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

How Myers Briggs Type Reacts to Stress and How to Help

How to help an ISFJ experiencing stress:

– Give them space or time alone to work through their feelings.
– Provide provable affirmations about ways they’ve overcome situations like this in the past.
– Help them break down problems into manageable pieces
– Don’t give generalized compliments. Make compliments specific.
– Put a problem or task in sequential order.
– Don’t brainstorm. When they are in the grip of extraverted intuition, this will only make things worse.
– Let them engage their auxiliary extraverted feeling by reading materials that are personally moving, or spiritual.
– Encourage them to get some physical exercise (without making it sound like an insult).
– Let them talk about their irrational fears or feelings, and give them quiet, calm reassurance.
– Take them seriously. Don’t patronize or judge them.


ESFJ – THE CAREGIVER

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

What stresses out an ESFJ:

– Unstructured environments
– Having to do things that involve abstract, theoretical concepts
– Environments that have tension or conflict
– Unexpected change
– Inadequate time to complete work to their standards
– Tense, or confrontational relationships or situations
– Situations that don’t meld with their values
– Lack of trust in someone or something they’re involved with
– Criticism
– Feeling unappreciated

When faced with stress, ESFJ’s can become very critical and overly sensitive, often imagining bad intentions where there weren’t any. Being prone to insecurity, they can focus all their attention on pleasing those who give them security. This may lead them to become staunchly attached to a toxic relationship, structure, or belief system that provides them with some sort of affirmation or security. They can become quite dramatic when under stress, finding fault with almost everyone and everything. They can experience low energy, a feeling of depression and pessimism. They become uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn. If they are under chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function; introverted thinking. This can cause them to take on the form of “the condemner”, focusing on everyone’s flaws and all the ways they have been hurt by them and how those flaws go against their belief system and how things “should be”.

How to help an ESFJ experiencing stress:

– Give them a change of scenery. Let them spend some time outdoors.
– Encourage them to exercise (without making it a dig at their weight or health).
– Watch a comedy with them, or engage them with some humor or lighthearted entertainment.
– Acknowledge how they feel.
– Let them talk it out.
– Remind them of their strengths and contributions.
– Don’t use logic to talk them out of stress.
– Don’t ignore them.
– Give them feedback. Talk about a similar situation you went through.
– Get them away from the environment or situation that is stressing them out.
– Give them an enjoyable book to read, or a lighthearted movie to watch.

The Adventurers

ESTP – THE PROMOTER

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

What stresses out an ESTP:

– Rigidly enforced rules
– Having to plan far into the future
– Feeling out of control
– Being asked to complete tasks without detailed directions or processes
– Large amounts of book work, theory, or writing
– Being forced to make commitments or plans before they’re ready
– Being forced to make decisions or eliminate options before they’re ready
– Having to spend a lot of time following someone else’s rules or schedule
– Being in a situation where they have to use a lot of theoretical or intuitive concepts
– Being around people who are excessively serious

When faced with stress, ESTPs tend to feel empty or hollow inside. Their first impulse may be to seek revenge for whatever has caused them stress. They may do this by mocking other people’s values or becoming increasingly anti-social and disdainful of others. If they are in a state of chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, introverted intuition, and become a “dramatizer”. When this happens, they may do things that are completely out of character for them. They may lose their naturally easy-going, agreeable character and begin to have fearful fantasies of the future, ideas of impending doom swirling in their minds. They may begin to assign big meaning to small occurrences and become preoccupied with the meaning of life and the future of mankind and the universe in a way that is usually filled with gloom and disillusionment.

How to help an ESTP that is experiencing stress:

– Give them space initially or directly after the event.
– Listen to them. Understand that they will likely be irrational.
– Don’t tell them how to fix it. This will only make them feel more helpless.
– Give gentle affirmations or encouragement
– Help them sort out their priorities, paying careful attention to their feelings.


ISTP – THE MECHANIC

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

What stresses out an ISTP:

– Tight restrictions and a rigid structure.
– Being in controlling relationships.
– Dealing with irrational people.
– Having to use theoretical or intuitive concepts for a prolonged period.
– Being in an emotionally charged environment.
– Lack of alone time. Too much extraverting.
– Being in a non-challenging work environment.
– Doing repetitive, mundane tasks.
– Not having their personal values respected or validated.

When ISTPs experience an overload of stress, they may try to respond by lashing out against whatever is causing it. They may violate rules and regulations that they feel are controlling them; they may feel a need to “get even”. They may become emotionally obsessed with logic and proving a point while losing track of organization and losing objects or misplacing them. In cases of chronic stress, ISTPs may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted feeling, and become very emotive. They will become hypersensitive about their relationships with others and misinterpret small, insignificant details into the belief that others dislike or hate them. They may become uncharacteristically emotional and/or bitter towards others.

How to help an ISTP experiencing stress:

– Give them alone time and space.
– Excuse them from some of their responsibilities.
– Let them “get away” from everything.
– Don’t ask how they feel.
– Encourage them to exercise.
– Let them read a mystery novel or do something that engages light problem solving.
– Forgive their out-of-character behavior.

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Susan Storm

Susan Storm is an MBTI, Certified Practitioner, freelance writer, and psychology enthusiast. She has been avidly studying psychology for over ten years and loves to engage with a variety of people and personalities to understand them better. Her major areas of interest are personality psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology.View Author posts