How a personality test changed my life

If you want to change and grow and make your life shine, I think you need to know yourself. Like really know yourself. I thought I really knew myself. I mean, I’m 40 years old, what could I possible not know about myself? One day abut six months ago, I came across a personality test called 16 Personalities. I think it’s fair to say this test changed my life! I’d never given much thought to my personality type but I thought I’d have a go for a bit of fun. What started out as something to pass the time turned out to be an incredibly enlightening piece of information.

The test is based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which classifies us into sixteen different personality types. There are four possible pairs of personality traits:

Where do we get our source of energy? Introversion vs. Extraversion

How do we take in information? Intuition vs. Sensing

How do we make decisions? Thinking vs. Feeling

How we relate to the external world? Perceiving vs. Judging

Your test results will give you a 4 letter acronym like ESFP or INTP or ENSJ. There are 16 different combinations relating to each personality type. You can then read a pretty thorough description of your personality type. If you want to know how it all works in more detail, have a look at the 16Personalities theory page.

So which personality type am I?

I’m ISFJ which is also called The Defender or The Nurturer. In a nutshell this means…

Introvert / we get our energy from inside us, we’re reserved, unassuming, thoughtful, calm

Sensing / we take in infomation by sensing… we’re practical, observant, traditional, factual

Feeling / we make decisions based on our feelings… we’re devoted, kind, caring, principled

Judging / we organise our world based on our judgement… we’re organised, methodical, dedicated, persistant

Here’s a good summary that I found.

“ISFJs are industrious caretakers, loyal to traditions and organizations. They are practical, compassionate, and caring, and are motivated to provide for others and protect them from the perils of life. ISFJs are conventional and grounded, and enjoy contributing to established structures of society. They are steady and committed workers with a deep sense of responsibility to others. They focus on fulfilling their duties, particularly when they are taking care of the needs of other people. They want others to know that they are reliable and can be trusted to do what is expected of them. They are conscientious and methodical, and persist until the job is done.”

How did a personality test change my life?

ISFJ. A four letter combination linked to a description that fit me PERFECTLY. Reading through my report was like a revelation. It was uncannilly accurate, like it had been written just for me, in such a way that’s hard to describe. What I took from it wasn’t just a vague list of attributes but a completely accurate description of me. In my school reports, my teachers always described me as ‘quietly confident’. A few years ago at work, my manager used the exact same phrase to describe me. I’ve always liked that anolagy but now I know why they used it. It’s because I’m an ISFJ!

The bit that’s made the most impact on me is finding out about introverts. I always knew I was an introvert. Mainly because I knew I wasn’t an extrovert! But I didn’t really understand what introvert meant. I thought it kind of meant you were shy which I certainly am not! So I read everything online that I could find. And it all made perfect sense.

I’m now more aware of where I get my energy from. I know why I feel drained in busy social situations where I have to make small talk. I know why my head feels like it’s going to explode when there are loads of people talking at once or lots of noise. I know that I need quiet time alone to recharge my batteries. I know why I prefer to have a small group of close friends. Understanding this has really helped me to get to know myself a little more, which is a good place to start when you want to change and grow and life a happier, more peaceful life.

I hope those of you reading this learn something about yourselves too because I know how amazing that feels. Once you know your type, take the extra step and do some research. Find out more. Don’t limit yourself to whats listed on your report because there’s a whole world of information out there just waiting to be discovered!

Have you taken a personality test? What’s your personality type? Is it true to you?

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Mantra of the week

I have a confession to make… I’m a little bit addicted to e-courses! I love getting an email every day with a new piece of advice or something to ask myself or something to try out.A few weeks ago I took a fantastic e-course called ‘30 Day Energy Cleanse’ by a lovely lady called Mona Lisa Ondevilla. Each day for 30 days I received an email from Mona Lisa with advice and tips on becoming aware of your energy, cleansing your energy and releasing negative energy. I learned so much but one of the most important lessons I took away from the course these were two simple little mantras:

‘I release the energy that doesn’t serve me’

‘I release the energy that isn’t mine.’

So, when you’re feeling stress, anger, fear or any other negative emotion… Stop, take a deep breath and say the mantras. Say them in your head, or even better say them out loud. Then let go of your feelings and trust that the universe will take away your negative energy.

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling stressed. I was running late to pick up my chap on the way out to dinner at his family’s house. I could feel a headache coming on and I really didn’t want it to get any worse. So while I was driving I began taking some slow deep breaths and repeating both mantras to myself. I decided to let go of my negative energy for the universe to deal with… then I carried on chatting with my chap!

It wasn’t until that evening when I was thinking back over my day, that I realised that my headache had disappeared ages ago and what a lovely, relaxed, fun time I’d had. I totally believe it was down to the mantras and letting go of my stressful feelings.

I’ve used those mantras lots of times over the last couple of weeks and have found they really work for me. So give them a go. Write them down or bookmark this page. When you’re feeling any negative emotions, come back here and say the mantras a few times to release that energy that you want to get rid of. It works for me so it could work for you!

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simple 5 step morning ritual

 

I would love to be one of those people with an amazing morning ritual. I’d love to wake up at 5.30am, meditate, do yoga, knock out a blog post and bake breakfast muffins – all before the rest of the family wakes up! Unfortunately I’m not a morning person. I never have been. Given the choice I would hit the snooze button a dozen times before I finally drag my bleary-eyed body out of my lovely warm cozy bed. Then I end up rushing, feeling stressed and shouting at the children!

The way I start my mornings sets the tone for the rest of the day. If my morning is rushed and stressful, the rest of the day will be as well. If my morning is calm and centered, so will be the rest of the day!

Simple 5 step morning ritual

I knew I needed to change and introduce a morning ritual but I’m well aware of my dislike for getting out of bed. So I’ve developed this simple morning ritual of 5 mindful practices I can do before I even get out of bed!

1 / Breathe… I like to listen to a 5 minute guided meditation. It might not sound like much but it’s enough to really focus my mind and helps me feel calm and peaceful all day. If you’re not into meditation (why not? Give it a go!) try this simple 16 second breathing technique – Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4. Repeat 3-5 times.

2 / Gratitude… I always try to get in a bit of extra gratitude! Being grateful for what we have in our life is the key to happiness and peace. Being grateful for what we have attracts more and more things to be grateful for. So after meditating I get out my journal and I write 3 things I’m grateful in that moment.

3 / Set intentions… Next I write 3 intentions for my day in my journal. Intentions are goals that help guide us through the day or something we want to accomplish. They can literally be anything and will vary day by day. Some examples are ‘listen more’, ‘do yoga’, ‘play with my children’, ‘have fun’, ‘be more loving’, ‘get outside’, ‘be kind to myself’, ‘be a calmer driver’. I think you get the idea!

Simple 5 step morning ritual

4 / Visualise your day… Now I’ve set my intentions, I visualise my day ahead. Visualisation is one of the most powerful ways we can turn our intentions into reality. I find the best way to do this is to close my eyes and run through the day in my head, but I fill my visualisation with emotions, how I want feel as I’m going about my day. By focussing on our feelings, it imprints them on our subconcious so we’re more likely to create them throughout the day.

5 / Let go and smile… All that’s left to do is let go of our thoughts into the universe and trust that all the positivity will manfest itself for us throughout the day. Lastly plaster a big smile on your face! Smiling, even a forced smile, has been proven to release feel good endorphins that instantly lift your mood.

The morning ritual is a very important part of my day and I’d love you to introduce my ritual into your life. Be kind to your mind and soul and set a positive tone that gets you into the right state of mind for the day ahead. Now you are primed and ready to take on any challenges and opportunities that the day may bring!

Are you a morning person? What’s your morning ritual?

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25 ways to practice self-careI was recently chatting with a friend who’d been feeling really stressed out. She was feeling overwhelmed, tired and generally unhappy. We talked through everything and one of the contributing factors was, she’d been putting everything and everyone before herself and neglecting her needs. My advice was to start to focus on her self-care, looking after herself. I think my exact words were ‘You can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after yourself first’. What I was getting at is, if we don’t look after ourselves – mind, body and soul – we have no energy to look after those we love. In other words we need to keep our glass filled up before we can fill everyone else’s glass.

I used to be exactly the same, putting everything before myself and running on empty. I rarely took time for myself, always focussing on making everyone else happy and meeting the excessively high expectations I put on myself. The only thing I ever did for myself was go to the hairdressers every six weeks… and oh my God, did I look forward to and savour those 2 hours of me-time! Being on this journey of self improvement has made me so much more aware of how I’d been neglecting my needs and how important it is to look after myself. I now know I need to make time to do the things that make ME happy too. Things that refill my peace levels and make me a calmer, more patient person.

One thing I must stress here is that self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care is about honouring ourselves. It’s about replenishing our energy and raising our vibration. It’s about helping ourselves to feel more calm, more peaceful, more positive and more able to deal with negative emotions and stress. And when we feel all these things, we can look after others better. You will be the best you can be both to yourself and others, and project happiness to those around you when you’ve been focusing on your own self-care, both mentally and physically.

Here are 25 ways that we can bring more self-care into our lives.

1 / Breathe… I know it sounds slightly ridiculous to be reminded to breathe, but this really helps me! Sometimes when I am feeling really overwhelmed, simply stopping to take a few long deep breaths and focusing only on that helps me to feel more calm, peaceful and centred.

2 / Give up caffeine… switch to decaf and you’ll experience fewer headaches, lower blood pressure, better quality sleep and better moods. The day I realised caffeine was giving me palpitations I quit!

3 / Read a book… books are cool! It feels wonderful to look forward to picking up a book you’re really enjoing. Plus reading is really good for helping us relax, unwind and feel more peaceful.

4 / Unplug… deliberately taking a break from our mobile, tablet, laptop and TV helps us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs. A good way to schedule some screen-free time is to turn everything off for at least two hours or commit to switching off at 9pm.

5 / Get enough sleep… give yourself the gift of 7-8 hours of sleep every night and you’ll feel rested, awake and energised every morning.

6 / Healthy eating… eating healthily and mindfully is a great way of looking after not only our body but also our mind. It can be as simple as eating more fruit, more vegetables and less processed foods.

7 / Drink more water… 2 litres of water a day is recommended. Honour your body by drinking plenty of water to flush out toxins, boost the immune system, prevent headaches and increase energy levels.

8 / Write a journal… if we have 10-15 minutes of free time a day, then we have time to keep a journal. Dumping all our thoughts onto a piece of paper makes space for more positivity, peace and light in our lives.

9 / Take a bath… water soothes the soul. Light some candles and just lie back and relax in the bubbles.

10 / Meditate… this is my favourite tip! Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Meditation helps to bring a sense of peace, calm and deep relaxation. Take a look at my Beginners Guide to Meditation.

11 / Sing along to your favourite songs… singing is a vocal expression of our heart. It allows us to connect with our feelings. I love singing in the car, it makes me happy, positive and uplifted.

12 / Social media detox… we all have friends on social media that seem to spend their lives complaining about everything. Simply unfriend or unfollow those people, to free ourselves from all their negativity.

13 / Colouring… adult colouring books are a big trend and with good reason. Colouring is a great way to bring mindfulness into our lives by helping us to focus on the present moment. Just enjoy the process of colouring in and the feeling of satisfaction when you look at the beautiful colourful finished picture.

14 / Pamper yourself… treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage. You deserve it!

15 / Write a letter… when was the last time you received a hand written letter? I can’t even remember, but I know I’d appreciate the time it had taken to write, address and post the letter and it would feel very special to receive it. So connect with a friend by writing them a letter or simply write a letter to yourself.

16 / Hug someone… release those feel good endorphins for an instant happiness boost.

17 / Take a nap… ten to twenty minutes can reduce our sleep debt and leave us more energised ready for the rest of the day. No excuses. If you feel tired take a nap.

18 / Go for a walk… fresh air and sunshine does us the world of good. Focus on the present moment and take in the sights, sounds, smells and your feelings.

19 / Do some yoga… Yoga is an amazing form of exercise for the mind, body and spirit. It helps us feel centered and experience a sense of connection with the universe. It’s also a super way to stretch our bodies which boosts our energy and improves our overall sense of wellbeing.

20 / Affirmations… these are positive statements that describe a desired situation or goal. I love using affirmations as part of my self-care routine. Take a look at my affirmations board on Pinterest for some examplle. Pick a few that resonate with you, write them out in a notebook or journal and read them to yourself or out load every day.

21 / Dance… put on your favourite songs and move your body. Consider this your cue for impromptu dancing with wild abandonment!

22 / Cook your favourite meal… cook with love and you’ll enjoy eating the food even more.

23 / Get creative… whether it’s painting, drawing, taking photographs or baking a batch of brownies, being creative helps us to feel more mindful and productive.

24 / Take yourself on a date… treat yourself to a coffee (decaf of course!) in a nice coffee shop or go to the cinema to watch that film you really wanted to see.

25 / Listen to an uplifting playlist… have you ever noticed that certain songs can bring a smile to your face? Really listen to the music and the words. It’s been scientifically proven that music is an instant mood uplifter.

How do you practice self-care? What’s your favourite way to look after yourself?
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what i'm grateful for this week

I loved writing the post earlier this week about ‘The Amazing Power of Gratitude‘. It reminded me once again of the importance of counting our blessings. When it comes to gratitude journalling I’ll admit I’m not as consistant as I should be, but I always sit down at least once a week and write down a list of everything I’m grateful for. I thought I’d share this week’s list with you..

I’m grateful for…

My beautiful children are always top of my list! The highlight of my day is their bedtime, when we all think of something that has made us happy or grateful that day.

My parents for offering to babysit a couple of days before Valentines Day so my chap and I can go out for a romantic meal.

My little kitty Bob hasn’t been very well this week but the vet’s given him the all clear and he’s on the mend.

I’m grateful for my fella for sorting out everything when my website was hacked… he’s like my own personal webmaster!

My daughter has been selected for her class’ achievement assembly next week. I got an invitation to go and watch and the reason for her being chosen is ‘her great knowledge of the skeleton’! I can’t wait to go and have my proud mummy moment.

My son had an accident earlier today which resulted in a big nosebleed. He’s absolutely fine but was really shaken up. I’m incredibly grateful that he’s alright now and that his teeth weren’t damaged!

I’m grateful for my new coat which is keeping me so warm and dry on the school run every day.

My sister asked me to join Slimming World with her a few weeks ago. I wasn’t really feeling motivated about it but I agreed because I wanted to support her. Now I’m so grateful that I joined as I’ve lost 6.5lbs so far and feel so much better for eating healthily. I’ve tried lots of new recipes which have gone down well with the family too.

Every day when I walk to school to pick up my children, I have to walk up a very steep hill. To say I’m knackered at the top is an understatement! However I use this hill to state all the things about my body that I’m grateful for… my heart, my lungs, my muscles, my brain, my legs, my eyes, my hearing. I keep my attention on the present moment and instead of thinking about being unfit and out of breath, I focus on all the amazing things my body is doing right at that moment.

I’m so grateful for this journey of self development that I’m on. I’ve learned so much about myself especially how to manage my negative emotions. I’m a much calmer, peaceful person than I was just two years ago.

What are you grateful for this week?

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The Amazing Power of Gratitude

I moved to my new home in August 2015. Since then, every morning I open my bedroom curtains and take a few moments to savour the view. I often take a quick photo if a beautiful sunrise greets me. The view is nothing spectacular, my house looks onto a small grassy area with woodland behind which then leads down to the canal. But to me it really feels like I live out in the countryside (when actually I live in a busy village fairly close to town!) and over the last year I’ve learned that I need to be surrounded by trees, fields and nature. Every day I’m grateful for the view from my window, my home, my street, the sunrise, the clouds. I count my blessings and never ever take those things for granted.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey.

Gratitude is incredibly powerful! Gratitude is being thankful for what you have, counting your blessings, looking for the good in every day and noticing simple pleasures. Being grateful for what we have in our life is the key to happiness and peace. Being grateful for what we have attracts more and more things to be grateful for.

I can’t stress enough how life changing gratitude can be. Being grateful makes us more aware of all the good and beautiful things in our lives. It keeps us focussed on the good that we already have so we can let go of anything negative or lacking in our lives. Being grateful is not saying that our lives are perfect, it’s just acknowledging all the blessings – big and small – in our lives.

I know that counting our blessings is not always so easy. At the end of a seriously rubbish day, being grateful might be the last thing on your mind. But simply sitting down with a notepad and pen for a few minutes at the end of the day and writing down three things you are grateful for is guaranteed to lift your spirits. When we’re going through a particularly difficult time, staying focussed on the good things can be hard. But this is when we need gratitude most. It can help to remember that there’s a lesson is every single event in our life, so in the face of adversity ask yourself ‘what can I learn from this?’, ‘what’s good about this?’ or ‘how can I benefit from this?’ During hard times, if we can find even the tiniest thing to be grateful for it can help put things in perspective and open us up to the beginnings of hope, peace and happiness.

If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude takes practice but there are lots of ways we can bring more of it into our life.

Keep a journal. There are some great journals like The Daily Greatness Journal or The Happiness Planner which you can use for your gratitude practice. I use a simple (but beautiful) note book. All you need to do each night is write down 3-5 things that have made you thankful and happy that day. It can be something as simple as having 5 minutes to sit down with a coffee or having cuddles with your children. Make a habit of doing this every day to focus on what makes you happy.

Express your gratitude. Make a point of saying thank you to your loved ones. Tell them how much you appreciate the little (and big) things they do for you and how happy they make you. Maybe send a little card or note to let them know how you feel, I bet it’ll make their day too.

Make gratitude a family affair. This is something I’ve recently introduced with my family. Each night at bedtime I ask my son and daughter to think of something that they’re thankful for or something that has made them happy. They love telling me happy things from their day (5 and 7 year olds can come up with some really amazing things!) You could do his any time when you’re all together maybe around the dinner table or even in the car on your way to school.

Gratitude meditation. Gratitude makes us feel good and meditation helps us to achieve a state of deep relaxation and contemplation. So combining the two together can be a very powerful experience. You could try either a guided meditation like this one on YouTube by davidji or a breathing meditation while thinking of all the things you’re grateful for in your life.

How do you practice gratitude? What are you grateful for today?

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