If you’re a kid, holiday means time out of school while someone else worries about the planning and coordination, the cooking, and the gift giving. And while many adults enjoy the holidays too, it can be an incredibly stressful time—and most of us are stressing out about similar things. The American Psychological Association cites lack of time (67%) and money (62%) as the biggest common stressors.
How can we tell when we or others are stressed, and what’s a good way to deal with holiday stress (or any stress at all for that matter)? The answers are different for each Myers-Briggs® personality type—symptoms of stress for someone with ENFP preferences will look very different compared to someone with ISTP preferences.
In fact, signs of stress are so different for each of the 16 types that you might miss them from co-workers, loved ones…or even recognizing those signs in yourself. Understanding personality type can help you predict and manage your own stress and often recognize and help others manage their stress as well. Each of the 16 personality types has a different favorite process (aka dominant function), which is kind of like your MBTI® superpower that we discussed earlier, and it’s usually the part of your personality that comes out most when you get stressed. This makes sense, because you’re using the most developed part of your personality to combat something uncomfortable. Keep in mind that we’re talking about regular stress here, not extreme stress like the kind stemming from illness, a death in the family, or a major life transition, or from extreme physical or psychological stress. Those kinds of stress will often lead people to express a whole different side of their personality.
Here are a few signs of stress that you may see in yourself and others, as well as the favorite process for each type. Take a look below at your own type first and think about one or two moments when you were under a lot of stress. Did you notice that sign of stress surface? Or did others around you when you were stressed mention it?
ISTJ and ISFJ – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is introverted Sensing. Signs of stress for them might be obsessing about unimportant information, or being overly dogmatic.
ESTP and ESFP – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is extraverted Sensing. Signs of stress for them might be speaking or acting without thinking, or being very blunt or curt.
INFJ and INTJ – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is introverted Intuition. Signs of stress for them might be forcing data to fit their pattern or practical meaning or retreating inward.
ENFP and ENTP – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is extraverted Intuition. Signs of stress for them might be wanting to make change just for the sake of novelty, or feeling so swamped with options that they’re unable to make a decision.
ISTP and INTP – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is introverted Thinking. Signs of stress for them might be getting lost in concentration, or becoming detached from others.
ESTJ and ENTJ – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is extraverted Thinking. Signs of stress for them might be insisting that everything be rational, or oversimplifying for the sake of clarity.
ISFP and INFP – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is introverted Feeling. Signs of stress for them might be trying to “rescue” people who haven’t requested help or becoming hypersensitive to the point that they end up isolating themselves.
ESFJ and ENFJ – For people with these preferences, the favorite process is extraverted Feeling. Signs of stress for them might be becoming intrusive or prying, or losing focus and becoming scattered.
One way you can help turn down the dial on stress is by doing things you really enjoy this holiday season. And while you may already know what you enjoy most, that probably differs from what your friends and family with other Myers-Briggs preferences think you enjoy most – perhaps what you want for the holidays doesn’t come with a price tag or a bow? With that in mind, why not drop them a hint? Visit our holiday page here to share through your social network something you’d enjoy this holiday season that may reduce your stress (and probably isn’t the result of a trip to a crowded shopping mall).
In the next blog we’ll talk about some of the common remedies for holiday stress (or any stress) according to your Myers-Briggs preferences.