Individualized, Personality-backed Strategies for Reducing Covid-era Stress

Is there anyone on the planet who is not incredibly stressed these days?

Over the past few years, depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance abuse have all skyrocketed. As have damaged relationships, disrupted careers, devastated finances, delayed social development, and numerous other consequences we are only now beginning to appreciate. And even before COVID-19, stress was a significant factor in increased heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and many other serious medical conditions.

Not surprisingly, this has resulted in an acute shortage of therapists and counselors to help restore us to some semblance of wellbeing. To respond to the burgeoning demand, thousands of solutions have been hastily developed – most in the form of digital applications.  

But few have been vetted for efficacy, and even fewer acknowledge a simple, basic truth: there is no silver bullet; there is no one-size-fits-all approach for reducing stress that works equally well for everyone. It seems providential that this enormous need would align so perfectly with my passion for applying my personality-type expertise to helping people live healthier lives. 

As a result, I was able to create De-Stress Rx™ – an online tool that provides individualized insights and strategies for reducing stress based on each individual’s personality type.

Presented below are a sample of the insights and strategies provided in each type-specific, complete De-Stress Rx.

Traditionalists (ESTJs, ISTJs, ESFJs and ISFJs)

ESTJ

ESTJs comprise about 9% of the population. Because you place such a high value on working hard, being responsible and productive, you become stressed when you experience a lack of control, disruption of your routines, or you must deal with others’ emotions.  

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual calm, dependable, grounded, logical self, you may start to feel that you are not doing a good-enough job, or you may overreact and misinterpret harmless remarks as criticism.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ESTJs: 

  • Set some goals you can accomplish
  • Recognize there are limits to what you can control
  • Set aside time to reconnect with family and friends

ISTJ

ISTJs comprise about 11% of the population. Because you place such a high value on working hard, following protocol, and completing tasks on time, you can become stressed when you don’t have time to fully prepare, when you’re not given clear instructions, or when things change unexpectedly.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual solid, unflappable, dependable self, you may begin to obsess about details, imagine worst-case scenarios, or become unsure of things that you know.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ISTJs: 

  • Take time to “recharge your batteries
  • Make a plan which involves taking incremental steps
  • Put off big decisions until you’re feeling less stressed.

ESFJ 

ESFJs comprise about 12% of the population. Because you place such a high value on being productive, having harmonious relationships and helping people, you become stressed when you can’t control your time or activities, feel unappreciated, or have interpersonal conflict or tension at home or at work.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual outgoing, friendly, organized self, you may begin to act cold or distant towards others, question others’ motives, or become anxious about the future.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ESFJs: 

  • Share your feelings with a person you trust
  • Try to take a realistic inventory of what you have going for you
  • Make a “gratitude list” and refer to it daily

ISFJ 

ISFJs comprise almost 14% of the population. Because you place such a high value on being responsible, accurate and helpful, you can become stressed when you feel the need to take on additional responsibilities, experience interpersonal conflict or tension, or don’t feel like you are doing your job well enough.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual reliable, patient, caring, conscientious self, you may find yourself obsessing about details, feeling overwhelmed, or even feeling resentful that you are not more appreciated.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ISFJs: 

  • Take time to “recharge your batteries”
  • Think carefully before taking on added responsibilities
  • Find enjoyable ways to get physical exercise

Experiencers (ESTPs, ISTPs, ESFPs and ISFPs)

ESTP

ESTPs comprise a little more than 4% of the population. Because you feel most alive when you’re active, engaged, and free to enjoy your life, you can become stressed when you’re isolated, micromanaged, or because too many rules restrict your freedom.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual friendly, fun-loving, energetic self, you may become quieter and withdrawn, feel lonely or unappreciated or become rebellious and act out.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ESTPs: 

  • Make sure to get enough interaction with others
  • Engage in as many fun activities as you can
  • Get plenty of physical exercise

ISTP

ISTPs comprise a little more than 5% of the population. Because you really value your independence, being hands-on, and not having anyone looking over your shoulder, you can become stressed when you don’t have enough time alone, must deal with others’ emotions, or don’t get enough physical stimulation.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual calm, unflappable, fairly content self, you may act insensitively or be inappropriately critical, feel lonely and unappreciated, or become rebellious.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ISTPs: 

  • Take the time you need to “recharge your batteries”
  • Engage in favorite fun activities
  • Confide how you’re feeling to a friend

ESFP 

ESFPs comprise a little more than 8% of the population. Because you are a naturally friendly, spontaneous person who enjoys helping people and living in the moment, you can become stressed when you don’t have enough interaction, are micromanaged, or have to follow too many rules.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your normally friendly, energetic, fun-loving self, you may lose interest in the things you usually enjoy doing, become easily annoyed or cranky, or feel unappreciated – or even unloved.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ESFPs: 

  • Engage in fun activities that make you feel alive
  • Spend time with friends
  • Make sure to get enough physical activity

ISFP

ISFPs comprise almost 9% of the population. Because you are a gentle, private person who enjoys making others happy in quiet, thoughtful ways, you can become stressed when you don’t have enough alone time, have to do something you don’t believe is right, or have conflict with others.   

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual gentle, loving self, you may become depressed, anxious about the future or even act bossy.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ISFPs: 

  • Take the time you need to “recharge your batteries”
  • Avoid negative, confrontational people and situations that make you nervous
  • Share your feelings with a trusted friend

Conceptualizers (ENTJs, INTJs, ENTPs and INTPs)

ENTJ

ENTJs comprise less than 2% of the population. Because you place such a high value on being competent and excellent at whatever you do, it is often stressful when circumstances prevent you from being successful, when you are not respected for your accomplishments, or when you have to work with less-than-competent people.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual confident, accomplished, in-charge self, you may have difficulty getting organized, question your own expertise or lash out at others for minor transgressions.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ENTJs: 

  • Recognize there are limits to what – even you – can control
  • Apply your gift for creative problem-solving
  • Approach experiencing stress as you do most challenges – something you can “conquer”  

INTJ

INTJs comprise only about 2% of the population. Because you’re so good at understanding complex problems and developing creative solutions, it can be stressful when you don’t have enough time alone to think things through, or when you’re forced to focus on small details, rather than on the big picture.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual confident, creative, innovative self, you may become fixated on mundane details, become distrustful or fearful, or attempt to micromanage others.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most INTJs: 

  • Get plenty of alone time
  • Recognize there are limits to what you can control
  • Maintain routines that require self-discipline such as exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight

ENTP

ENTPs comprise only about 3% of the population. Because you can often see things that others don’t and come up with innovative solutions, it’s stressful when you can’t exercise your creativity. Not being challenged and lack of interaction can also be huge stressors.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual confident, enthusiastic self, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious. You may have a hard time getting motivated, and even experience depression.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ENTPs: 

  • Try to find a way to interact with other energetic, creative people 
  • Take time to talk about your feelings with a trusted, non-judgmental friend or advisor

INTP 

INTPs comprise only about 3% of the population. Because you place such a high value on your independence, and your ability to understand complex problems and come up with innovative solutions, you find it stressful when forced to compromise your high standards, work on mundane problems, or you don’t have enough time to process your thoughts and ideas.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual logical, objective self, you may act insensitively or impatiently towards others and feel misunderstood or even victimized.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most INTPs: 

  • Make sure you have adequate alone time
  • Recognize how stress affects your emotions
  • Discuss your situation with a competent, highly qualified counselor (even though that’s not something you might normally feel the need to do)

Idealists (ENFJs, INFJs, ENFPs and INFPs)

ENFJ

ENFJs comprise only about 2.5% of the population. Since you cherish harmonious relationships, it can really stress you out when there’s tension between you and someone you care about.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather being your usual positive, helpful and loving self, you can become negative, impatient and easily annoyed. 

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for ENFJs: 

  • Talk with the person you’re having a problem with or with a close friend or counselor 
  • Go for a walk with a friend or two
  • Complete a task to give you a sense of control and accomplishment

INFJ

INFJs comprise only about 1.5% of the population. Because having integrity is so important to you, you can become stressed when a situation arises where you feel you have to compromise your values.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual thoughtful, creative, organized self, you may feel hopeless or depressed, and become unable to see possibilities that you normally see.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most INFJs: 

  • Take the time you need to “recharge your batteries”
  • Find an outlet to use your creative gifts: writing, making music, art
  • Keep a journal or speak with a counselor  

ENFP

ENFPs represent about 8% of the population. Because you are such an outgoing, collaborative, spontaneous, “people” person, isolation can be especially stressful to you.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usually energetic, creative, spontaneous self, you may become anxious or depressed, worry excessively or have trouble getting motivated.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most ENFPs: 

  • Connect with other interesting, creative people
  • Find ways to express your creativity…through music, writing, art
  • Talk with a counselor or friend

INFP 

INFPs comprise only about 4% of the population. Because being true to yourself and faithful to your beliefs is so important to you, it’s very stressful when you’re placed in a situation which conflicts with your values – or where you must do something that just doesn’t feel right.

What does it look like when you’re stressed? Rather than your usual sensitive, empathetic, communicative self, you may become critical, judgmental, anxious, or depressed and feel quite hopeless.

So, how do you get back to who you really are? Here are just a few of the many strategies that work for most INFPs: 

  • Make sure you have plenty of time for yourself
  • Meditate, do yoga or spend time in nature
  • Consider seeing a counselor

Final words 

For brevity’s sake, this blog only presents a snapshot of your “stress profile.” For deeper insights, I invite you to take the survey and view your complete De-Stress Rx which identifies eight stress triggers, eight symptoms and eight customized strategies that can help reduce stress for you, and people like you.

Paul Tieger

Paul D. Tieger is the Founder and CEO of SpeedReading People, LLC. He is an internationally recognized expert on – and author of five breakthrough books about – personality type including The Art of SpeedReading People and the one-million copy best-seller Do What You Are.
A jury consultant for twenty-five years, Paul pioneered the use of Personality Type to help trial attorneys understand and communicate with jurors and has worked on dozens of high profile civil and criminal cases including the first physician-assisted suicide trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Paul holds a BS degree in Psychology and an MS in Organizational Behavior.

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