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

How Myers Briggs Type Reacts to Stress and How to Help


What stresses out an ISFP:

– Rigid structure and rules
– Having to violate their deeply held values
– Not enough alone time. Too much extraverting.
– Too many demands or obligations.
– Having to deal with excessive data
– Long-term planning
– Criticism
– Lack of appreciation from others
– Feeling that they are about to lose something (relationship/task, etc,..)

When under stress, ISFPs can often become passive aggressive, restless, and defiant. If stress continues to build, ISFPs may become self-destructive and careless of their own well-being in an effort to restore excitement or affirmation in their life. If an ISFP is in a state of chronic stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted thinking, and become “the criticizer”. They may be harsh and critical of others, obsessing over their mistakes, and others incompetence. They may have an intense urge to fix perceived problems or right wrongs, but this can often worsen the situation.

How to help an ISFP experiencing stress:

– Give them some time alone to process their feelings and thoughts
– Validate their feelings, and listen to them. Female ISFPs are often ready to talk sooner about their feelings than male ISFPs
– Remind them of their strengths.
– Don’t give them advice. It won’t help when they’re stressed.
– Don’t try to reason with them or be logical. Just be patient, calm, and affirming.
– Only after they’ve calmed down from the stress ask if they’d like any help with solutions.


What stresses out an ESFP:

– An environment of rigidly enforced rules
– Long-term planning
– Having to think far into the future
– Being forced to make commitments and plans
– Criticism or confrontation
– Feeling out of control
– Being asked to complete tasks without detailed directions or processes
– Lack of hands-on experiences
– Too much time alone
– Too much book work, theory, or writing
– Having to sit still for too long

When ESFPs experience stress, they may become passively resistant initially. They might become bored and feel empty and listless. They may try to retaliate against the people who are causing them stress by annoying them or trying to irritate them. When overwhelmed with stress, they may become self-destructive, regressing emotionally, and acting in an immature fashion. In the case of chronic stress, ESFPs may fall into the grip of their inferior function; introverted intuition. When this happens, the ESFP can become highly exaggerative, dramatically foretelling the doom that the future will hold. They may see hidden meanings and visions of despair for the future, and struggle with misinterpreting things people say. This is highly uncharacteristic for an ESFP since they are usually very optimistic and friendly people who want to maintain harmony.

How to help an ESFP experiencing stress:

– Listen thoughtfully and patiently
– Give them space initially to sort out their feelings, but be ready to talk to them as ESFPs are often helped by talking things through.
– Understand that they will be irrational. Be patient with this.
– Don’t tell them how to fix it. This makes them feel more helpless.
– Encourage them to exercise or spend some time outdoors.

– Tell them what they are doing well.

The Dreamers (NF Types)


What stresses out an INFP:

– Rigidity in rules and timelines
– Having values violated
– Not enough time alone. Too much extraverting.
– Too many demands on their time
– Small-talk
– A lack of authenticity from others
– Having their creativity stifled
– Having to focus too extensively on sensory/concrete details
– Criticism or confrontation
– Fear that they might lose someone or something (relationship/task, etc,..)

When under stress, an INFP gets lost in internal turmoil. They feel caught between pleasing others and maintaining their own integrity and taking care of their well-being. Their natural tendency to identify with others, compounded with their self-sacrificial tendencies,  leaves them confused about who they really are. They feel lost and perplexed during stressful times; and as stress builds they can fall into the grip of their inferior function, extraverted thinking. When this happens, they will do things that are typically out of character. They may become obsessed with fixing perceived problems, and righting wrongs. They may blurt out hostile thoughts or engage in destructive fantasies directed at just about anyone available. They also may have biting sarcasm and cynicism. They may become aggressively critical to others and themselves, dwelling on all the “facts” necessary to support their overwhelming sense of failure.

How to help an INFP experiencing stress:

– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings.
– Validate their feelings.
– Remind them of their strengths.
– Don’t give them advice. This will only make them feel worse.
– Let them “get away” from it all.
– Exercise can help. However, with these types it’s best not to suggest it when they are stressed, but after, as a solution.
– Forgive them if they’ve been overly critical while stressed.
– Let them work on a project they’ve been interested in, but maybe have been too busy to spend time on.

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Tony Huynh

Vylet Doan

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