegantly feel and look trim and vital so they have more time and energy to spend finding happiness, love, and abundance. Her magic: the perfect, holistic blend of East and West. A self-proclaimed chocolate enthusiast, she’s also the author of Ultimate Wellness: The 3 Mental Shifts You Can Use to Change the Course of Your Health Right Now. Visit her web site:

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