April_19_2013

What is your stress personality?

What happens when you face a situation that could potentially cause stress? You might freak out, and your friend might shrug his shoulders and smile. Equally, you might feel chilled about an event that throws your friend into a panic. We are all different in our responses, and in order to deal with your stress more effectively it is very helpful to understand, what I call, your stress personality.

In this article I will present you with six different personalities. After the description of each personality, take a few seconds to mark how strongly you are affected by this type of stress. The easiest marking is between 0 and 10, and you should mark intuitivily. The highest mark would show your predisposition. Most likely, you are a combination of the six.

Six personalities

The presentation of these personalities is partly based on Dr Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and a pioneer in the development of stress-reduction training for businesspeople, who defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager’.

1. Time Stresser

You experience a continuous lack of time, the things to do list is too  long, you don’t spend enough time on your tasks as you feel the need to haste because so many other tasks are waiting and it feels as if you are always in a rush. People might experience you as restless.

2. Anticipation Stresser

You stress because you anticipate an unwelcome outcome. You are ‘in the future’ and anxious about a situation or event that is not a reality. Examples are: ‘If I don’t get that order, than…….’ Or ‘OMG, if I get ill, what would happen ….? You are worried and concerned. Some people might call you a pessimist.

3. Situational Stresser

You face an unexpected situation, and are hit by the stress button big time. This surprise situation could be a real emergency, but it can also be less serious, like you forgot to send a letter, or did not print out a proposal. However, as a result of this surprise you stutter, shake, can’t think, panic, or show other behaviour that doesn’t change the situation for the better. Others might call you a ‘panicker’.

4. Social Stresser

You are nervous when in an unfamiliar situation, such as attending college for the first time, or when meeting new people, such as the first encounter with new colleagues. It confronts you with your need for control, and maybe makes you notice an insecurity around social interaction and confidence. You need some time and effort to feel ‘at home’, before you can act and react like yourself. You might be perceived as shy or reserved.

5. Intra personal Stresser

You  keep an internal dialogue going that is dominated by low confidence, low self-esteem, and low sense of self. This will bring you in an almost continuous state of anxiety and unhappiness. If you manage to stop the dialogue for parts of the day, you will function in the moment, but if the dialogue starts again, it will cause a state of being that is very unhealthy. You might have difficulty sleeping, focussing and people might perceive you as negative.

6. Performance Stresser

You mental focus is  continuously on challenging situations, like the budgetplan, a presentation or changing jobs. You are not able to let go and the topics are whirling in your head, wherever you are, whatever you do. You can’t switch off. People find you distracted or obsessive.

Most likely you will recognise yourself in all of the personalities. The strongest score will help you identify your vulnerability and point of focus, if you were to move into an out-of-control stress way of being. When the pressure takes over, and we are not in control, we are threatening our physical health, our mental health and our general well-being.


Written by Dr. Mariette Jasen.

Dr. Mariette Jansen holds a PHD in linguistics and interpersonal communication and has enjoyed a long and  successful corporate career within technology companies. She is determined to eradicate stress from modern living and is proud one of her programmes endorsed by Janey Lee Grace.

She can be contacted on 0796 771 7131 or by email on  mariette@stressfreecoaching.co.uk

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