Maintaining Mental Health: How Each Type Can Manage Stress
Stressed out much? If you are, you are most definitely not alone. In fact, stress is one of the leading mental health issues in the United States. A 2015 study published by the American Psychological Association indicated that stress is a growing problem in our society and it is getting worse with each generation. Stress is not good for you. It can lead to serious health issues including diabetes and cancer, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. (Source). So if you are going to do one thing for yourself this spring, we highly recommend you do something that helps you manage the stressors in your life.
The thing about stress is that it doesn’t discriminate and it is multifaceted in the way it manifests itself. In other words, different stressors lead to different forms of pressure in different people. Some types of stress are good and can be motivating, but much of the 21st Century’s stress is not. Things like traffic jams, hectic family schedules, relationships, work deadlines, finances, and self-imposed expectations can build up and become unmanageable for some people. To others the stress of not being able to have control over every aspect of their life and their home is too much to bear. The good news is that there is some predictability around what will cause stress in your life, depending on your Myers-Briggs Type. The better news is that we, at Pixies Did It, have condensed that down to an even more predictable set of stressors for each of the four types that we have identified. Knowing your stressors will help you manage your stress. This is the best way to stay mentally healthy.
Classic Pixies (Myers Briggs ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ)
Hi Classics. You all are naturally inclined toward hard work, loyalty, process, and structure. And you make up a full 46% of the American public. You are always on time and on budget. And while you are not great at design or the the big picture stuff, if someone can explain it, you can build it. So the things that stress out the other 54% of the country won’t necessarily affect you, but those personality types making up that 54% most certainly can be a contentious source of stress for you.
Working in teams with people who can never seem to get anything accomplished is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. You are subject to being completely wound up by messes. And you might have a meltdown if you are put in charge of strategic planning.
The easiest way to manage your stress is to make sure that you stick close to what you feel comfortable with and try to work with people who get you. Set and establish criteria for how things should be organized and lend your fantastic skills to helping with that. People will really appreciate your ability to provide structure and to set up processes that will work. Chances are you are going to feel like you work harder than they do – and honestly you might, but that’s because you are wired that way. So just don’t let their “not doing as much as you” get to you.
And, plan some time to unwind. Stick to that plan for down time and do something you enjoy in an environment that makes you relaxed. Maybe try working on puzzles in your spare time. Anything to break up the grind that can eventually wear you down.
Fun Pixies (Myers Briggs ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP)
So, you tend to go with the flow if you are one of these types. You bring your flexibility and improvisational skills to the world. You manage to meet deadlines but you aren’t wired to make lists or be super organized – you just get things done. A solid 27% of the population is right there with you, so you are in good company. What stresses you out tends to be following lists and very specific detailed directions – and working or living with someone that happens to need this type of order in their life.
Unfortunately, as a minority type in the world it is hard to avoid the big group of list makers and super-organized folks. Lucky for you, you know how to go along to get along and the two other types will be more forgiving. You can save your sanity by remembering that they need that structure in order to keep themselves mentally fit. Know that during the work day, chances are you will be interacting with people that want you to be a little different than you are. Try not to buck their system and remember that work is only part of the day. Maybe explain to them that you function a little differently and when you get off work, spontaneously go do something fun!
Smarts Pixies (Myers Briggs ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, INTP)
Only 10% of the population, chances are you are in charge and on a mission to get things done and change the world. You are intellectually curious, problem solvers, and natural leaders. You have very high standards and are driven to succeed. This means that you have high standards for those around you as well. Unfortunately, 90% of people in the world just don’t have the same approach to their work and life. This can be really frustrating and that frustration can be a huge source of stress for you.
The best way to manage your stress if you are a SMART is to learn great management skills. These are different than leadership skills and will help you to approach your team from where they are, which will help you encourage their performance. Also, learn self management tools. These can help you relax and breathe and force yourself to take the time you need to maintain sleep, exercise, and a good diet (all things those super driven Smarts never seem to prioritize).
Organics Pixies (Myers Briggs Types ENFJ, INFJ and ENFP, INFP)
Only 16% of the population, you are authentic and empathetic and an idealist. You know yourself and have good relationships. The biggest source of stress for you probably stems from being in a world with so many people who do not hold the same value structure as you. This is really tough, because in almost any workplace you will find them.
You naturally manage your own stress through the activities that you participate in. However, in order to avoid the stress that comes from other people, it will be helpful to do exercises that help you focus on yourself and the impact you are having. Yoga, meditation, and watching the sunset are great for this and are total stress managers – after all, who can be stressed at twilight?