How your personality effects the way you deal with stress
Did you know that your personality affects the way you cope with stressors in your life? Some people cope fine with levels of stress that others would find crippling. Our reactions to stress are partly inborn and partly learned throughout our lifetime. Everyone reacts to stress, it just depends on the level of stress you can handle before symptoms arise. Some people are really quite ‘bomb proof’ and seem to cope fine with a multitude of stressful situations, but even they will eventually react once the pressure becomes too much for them.
As we live our everyday lives stress builds up until, like an overfull water barrel, it overflows and symptoms appear. Using the water barrel simile, if you open the water barrel tap and let some stress out every-so-often then the barrel is less likely to overflow, and no matter what your personality, you will cope better.
How do you turn on the ‘tap’ to reduce the pressure? There are many different ways to reduce stress, the way that will work best for you will depend on your personality. Some people find relaxation / meditation is the best way to relieve stress, but it has to be done regularly to have any real effect. Other types of people find that taking part in energetic sports works best for them. Whether you relax or work out will depend on your personality and your approach to life in general. One thing is certain, we all need to keep an eye on our stress levels and work consistently to reduce them, because stress related illnesses are common and emotional problems caused by poorly controlled stress levels can effect us all whether we are the sufferer ourselves or effected by a close colleague / friend or relative’s problem.
Use the check lists below to find out which personality type fits you best.
If you are a perfectionist:
Obviously, everything must be perfect, you just can’t leave it alone.
If you make even one little mistake you want to repeat the whole process.
You dislike your routine being disrupted.
You get upset when others do not do their job properly, and may take over, increasing your work load.
You can’t rest till the job is done to your satisfaction, no matter how long it takes.
You do all your work to your own, self-imposed, superhuman standards.
You react badly to emergencies or change.
These people create their own stress by being too hard on themselves. They need to be more realistic and forgiving of themselves. You will probably find that relaxation helps, just let yourself have time off, build leisure time and relaxation breaks into your daily routine.
If you seek stimulus:
You habitually take risks.
You are easily bored.
You dislike routine.
You start projects easily.
You don’t often finish the project off completely.
You find the little details time wasting.
You are full of ideas.
You find it hard to maintain a steady relationship.
These people thrive on risk. They are the bungee jumpers, fast car drivers, mountain climbers. Their attention span can be short as they are racing on to the next thing. These people tend to smoke or drink too much and forget to take care of themselves properly. Often these types respond well to taking part in energetic sports, to burn off the tension.
If you are an anxious type:
You feel that people take advantage of you.
Even small disagreements upset you.
You are probably too nervous to make a change, even though you realize it would help you.
You lack self confidence.
You feel vulnerable.
You say “Sorry” easily and even if it wasn’t your fault.
You bottle up anger so well that even you don’t know its there.
You just can’t say “No”.
You fear being unpopular.
These people have poor self-esteem. They often take on jobs that are not demanding enough and then become bored and frustrated. They can spend so much time avoiding things that they miss out on living a full life. Although relaxation and or meditation is helpful for this group, it should be combined with methods to build self esteem. A few hypnotherapy sessions can do wonders to build up self confidence and the effects can be life changing.
If you are an ambitious personality:
You are totally dedicated to anything you begin.
You always finish anything you start.
You think relaxation is a waste of time.
You even dream about work.
Work is more important than a social life.
You often do two or more jobs at once.
You can focus on your present task to the total exclusion of other things.
You may forget meal times.
People getting in your way, slowing you down, make you angry.
You feel that there is a urgency for every task, and never enough time.
It is important that others see you achieve.
These people are often the most stressed, but least ready to do anything about it! They deny that they are stressed and just keep going until ill health forces them to stop. These are power driven people, often somewhat aggressive when crossed. They need to be in control. A combination of relaxation and active leisure pursuits can help here, as well as sticking to a routine which includes time out away from work related activities.
Your personality self assessment:
You may be obviously one type or you could be a mixture of types. Once you recognise certain qualities about yourself, you may be able to find a better balance, understanding and harmony within yourself. You may have noticed that all these personality types are driven by fear, and the reaction to fear is stress. If you recognise yourself here then do something now to make the changes you need to make to help yourself to a better, happier life.