Personalities Under Stress

Your Personality Under Stress – Mary Miscisin

Stress is a complex and pervasive factor in all of our lives. Situations that are stressful to one person may be exciting or motivating to another. How we react to and handle the stressors in our lives depends upon a lot of things; workload, time constraints, the people we interact with, our past experiences … and there is something more – our personality. There are inherent connections between stress and personality styles. Once we gain an awareness of these connections, we can use the insights to put our personality strengths to work for us (instead of against us) to improve our stress levels.

What’s happening?

Have you ever been “stressing out” but noticed others seemed to be oblivious to your frustrations- or actually enjoying the chaos of the moment? Although there are some commonalities in the stressors we all experience, it is the differences that can be the most confusing and exasperating. We all have different things we value, and when the people in our lives are not operating in the same mode as we are, or circumstances are not cooperating with our plans, there can be a mismatch of priorities, conflicting approaches and STRESS!

When people are stressed, many resort to meeting their needs any way they can. Most people are not consciously aware of their own coping behaviors. They instinctively turn to behaviors that meet their immediate need for relief, not realizing they can create long-term pain. This article focuses on those situations which are found to be more profoundly stressful to one style over another. Being able to recognize when we, or someone we know, is stressed can be the first step in turning it around. Tapping into your own natural preferences and personality strengths in positive and resourceful ways are key to getting satisfaction at work as well as in your personal life.

Connector Personality Style

Because this style finds great pleasure in connecting with and contributing to others, they can become overextended spending great amounts of time solving others’ problems and end up putting their own needs last. In addition, if they spend too much time in a relationship or environment where there is constant change, conflict, or “negativity”, the stress can get overwhelming.

Connector Personality Style’s Common Stressors

  • Conflict
  • Isolation or feeling left out
  • Rejection
  • Negativity
  • Being “used” or taken advantage of
  • Apathy
  • Insincerity
  • Lack of acknowledgment or appreciation
  • Not able to express genuine self
  • Having to say “no”

Connector Personality Style Stress Tips

It’s easy to think that if others would just change the way they behave it would lessen your stress. However, it is more powerful o focus on what you can directly control – and that is your own behavior. The following are some suggestions for managing stress for those with the Connector stress style.

  • Honor negative emotions
  • Release grudges
  • Express yourself
  • Watch your words

Planner Personality Style

When those with this style are fatigued, stressed, or otherwise pushed to their limits they can dig in their heels and become overly rigid, self-righteous, and possessive. Their normally positive, helpful attitude, can turn pessimistic, negative, and highly opinionated. They may worry about things they have no control over and get compulsive about the things they can control. Believing “If you want it done right you have to do it yourself”, they may try to take charge and do everything themselves, not allowing others to do their own job.

Planner Personality Style’s Common Stressors

  • Lack of follow through, when others don’t do as promised
  • Self or others not adhering to schedule or plans
  • Change- especially frequent, unplanned, or unanticipated
  • Unclear expectations; lack of rules, instructions, or guidelines
  • Not knowing where they fit
  • Lack of consistency, leadership, or a master plan
  • Neglect of family time or traditions
  • Missing deadlines, not enough time to complete tasks
  • Rule breakers; rules or policies not being enforced
  • Interruptions

Planner Personality Style Stress Tips

Not surprisingly, this style seeks to maintain a certain equilibrium. Too much or too little responsibility can cause them stress. Sometimes lack of closure on projects or even issues from the past can cause worry or disturb them in the present. How do you find reprieve while maintaining your health, sanity, and responsibilities? The following are some suggestions for managing stress for those with the Planner Stress Style.

  • Validate yourself
  • Be responsible … for yourself
  • Start new traditions
  • Delegate

Thinker Personality Style

As a natural non-conformist, this style’s approach to the world may not always mesh with the rest of society. On a never-ending quest for competency, improvement and autonomy, they have a tendency to “do their own thing” regardless of whether others think their ways are eccentric or not. For instance, work can be play and “play” can be work. It is not unusual for them to “work” on projects during a regular scheduled holiday while others feel compelled to picnic because it is what they believe they are “supposed to do” on that particular day.

Thinker Personality Style’s Common Stressors

  • Overly sensitive people, emotional outbursts
  • Lack of independent thinking
  • Small talk or chit chat
  • Mistakes and ineptitude in self and others
  • Not enough time to gather data
  • Lack of mental stimulation, redundancy, or routine
  • Policies and procedures that block progress
  • Nothing new to look forward to
  • People who don’t try to solve things before seeking help
  • Made to look incompetent

Thinker Personality Style Stress Tips

If your personality shows traits of this style and you feel yourself fading from stress, it is time to shift your focus outward. You are a big-picture thinker in many areas, therefore use this ability and apply it to your situations. What you focus on becomes real for you, so relocate your attention to more empowering thoughts and ideas. Consistently analyze whether your actions are taking you in the direction you really want to go. The following are some suggestions for managing stress for those with the Thinker Stress Style.

  • Balance your critiques
  • Schedule time for health
  • Prioritize
  • Honor your independence

Mover Personality Style

If your personality shows traits of this style, your quick thinking and demand for action can get you ahead of yourself. Since you usually enjoy operating in a rush of adrenaline, you might have a tendency to arrange your life so you are constantly on the edge and perhaps putting others on edge as well.

Mover Personality Style’s Common Stressors

  • Lack of freedom or choices, feeling trapped
  • Not being able to use their skills
  • Forced to keep quiet or not participate
  • Insufficient attention
  • Waiting, slow actions
  • Indecisiveness
  • Routine
  • Lack of physical contact
  • Details, paperwork
  • Inactivity, restriction of physical movement

Mover Personality Style Stress Tips

What you may find fun and exhilarating, others may perceive as stressful. In fact, the people in your life that are depending on you may not find your behavior very fun at all. So how do you get your own needs for freedom, spontaneity, and attention met without trampling others in the process? The following are some suggestions for managing stress for those with the Mover Stress Style.

  • Move that body!
  • Compete
  • Focus
  • Keep Healthy Habits

Putting it Into Practice

One of the surest and quickest ways to reduce your stress levels is to increase your knowledge of personality styles. Whether you expand your awareness of your own personality strengths and behavior patterns or become better at understanding how to increase your effectiveness in dealing with others, knowing Personality Lingo can help.

Situations that are stressful to one person may be exciting or motivating to another. How we react to and handle the stressors in our lives depends upon a lot of things; workload, time constraints, the people we interact with, our past experiences… and there is something more- our personality. There are inherent connections between stress and personality styles. Once we gain an awareness of these connections, we can use the insights to put our personality strengths to work for us (instead of against us) to improve our stress levels.

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First published in 2001 with several editions and translations throughout the years, Mary Miscisin’s classic personality book Showing Our True Colors has been revised to Personality Lingo

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