What do you do when you’re stressed out? Do you procrastinate? Do you get paralyzed? Are you easily irritated?
Your reactions to stress tie back to your temperament. While we can’t always stop stress from affecting us, we can learn the most effective ways to restore peace of mind based on our personality tendencies.
The personality research by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs in 1942 identified 16 personality types based on four pairs of traits: introversion or extroversion, intuition or sensing, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving. Everyone’s personality type has a four-letter acronym based on these qualities such as ISTJ and ESFP.
As part of this ongoing research, The Center for Applications of Psychological Type created a report detailing the common stress reactions and remedies for each personality type. If you don’t know yours yet, take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument test to find out. Then read on to learn an effective way to destress based on your personality type.
IS personality types should prioritize and connect with trusted friends.
ISTJ: You get more negative and stubborn when stressed. You tend to withdraw and may behave impulsively. Redoing your to-do list can help you prioritize and focus on becoming more flexible.
ISTP: You react to stress by withdrawing and becoming overly sensitive. You may start to rely on others to make decisions. Remind yourself that you are capable and focus on near-term tasks to boost your confidence. Even proper posture can help!
ISFJ: You obsess over details and can start to feel out of control. Get out of your head and connect with supportive friends, family, or coworkers to express what’s bothering you.
ISFP: You avoid conflict and lose patience quickly or become bossy. Direct your attention toward a passion project or creative activity to reconnect with your artistic or adventurous side.
IN personality types should get outside their own heads.
INFJ: You get increasingly introverted and detail-absorbed. Stop thinking in “shoulds” and halt other self-imposed standards. Remember that life is unpredictable and you can’t control everything.
INTJ: You retreat into your head and act stubborn, getting preoccupied with things that don’t matter. Set aside distinct times in your day to address your worries so they don’t overwhelm you.
INFP: You may have trouble sleeping, become oversensitive, and try to control the situation. Take on a new passion project to satisfy your need for accomplishment.
INTP: You likely get a sense of analysis paralysis and can be increasingly prone to emotional outbursts. Take some time alone to reflect on your emotions and listen to relaxing music to calm down.
ES personality types should take a step back to reflect on reality.
ESTP: You feel more pressure, your chattiness escalates, and you begin to multi-task. You may start to doubt yourself. Weed out the non-essential things on your to-do list and focus on meaningful tasks.
ESFP: You tend to feel scattered and have irrational fears leading to pessimism. Relieve your stress in healthy ways like exercising or escaping into a good book or entertaining show. A quick walk can even be enough to relax your muscles and mind.
ESTJ: You take a my-way-or-the-highway approach, ignoring the ideas of others. Your level of sensitivity increases while you try to suppress your emotions. Instead, talk through your concerns with people you trust: friends, family, coworkers, etc.
ESFJ: You try to fix the problems of others around you and have trouble being open to new things. You may become critical of others for little things. Start to work on something that lets you see clear progress or divide your work into small, achievable tasks.
EN personality types should recenter through meditation.
ENFP: You start to act disorganized and stretch yourself too thin. Your ideas become uncontrolled. Delegate extra tasks and take the time to slow down. Create relaxing mental images through guided imagery to boost your ability to cope with stress.
ENTP: Your impatience and tendency to debate increase. You take on more than you can handle and begin to feel depressed. Reflect on your stressors and be sure to care for yourself. Practice deep breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, to calm down.
ENFJ: Your attentiveness to the challenges of others spikes, and you seek a single answer rather than being open to possibilities. Identify who’s causing you external stress. Detach yourself from their problems and take the time to focus on what you need.
ENTJ: You tune out the ideas of others and start to feel a loss of control. You disengage and become emotional from feeling vulnerable. Look to a close friend or trusted colleague for a reality check and reassurance.
Dealing with stress is all about knowing your triggers and reactions. When you're attuned to the unique way you manifest stress, you can effectively prepare, identify, and prevent mental and physical pressure.
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