Which stress personality are you?

Learn how to cope with your stress by better understanding which stress personality type you are.

stressed out woman biting on pencil staring at her computer

What does your personality say about the way you handle stress?

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
  • Stress is a complex defense mechanism that is highly personal and can vary depending on the situation.
  • Your personality greatly impacts how you cope with stress, research suggests.
  • You can learn how to cope with your day-to-day stressors by understanding which "stress personality type" you are.

    Which stress personality are you?

    concept of stress cartoon of man behind boxes and binders holding a sign for help

    Understanding your personality type can help you cope with stress.

    Image by Abscent on Shutterstock

    Stress is a complex defense mechanism that is highly personal and can vary depending on the situation. How we feel stress, how our bodies react to it, how we cope with it - all of those things are very indicative of our personalities, mindsets, and willingness to adapt.

    Mary Dempcy (along with colleague Rene Tihista) researched and compiled a unique model for handling stress (at work, at home, in relationships, etc). These "inner selves", as they are so often referred to in their book "7 Stress Personalities: A Look At Your Selves", must be recognized and managed in order to deal with stress in a productive and positive manner.

    According to a 2007 study on stress and personality traits, personality traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, sense of humor, persistence, fatalism, and conscientiousness all factor into how we manage a stressful situation.

    Do any of these personality types sound like you?

    The Pleaser

    • Wants everyone to be happy.
    • Often sacrifice their own interests for the sake of what's best for a group.
    • Pleasers are gracious most of the time but may become resentful over time and feel underappreciated because they have taken on too much.

    To cope with stress, the Pleaser should prioritize their schedule and manage time in a more realistic way, which can serve as motivation to get more done.

    The Timekeeper

    • Like being in charge, taking responsibility.
    • They aren't driven by the need to make others happy but are fueled by a need to feel needed and competent.
    • Timekeepers may find themselves taking on too much causing them to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed.

    To cope with stress, the Timekeeper should take a full 60 seconds before deciding what to do (or taking on any additional responsibilities). Use this time to consider if you are the best person for the job, if you have the time to get the job done properly and if you really want to take on this particular responsibility.

    The Striver

    • Ambitious and competitive, pushing themselves to their limits frequently.
    • A desire to be the best.
    • Strivers may burn out fairly quickly due to never giving themselves time to recover and can feel envious over other people's successes.

    To cope with stress, the Striver should learn to ask for help when they need it. Understanding you may not be able to accomplish everything on your own doesn't mean you've failed - after all, asking for help may make the project you're working on come out with even better results, which will look good on your part.

    The Inner Con Artist

    • Not very hardworking but may be unaware of how hard other people work - they underestimate how much effort it takes to be successful.
    • May procrastinate and avoid conflict, which leads to more stress.
    • Inner Con Artists don't often communicate well with coworkers or management, putting themselves in a difficult position once they realize they need help.

    To cope with stress, the Inner Con Artist should create a realistic schedule that doesn't seem like a large to-do list but is more like a small motivation list. Instead of designing a system where you feel more stressed and feel as though you're falling behind, this will give you a more concise list that makes you feel motivated when you check off an item.

    The Critical Judge

    • Their own worst enemy - they set too high personal standards for themselves often setting themselves up for feelings of failure.
    • Very focused on their own shortcomings in an unproductive way.
    • Critical Judges can often get into a downward spiral and reach a crisis of confidence due to their inability to see their own successes.

    To cope with stress, the Judge may need to acknowledge that much of your stress is self-inflicted and the only way to decrease your level of stress is to take some of the pressure off yourself.

    The Worrier

    • Obsessive over the future and hate unpredictability.
    • Constantly devising multiple plans for any scenario that could happen.
    • Worries often generate stress over situations that haven't happened yet or that very likely would not happen, which leaves them unable to deal with here-and-now problems.

    To cope with stress, the Worrier should ask themselves one simple thing: what can I do right now to lessen my stress? Asking this clear question will provide one clear answer that will lessen the tension and worry you feel about your to-do list.

    The Sabertooth

    • The initial response to feeling stressed or overwhelmed is anger of frustration.
    • They often create negative vibes around themselves that can put other people in a bad mood as well.
    • Sabertooths can create a toxic environment, overwhelming stress and anxiety for those around them and are not particularly productive in problem-solving.

    To cope with stress, the Sabertooth should take a full 60 seconds of pause (not doing anything at all) before reacting to any stressful situation. Don't take this time to think about how to tackle the situation - just pause and clear your mind and come back to the problem with a clear head.

    Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

    Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

    Big Think LIVE

    Add event to your calendar

    AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

    Keep reading Show less

    The world's watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail

    Hungarian cartographer travels the world while mapping its treasures.

    Strange Maps
    • Simple idea, stunning result: the world's watersheds in glorious colors.
    • The maps are the work of Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs.
    • His job: to travel and map the world, one good cause at a time.
    Keep reading Show less

    Did our early ancestors boil their food in hot springs?

    Scientists have found evidence of hot springs near sites where ancient hominids settled, long before the control of fire.

    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
    Culture & Religion
    Some of the oldest remains of early human ancestors have been unearthed in Olduvai Gorge, a rift valley setting in northern Tanzania where anthropologists have discovered fossils of hominids that existed 1.8 million years ago.
    Keep reading Show less

    Personal finance: How to save, spend, and think rationally about money

    Finances can be a stressor, regardless of tax bracket. Here are tips for making better money decisions.

    • Whether you have a lot of money or a lot of debt, it matters how you handle your personal finances. A crucial step when it comes to saving is to reassess your relationship with money and to learn to adopt a broader, more logical point of view.
    • In this video, social innovator and activist Vicki Robin, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, and author Bruce Feiler offer advice on achieving financial independence, learning to control your emotions, spending smarter, and teaching children about money.
    • It all starts with education and understanding. The more you know about how money works, the better you will be at avoiding mistakes and the easier it will be to take control of your financial circumstances.
    Keep reading Show less
    Scroll down to load more…