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21 Ways To Understand Yourself A Tiny Bit More

If you can't understand the world, try starting with yourself.

Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

Self-care can mean a lot of things, but a major part of it is literally just self-knowledge, aka understanding the core things that make you you.

Think of it this way: you can't truly take care of yourself if you don't know what your needs are, and you can't improve yourself if you don't know your best qualities and the ones that are, uh, more challenging. Even though knowing your love language or your astrology birth chart might not seem as important as say, your sleep habits or period cycle, if it gives you more insights into the ingredients that make up the recipe of you, then it's worth learning about. After all, there's a reason why we're asked so often when we're young what our favorite color is — it's not trivial, and it's a small part of what forms the solid, unchanging core of our being.

So whether you're into journaling exercises, reading auras, or your own DNA (or all three!), here are bunch of ways to understand yourself that will give you a grounding place to come back to every time things feel out of control:

1. Take the 16 Personalities test to find out the nitty-gritty details of your personality type.

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The free online test takes Myers-Briggs to the next level by assigning descriptors like "adventurer" or "campaigner" to your result. Though you can pay to get a more in-depth analysis, the site offers a relatively detailed description for each type for free, as well as celebrities that fall in each category.

2. And if you craving an even deeper personality analysis, take an Enneagram test.

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After answering a series of questions, you'll not only find out your personality type (Reformer, Individualist, Peacemaker, etc.) but you'll feel incredibly seen. You'll also learn your wing type — aka an adjacent personality type that helps shape who you are — and get some personal growth recommendations that are specific to your personality and are actually pretty spot-on/helpful.

3. Start — and keep — a bullet journal to keep track of your to-do lists, schedules, or literally anything you want.

Rachel W. Miller / Ellie Sunakawa / BuzzFeed

The beauty of a bullet journal isn't just in the zillions of possibilities for design, it's the freedom it gives you to make of it what you want. Trying to figure out why you're getting so many stomachaches? Make a meal tracker layout! Want to finally make the most out of every day? Set up a system to keep a record of the habits you might not otherwise notice. Flipping back through your journal at the end of a week, month, or year will enlighten and surprise you.

4. Discover which of the 5 Love Languages you speak most fluently.

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They say you can't love someone else until you know yourself. But you don't have to be in a relationship to get something out of the questionnaire — your results will help you understand how you interact with friends and family, too. And if you do have a significant other, it has the potential to help you and your partner learn how to effectively communicate with each other.

5. Learn the story behind your health and ancestry with a 23andMe kit.

23andme.com

$199 and a healthy amount of saliva will get you a full mapping of practically everything you've ever wondered about how you got to be the way you are. The full-service Health + Ancestry test will tell you where in the world your DNA originated, genetic similarities between you and your relatives, and even what kind of muscles you have. The $99 version focuses only on your ancestry, but it will even tell you how much Neanderthal DNA you inherited!

6. Or if you want to get a closer look at your heritage, sign up for Ancestry.com.

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Memberships start at $19.99 and include access to vital personal information, like names of ancestors, their countries of origin, and your ethnic mix.

7. Download apps that track and explain your sleep habits, period cycle, water intake, and more.

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Knowing how much sleep and water you get — and need — may be the key to feeling more alert, awake, and active. Find an app that works best for your personality — whether it's just a tracker, or one that gives you schedules and advice.

8. Have your astrology birth chart mapped to see how your personality was written by the stars.

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Sure, you might not believe the planets *actually* govern who you are as a person, but when things seem overwhelming and complicated, some people find reassurance in looking to the galaxy for answers. Star charts look at the alignment of the zodiac, sun, moon, and planets to determine your personality, the type of people you're drawn to, and more. Plenty of websites offer free chart analyses using your birth date, time, and place, and a paid consultation will provide more in-depth and personalized results.

9. Or download the Co—Star app to see how compatible your chart is with your friends'.

Co—Star

The app will also give you a detailed description of your chart, including your rising sign, Mercury, Venus, and more, but the most fun aspect is getting to see how all of that meshes with your loved ones' charts. You'll learn how each of you operate in areas like life philosophies and communication, allowing for deeper connections with each other and yourself.

10. Locate your inner joy with a 52 Lists for Happiness journal.

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Each of the list prompts in this pretty, hardcover journal promises to help you find the key to your happiness and bring more balance into your life. If you crave something shorter and simpler, try a Five-Minute Journal instead.

Get it on Amazon for $11.97.

11. Watch this "cube" test to uncover your true personality.

View this video on YouTube

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It might sound crazy, but this classic personality test can tell you truths about the size of your ego and even how many children you'll have!

12. Get in touch with your reproductive system to finally understand your health — and life.

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Toni Weschsler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility is now in its tenth edition, and for good reason: her book on natural birth control and reproductive health is practically a bible for any person who just wants to figure out what the hell is going on inside their body. Especially useful for women trying to conceive or go off of birth control, the book also has illustrations, photos, and charts that make even the most complex bodily functions seem simple.

13. Use social media to discover new interests and sources of inspiration.

Instagram: @http://blog.instagram.com/post/102294612077/discovery-and-caption-editing

Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram can make anxiety spiral out of control — hello, FOMO and jealousy — but it can also help you figure out new passions. If Instagram is your platform of choice, for example, head over to the "Explore" tab and see what shows up. Often, the algorithm will surface photos and accounts that mirror things you've liked or looked at. So if you've recently admired an artist's gorgeous watercolor videos, it may show you tons of similar accounts...or it may show a bunch of accounts that turn out to be the exact thing your life was missing. Follow them — and unfollow the ones that don't make you feel awesome — and before you know it, your feed will calm, inspire, and maybe even educate you.

14. Get your aura read and photographed to better know the ~vibe~ you give off — and what you attract.

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Your aura is invisible, but its field of energy affects everything around you — or so its believers say. Find out if you're one of them by visiting a reader (Radiant Human is a mobile lab that travels around the U.S.) and getting a special Polaroid taken and read.

15. Visit your local natural history museum to get in touch with how it all got to be this way.

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So many explanations for the world, for humanity, for history, for you, and everything else are packed into those buildings, and they're fun to visit, too! The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, for example, has a hall of human origins that shows evolution right before your own eyes. What better way to grasp a sense of appreciation for how you even came to exist?

16. Organize your health records (and those of your family members too, if you can get them).

Inna Dodor / Getty Images

For better or worse, getting to know yourself better means knowing the ins and outs of your (and your family's) health history. Access them, study them, and keep them all in one place, god forbid anything should happen where you'll really need them.

17. Commit to filling out a five-year journal.

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I know, I know, that is a long time commitment. But! You literally just have to answer one question a day, and it's one of those things you'll greatly appreciate years down the road when you catch yourself wondering, "What did I value when I was 27?" It's designed so that you answer the same question every day for five years, and seeing how your answer to "Can people change?" evolves will teach you a lot about you and your beliefs. If you want to just share your memories over the course of five years, a One Line A Day journal may be more for you.

Get it on Amazon for $12.05.

18. Try meditating and/or some low-key mindfulness exercises.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed / Via instagram.com

I've always been an anxious, easily stressed person, but it wasn't until I started regularly practicing mindfulness and meditation that I began figuring out what was causing me to feel those ways. I use the Calm app to do guided meditations, and when I feel my stress or anxiety spiking, I pause, note what the trigger is, and that alone stops it from turning into an all-consuming spiral.

19. Check out The Book of Questions, a classic personal growth guide.

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Whether you want to use this book as a conversation starter, a mental exercise, or as a self-reflection tool, it'll spur deep conversations and surface a lot of truths you might've never realized. Questions like, "Would you be willing to give up sex for a year if you knew it would give you a much deeper sense of peace than you now have?" and "If you were handed an envelope with the date of your death inside, and you knew you could do nothing to alter your fate, would you look?" will change the way you see the world and yourself.

Get it on Amazon for $5.96.

20. Start a heartsong journal, aka an encyclopedia of you.

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Now that you're on this path to self-knowledge, a heartsong journal is a place to put everything you're learning. You can include your Myers Briggs results, your go-to self care ideas, poems and quotes that speak to your heart, or even just things you like about yourself. The best part? When you're feeling lost or confused, you can whip out your journal and reconnect with your favorite parts of you.

Find out more about how to start and maintain a heartsong journal here.

21. And when all else fails, sit back, relax, and put on Planet Earth so you can learn more about the world around you.

BBC / Via hercampus.com

The award-winning series is a gorgeous look at nature and animals and your place in the world, all narrated by David Attenborough's dulcet tones. All of Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix, and they might just chill you out for once.