How Each Myers-Briggs® Type Reacts to Stress (and How to Help!)

How Myers Briggs Type Reacts to Stress and How to Help

Have you ever become so stressed out that you feel out of control? Do you feel like you’re acting in a way that is completely unlike you? Have you ever tried to help a loved one who is stressed out, and everything you’ve said or done has only made things worse? Here’s how each Myers-Briggs® type reacts to stress.

I know I have. Everyone reacts to stress differently and needs different things to calm them down. What works for you may not work for your spouse, your child, or your friends. This blog will hopefully give you some practical, easy ways to help you and the ones you care about handle stress more effectively and quickly.

Related: How Knowing Your Myers-briggs Personality Type Can Help You Feel Less Stressed in Life

This post is incredibly long, so by all means just scroll down to the type that you want to find out about! I’d like to go into more detail about how each Myers-Briggs® type handles stress in the future, but for now, this is a great way to get an overview and pinpoint some solutions to reducing your stress and helping out others in your life.

The Defenders (SJ Types)


What stresses out an ESTJ:

– Being in an environment that is in disarray
– Frequent disruptions
– Irrational behavior
– Being surrounded by (or guilty of) incompetence
– Unexpected changes
– Lack of control
– Laziness in others
– Not having their strongly held values validated
– Guilt over being critical towards others
– Dealing too long with abstract or theoretical concepts
– Being in a highly-charged emotional environment for too long

When overwhelmed by stress, ESTJ’s often feel isolated from others. They feel as if they are misunderstood and undervalued, and that their efforts are taken for granted. When under stress, they have a hard time putting their feelings into words and communicating them to others. If they are under frequent, chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function; introverted feeling. When this happens, they can develop a “martyr complex”. The ESTJ will be uncharacteristically emotional, withdraw from others, become hypersensitive about their relationships, and misinterpret tiny, insignificant details into personal attacks. Physically, they may feel tension headaches, and neck or shoulder aches from tension in their body.

How to help an ESTJ experiencing stress:

– Give them some time to be left alone during and immediately after an incident.
– Avoid directly attacking the problem right away.
– Help them break down larger projects into smaller pieces.
– Listen to them. Let them talk it out.
– After some time of listening, discuss information or ideas that could lead to solutions.
– Validate their feelings.
– Don’t be overly-sympathetic.
– Don’t respond emotionally.


What Stresses out an ISTJ:

– Being in an environment that is in disarray
– Looming deadlines
– Being forced or asked to do things that don’t make sense to them
– Being asked to do something without a plan or direction
– Frequent change
– Having to innovate without any past experience to rely on
– Being asked to do something spontaneously
– Too much extraversion (excess people contact)
– Emotionally charged situations
– Unfamiliar surroundings
– Dealing too long with abstract or theoretical concepts.

When faced with stress overload, ISTJs may fall into “catastrophe mode”, where they see nothing but all the potential of what could go wrong. They may beat themselves up; berating themselves for things which could have been done differently, or duties which they failed to perform. They will lose their ability to see things calmly and reasonably, and can become depressed at what they see as a bleak future. Under chronic stress, the ISTJ may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extroverted intuition, and become a “dramatizer”. They may become intensely angry, rigid in what they’re doing, outwardly critical, pessimistic, and embrace an overwhelming fear of the future.

How to help an ISTJ experiencing stress:

– Give them plenty of space.
– Listen, and provide provable affirmation of how they’ve overcome or done something well in the past.
– Break a task down into manageable pieces.
– Do not give generalized compliments.
– Put things that have to be done in sequential order.
– Don’t brainstorm. If they are in the grip of their inferior function, extroverted intuition, brainstorming will only make things worse.
– Don’t give them more to do. Give them a break from responsibilities if possible.
– Take them seriously. Don’t patronize or judge them.
– Encourage them to exercise (without sounding insulting).


What stresses out an ISFJ:

– Overexerting themselves by saying “yes” to too many projects.
– Conflict or criticism
– Lack of positive feedback
– Environments filled with tension
– Looming deadlines
– Being asked to do things in a way that isn’t clearly defined
– Having to overuse their type by having to constantly act as “the responsible one”
– Dealing too long with abstract or theoretical concepts.
– Unfamiliar territory or an uncertain future

When faced with stress, ISFJs become discouraged and depressed. They start to imagine all the things that could go wrong, and they may feel a strong sense of inadequacy. They may feel that everything is all wrong, or that they can’t do anything right. If they are in a state of chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted intuition. When this happens they may start acting completely out of character. They may be at odds with normally relied upon facts and details, they may see everything as awful and feel “doomed”. They may become withdrawn, angry, irritable, and pessimistic. They will probably feel emotionally overwhelmed and find themselves worrying about all kinds of horrible possibilities.

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Tony Huynh

Vylet Doan

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