Personality and Temperament Impact Your Health! What Can You Do About It?

Here is a pdf version of your Free Report for easy downloading and printing: Personality & Temperament

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The fundamental difference between temperament and personality is that temperament is part of your Constitution and personality is independent of it.  Temperament is the mental/emotional aspect of your energy balance.  For instance, the yang types tend to be impatient and short tempered on the negative side, and cheerful, forgiving and courageous on the positive side.  The yin types tend to be overly cautious and unforgiving but are prudent, reliable and even tempered.

The good news about temperament is that following the guidelines for your Constitution tends to enhance the positive aspects of your type and minimize the negative.  For instance, anger and impatience are a result of energy rushing upward.  When yang types eat warming food this tendency is increased.  When they avoid warming food, and focus on lower body exercise, their energy is circulated more evenly and they become more even-tempered and patient.  The same is true for yin types.  When they warm their systems and focus on upper body exercise, they become physically energetic but also more forgiving and less resistant to change.



Here is a brief description of how the four Sasang constitutions differ in their temperament.  Some of this information comes from two books on SCM; Compass of Health by Joseph K. Kim, PhD, OMD and An Introduction to Sasang Constitutional Medicine by Song II-byung.

Tai-yang (Greater Yang)

Tai-yang are natural leaders and stand out in a crowd.  They are excellent communicators and act with certainty.  Tai-yang often are the initiators of change.  They approach social interactions without reserve or hesitation and they are very positive.  They are usually courageous and tend to rush forward without reflection, which can sometimes make them rash, insensitive and hot tempered. Tai-yang often blame others when their plans fail.

Positive traits:  active, positive, idealistic, intelligent, sociable, courageous, tenacious, pioneering, charismatic, curious, articulate

Negative traits:  arrogant, dogmatic, stubborn, rebellious, short-tempered, rude, careless, impractical

So-yang (Lesser Yang)

So-yang are quick, strong and agile. They have no trouble beginning new projects, but often don’t complete them.  So-yang have many things happening simultaneously, which can make then anxious.  If their anxiety becomes severe they become fearful and forgetful.  So-yang are compassionate and take pleasure in helping others.  They tend to act according to their moods and are often disorganized.  They are active, passionate and honest. They lack perseverance and are easily bored.

Positive traits: active, open-minded, cooperative, straightforward, honest, sharp, spirited, outgoing, cheerful, big-hearted, decisive, witty

Negative traits:  impatient, fickle, lack perseverance, easily bored, easily angered, critical

Tai-eum (Greater Yin)

Tai-eum are consistent, patient and calm.  They can sit still for a very long time.  Once they initiate something they usually finish it and excel at accomplishing their goals. Tai-eum are very cautious and dislike any sort of change.  However, if they become overly cautious, they can be very fearful of any task, so that they won’t even try something new and end up doing nothing.

Positive traits:  dignified, polite, persevering, impartial, optimistic, benevolent, prudent, honest, humorous, gallant, reliable, pragmatic

Negative traits: cowardly, indolent, closed-minded, stubborn, covetous, skeptical, greedy

So-eum (Lesser Yin)

So-eum are introverted, graceful, courteous and gentle.  Inside they are firm, methodical and precise.  They chronically worry, even over trivial matters and are aware of what might go wrong.  This often hinders the drive to start things, but once started they tend to finish things.  They usually act rationally and do not let emotions override them.  However, their individualism and selfishness are strong.  They like to count every profit and loss and exhibit a great deal of jealousy and envy.  So-eum are slow to anger but also slow to forgive.

Positive traits:  composed, calm, orderly, methodical, meticulous, clean, tidy, modest, prudent, patient, perceptive, precise

Negative traits:  passive, inactive, selfish, narrow-minded, jealous, authoritarian, stubborn, nervous


Usually Constitution Diagnosis is done by observation of a combination of physical characteristics, disease symptoms and assessment of temperament.  Master Hyunoong Sunim created a diagnostic system for determining constitution using the Chinese Natal Chart that is far more accurate and reliable than observation alone.  In addition, the chart indicates personality characteristics beyond basic temperament that can have a negative impact on a person’s health.

While people are often aware of these traits when they are pointed out, they rarely realize that these challenges of personality not only tend to make them unhappy; they also can negatively impact their health.  Here are some of the common personality issues that we see in the natal chart.  It’s important to note that any constitution can have any of the personality issues.

Independent and Lonely

People who are independent tend to follow their own inner leanings to a greater extent than the average person.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s just that the trade-off is that if you go your own way, you go alone.

Health Impact:  Loneliness creates sadness, which in Asian Medicine negatively impacts and eventually weakens the heart.

Remedy:  By observing this tendency, you have an opportunity to make conscious choices.  Sometimes the right choice will be going along with the crowd in order to avoid loneliness, at other times choosing to go your own way is the right choice.  However, knowing you are at choice will lessen the impact of feeling lonely and reduce sadness.  Having the support of people who are tolerant of your need for independence is tremendously helpful.

Independent and Rebellious

Independent on the level of rebelliousness is stronger than independent and lonely.  It is not an easy thing to manage.  The person with this in their chart longs for independence and will simply refuse to go along with any idea or suggestion that is given them.  In certain situations this can cause real problems and make life more difficult.  In the world there are hierarchies that we must learn to negotiate skillfully.  Work is a prime example.

Health Impact:  Affects all the organs because it stops the smooth flow of qi.  It can also affect your relationships and career, making your life more difficult and unhappy.

Remedy:  Recognize that rebelliousness is a mechanical, knee jerk reaction that does not bring you what you want, which is a feeling of freedom and independence.  True freedom comes from choice.  Having to rebel is not freedom.  Learn to say “maybe” (even if only internally) to suggestions in order to give yourself time to evaluate if the suggestion is right for you.  Another idea is to practice flexibility by spending time with someone you trust and going along with all their suggestions for the entire time you are together.


The perfectionist will always find the flaw.  They tend to be intense, focused and critical, even if only inwardly.  They seek perfection in themselves, others, what they do, and any situation they are in, whether in art, government or commerce.  It makes them extraordinarily good at what they do.  However, they can easily become exhausted trying to get things perfect.  More importantly they tend to be unhappy because they focus continually on what is wrong rather than on what is right.  If their criticism is directed outwardly they can damage their relationships.

Health Impact:  Often the perfectionist pushes beyond their natural stamina and resilience resulting in reduced immunity and sensitivity to contagious illnesses.  This habit can also weaken the most vulnerable organ for that person contributing to more serious chronic conditions.

Remedy:  The practice of gratitude is the anecdote for being a perfectionist.  Learning to observe and focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong in situations, relationships and endeavors is essential.  Start by writing out everyday what you are grateful for.  Most importantly, learn to accept and appreciate yourself just as you are.  Since perfectionism is mostly an inside job, outside positive support and feedback can be invaluable.


People with competitiveness in their charts often see themselves as “perfectionists”.  This is most likely due to cultural biases and is somewhat of a reaction to the previous cultural preferences for competition in business etc.  Competitiveness serves a function by pushing the individual to excel.  People with this in their charts are often physically fit and enjoy sports and games where winning is involved.  The downside, of course, is that people can push beyond their limits to exhaustion.  There is also the tendency to evaluate oneself negatively i.e.  “I am not the best and therefore a looser.”

Health Impact:  The impact on health of competitiveness is similar to the perfectionist although it can be more pronounced.  And since it is more physical a greater tendency for accidents and injury exists.  Sometimes the difference between drive to win and innate capabilities is so great, the body collapses suddenly and the person never fully recovers.  In professional and amateur competitive sports there are dramatic examples of this.

Remedy:  Understand and accept your limitations.  Coaches, doctors and counselors can help you stay healthy and avoid injury.  Recognize your own value even when you don’t win.  Most of the people you see as competing against you probably are not. Learn to do activities for the pleasure of doing them.  If you are one of those people with high drive and low stamina, having your Constitution diagnosed can save your life.


A conflict in the chart indicates a person who is very intelligent.  It’s a specific kind of intelligence that drives the person to resolve complex intellectual issues.  Other people might be quick and clever but not necessarily driven to understand something thoroughly.  This person will question the intellectual status quo.  Their deep inquiry can often lead to breakthroughs in understanding for themselves and others.  It can lead to personal growth.  However, it’s important to note that the conflict is an energetic incompatibility, which can drive the person to push themselves beyond their physical and psychological capabilities and to dwell in their thoughts and not be present in the moment.

Health Impact:  There is a tendency to not be present, leading to accidents and ignoring the body’s needs.  The thinking can become an obsession leading to chronic worry, insomnia and exhaustion.  More than one conflict in a person’s chart can be particularly damaging.

Remedy:  Evaluate whether the question or problem is possible to solve or important to work on.  Realize that big questions are rarely solved in a day so pace yourself.  Exercise helps the mind work better, especially if you don’t work on the problem while exercising.  Having a walking or exercise buddy can help get you out of your head. Take a break.  Learn to meditate.


A break in the chart is a strong incompatibility between two characters.  Breaks cause a person, on occasion, to be very emotionally intense and to stay in an emotional space for an extended period of time.  When the break is active the person literally wants to break away from the person or situation that they feel is causing the emotional intensity.  Breaks can be very damaging to the physical energy when they are active so it’s important to learn how to manage them.  They can also create havoc with both professional and personal relationships.

Health Impact:  There are four types of breaks and each affects certain organs specifically.  For instance, the break between the Dragon and the Ox creates too much wetness and interrupts the flow of energy between the stomach and the spleen.  Since the spleen/stomach is a yin/yang pair, digestion and assimilation are affected.  In the short term this may only result in discomfort or constipation, but not managing the emotional intensity over time, can lead to serious problems like IBS and Crohn’s Disease.

Remedy:  Understand and accept your emotions without feeding them.  Feeding them happens when you think about all the times you’ve felt this way before or when you make yourself wrong for how you feel.  Denial is also not helpful.  If you are angry or experiencing grief do not try to get over it within some imposed timeline.  Just be with your feelings without judgment.  The support of a coach, a counselor, or a therapist can be invaluable when dealing with major emotional issues.  But even for the emotional ups and downs of everyday life, a support group or a dedicated spiritual practice can be of great benefit.

I hope that you found this report informative, interesting and helpful.  Here in Northern California we have support groups for the different constitutions.  We get together to share food, recipes, and insights into the nature of our constitution.  It makes following the recommendations for our constitution easier and the support helps us grow from our temperament and personality challenges.

By Tracy Stewart