I can definitely see why Joseph Pilates said “It’s the mind itself which shapes the body.” As a Physical Therapist and Pilates instructor, I’ve observed how people’s thought processes can affect developing their health goals, their physical performance, and their approach to movement and rehabilitation.
As a Pilates instructor, I’ve seen the mindfulness and awareness that Pilates is able to bring to people. When we are practicing Pilates instructors and participants, we are given a new way to feel ourselves move, a fresh way to imagine the movement, a challenge for our minds and bodies, and a generally increased awareness of our bodies.
As participants of such mindfulness-based exercise practices for our bodies, it seems only fitting that we would remain pretty mindful about our personalities, strengths, thought processes, and communication styles as well. We already take time to feed ourselves, to exercise, to work hard, and to play….Why not also take some time to know ourselves and those around us better so we can enhance our personal and professional time together?
Over the past several years I’ve come across different assessments, surveys, and resources that have helped me develop a better understanding of myself and how I think, interact, react, and interpret situations. I’ve personally felt that these resources have helped me to better learn how to create healthy communication with my friends and family members, show appreciation to my loved ones, resolve conflicts faster, utilize my strengths in the workplace, and to understanding what my weaknesses are so I can continue to grow in those areas as well. (I also happen to be able to make much more accurate fun of myself for jokes. So there’s a win!)
My opinion is that the more that we understand ourselves and others, the better able we are to serve each other, to feel at peace with ourselves in any situation, and communicate much more clearly.
Here some of my favorite resources to share with you by category:
For personal relationships, an extremely popular resource is the books and website “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman.
On his website you’re able to take a short (free!) quiz to understand the ways that you best give and receive love in personal relationships:
He also has a profile to help you understand the components that you value most in an apology, and therefore how to repair the miscommunications or mistakes in relationships:
The quizzes are short but the results are informative! He also has books on these topics as well; they include examples of real life situations and resolutions, as well as tips on how to communicate with others in a helpful, effective way.
For an in-depth book in the specifics of differences between men and women in their communication, a valuable resource is the book “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus” by Dr. John Gray.
This resource is still brief as a personality questionnaire, but thorough (and free!). It is even more encompassing for multiple aspects of life. 16personalities.com gives you information on how your personality affects different aspects of your life–including family interactions, parenting styles, job choice, job performance, friendship values, and personal relationships.
The last resource I have is a book (that comes with an access code for an online assessment) that was given to me; I have found it particularly useful for interactions in the workplace (and can be great for those searching for a job to better articulate their strengths in interviews!)
“StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath
Unfortunately, this one costs money, but is well worth the effort. It’s well developed and well researched; after the thorough survey, results give you your top 5 (out of 34 total) strengths and a personalized profile that demonstrates how your strengths influence each other, in what areas you are particularly gifted, how this affects your job choices and satisfaction, as well as how your strengths interact with/complement your interactions with others who are different.
I hope you thoroughly enjoy sitting down with your favorite munchie or drink, clicking a few of these resources, or reading a few of those pages, and learning a bit more about yourself and your loved ones.
“The power of getting to know one another is so immense, eclipsed only by first getting to know ourselves.” – Bryant McGill
Cheers to you!