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What Is Your Stress Type?

 

Most people admit there are times they are stressed and they don’t always handle that stress in the best ways. I find that learning about stress and how you react to it is the best way to move forward in dealing with it. So, I ask people the question: What is your stress type? There are 5 stress archetypes we can learn about that help us know how we deal with stress and return to our center.

Learning about these archetypes helps us expand our awareness of the types of stress we face. It also helps us come back to the center. People tend to think more about the calm, relaxed, and peaceful times. We remember what that experience is like. But it is important to remember what it is like to experience acute stress so that we know how to move to peace.

From years of meditation coaching and training leaders, we have found this is a topic that everyone deals with. Our work with coaches has helped us fine-tune this topic, and we’re excited to share our findings with you. There are 3 preliminary topics I want to introduce first: life stressors, symptoms of stress, and stress responses.

Life Stressors

There are many life stressors that cause you to be stressed. I always tell people to begin this conversation by identifying what makes them stressed. Is it other people? Is it how other people hurt you? Many times it will be connected to childhood issues that you had and continue to deal with.

One of the most helpful things you can do in dealing with this stress is confront those who have harmed you. For more information on this topic, visit our blog article on “having hard conversations with others

Symptoms of Stress

There are many symptoms of stress, just as there are many different types of stress. Stress kicks in, and we are edgy, angry, raw, and push people away. Our emotions are on edge.

Physically, you begin to breathe faster. Your heartbeat and pulse quickens. You may break a sweat and become hypersensitive to your surroundings.

Stress Responses

There are 3 natural stress responses, and everyone responds in at least one of these 3 ways:

  1. Fight – You fight back to protect yourself. You can be defensive and others may switch into bully mode
  2. Flight – Running away, withdrawing, or isolating yourself. These are also protective measures that help you to live and fight another day
  3. Freeze – You don’t do anything. This is more like a paralysis where a person checks out for a period of time

stress types - fight or flight

The Stress Archetypes

These stress responses lend themselves into patterns of behavior and personality. I have noticed that these patterns of behavior center around 5 stress archetypes. Consider each of the following and where you fit in more often. Yes, you may exhibit all of these at one time or another.

The Addict

You go into addiction mode. What is your drug of choice? Food, sex, Netflix, TV, alcohol, drugs, and so forth are many examples of what people become addicted to as they face stressful situations.

The Isolator

This is the loner who withdraws and isolates from others. It tends to be someone who did not have support from parents or others in childhood, such as absent parents who didn’t know how to support them. They may have been independent and managed these things on their own as they grew up. These people don’t tend to ask for help or even know how to ask others for help. Many don’t feel comfortable doing this and don’t want to be a burden to others.

The Bully

You go into bully mode and get aggressive, act out, and snap at others. This is an aspect of survival mode. You become self-focused. You are not as gracious or generous with others because you are focused on protecting yourself. You get irritated easily.

The Avoider

This person avoids life and distracts themselves. They are in avoidance of life. It can become like an addiction, according to what they indulge themselves in. This person probably denies that they even have stress. They tend to focus on things that help them forget what is going on. So, it may be they spend their hours surfing the web, playing video games, shopping, or other activities that are mindless and distracting to them. They will also sleep a lot as a way to cope with stress.

The Ghost

This is a person who all but disappears. There is zero communication and sign of life. These are people in freeze mode or paralysis. I sometimes call this “dead fish” because even if they are with you, they are not engaging at all and are essentially checked out.

Again, these 5 personality archetypes display the various stress responses in their own ways.

How to Manage Stress

When you think about stress, frenetic and chaotic people are not grounded. They are always off-center, trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. If you are hypervigilant, then you should self-examine what is going on. When you see yourself slipping into any of these archetypes, let it guide you to what is needed – a way to manage stress.

So ask yourself: What is it that you do to help manage stress and bring physical and mental peace?

Meditation is key. Good meditation coaching does not just help relieve stress but also invites peace in. It helps bring relaxation to both mind and body. How do you bring about the relaxation response? We teach several fight or flight relaxation techniques. See below our how-to section: “How to Reduce Stress” for a practical meditation technique to try.

You may also try any activity that relaxes you and brings peace. Some of the most popular include the following:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Time in nature
  • A relaxing bath

managing stress - yoga

Self-Examination

Take a moment to judge yourself now. Gauge yourself on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is the highest level of stress. How much are you feeling?

The goal is to bring yourself back into balance with compassion, love, acceptance, and loving kindness — not to beat yourself up for getting out of balance.

Ask yourself realistically: What can I do to bring myself back into balance?

To read more about how to love yourself, read the following article: https://suraflow.org/how-to-love-yourself/.

How to Reduce Stress

Follow this guided meditation:

  • Breathe in new energy and pause
  • Exhale old and stagnant energy
  • Repeat and relax your whole body as you do so. Connect to the center of your being and rest comfortably in the moment
  • Feel yourself be dropped into your body as you relax. Move from your feet to your head, relaxing as you go
  • Think about this question: What is the inner physical response you have when faced with stress? Feel that a moment. Place your hand over the spot where you most often feel stressed out physically
  • Think: What makes you stressed in life? Identify some of those stressors
  • Think: What is your relationship to stress? How do you handle and deal with it?
  • Let it go: Picture yourself letting your stress leave your body. Exhale it out. Let it run through you and into the earth. Release it from you. Put stress in a bubble and watch it float away easily

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What Are the Types of Stress?

There are 5 stress archetypes:

The Addict

You go into addiction mode. What is your drug of choice? Food, sex, Netflix, TV, alcohol, drugs, and so forth are many examples of what people become addicted to as they face stressful situations.

The Isolator

This is the loner who withdraws and isolates from others. It tends to be someone who did not have support from parents or others in childhood, such as absent parents who didn’t know how to support them. They may have been independent and managed these things on their own anyway as they grew up. These people don’t tend to ask for help or even know how to ask others for help. Many don’t feel comfortable doing this and don’t want to be a burden to others.

The Bully

You go into bully mode and get aggressive, act out, and snap at others. This is an aspect of survival mode. You become self-focused. You are not as gracious or generous with others because you are focused on protecting yourself. You get irritated easily.

The Avoider

This person avoids life and distracts themselves from life. They are in avoidance of life. It can become like an addiction, according to what they indulge themselves in. This person probably denies that they even have stress. They tend to focus on things that help you forget what is going on. So it may be they spend their hours surfing the web, playing video games, shopping, or other activities that are mindless and distracting to them. They will also sleep a lot as a way to cope with stress.

The Ghost

This is a person who all but disappears. There is zero communication and sign of life. These are people in freeze mode or paralysis. I sometimes call this “dead fish” because even if they are with you, they are not engaging at all and are essentially checked out.

What’s Fight or Flight?

Fight or flight are the biological response to stress and threat. People tend to fight back or run away when threatened. This is the basis of a stress response.

What Are Stress Triggers?

Your stress trigger is something personal to you, perhaps dating back to your childhood. These are emotions you feel during certain situations that make you feel out of control or threatened.

What Are the Physical Signs of Stress?

These are several physical signs of stress:

  • Quicker heartbeat and pulse
  • Breathing quickens
  • You may break into a sweat
  • You become hypersensitive to your surroundings

These reactions are natural, literally your body preparing you either to flight or flee.

How Do I Handle Stress?

Consider the following to help you handle stress:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Walk
  • Nature
  • Bath

Consider watching our: guided meditation to help you deal with stress.

About the Author: Sura
Sura
Hi, I'm Sura, a corporate VP turned Meditation Coach. Currently, I run global online trainings for leaders & coaches. I love sharing FLOW, an effortless meditation approach that cultivates true health, relaxation & prosperity.

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