5 Common Ways People Respond To Stress: Whats Your Stress Response Style?


whats your stress response style

Stress is more complex than fight or flight. Stress is a popular topic these days, but the fact that you can respond to stress in a variety of ways is often less reported. Understanding your stress response style is important.

Because the way you react to everyday stressors has been shown to have long-term implications for your physical and mental health. 

How you deal with an annoying colleague, traffic, long lines in the store, and a later-than-you-wanted pick up of your child at daycare may not matter much to your mental health in the moment, but consistent stress sensitivity and lack of stress resilience have been shown to predict future mental-health outcomes – as much as 10 years after the fact.

Stress is caused by being ‘HERE’. But wanting them to be THERE.
5 Common Ways People Respond To Stress: Whats Your Stress Response Style?

Here are five common ways people respond to stress:**
Find out what is your stress response style.

1. Freeze Response: 

You may become paralyzed, overwhelmed or feel hyper-vigilant in response to stress.

Read How Stressed Are You? Find Out With This Quiz

2. Fight Response: 

You feel a sense of competitiveness, aggression, or self-defense. Your body is readying itself to “fight” within the context of the situation.

3. Flight Response: 

Often reported in connection with “fight,” with this stress response you seek to escape, avoid, or withdraw. 

Read When Does Each Zodiac Sign Gets Stressed Out: Know Your Trigger

4. Challenge Response: 

How you think about stress matters enormously in terms of how you process it. Some people view stress as a threat, while others are able to view it as a challenge. 

With a challenge response, you get additional energy, your heart rate rises, and your adrenaline goes up, but it differs in a few important ways from fight or flight: 

a. you feel focused instead of fearful;

b. you release a different ratio of stress hormones, and

c. you are more easily able to access your mental and physical resources. 

The result is enhanced concentration, peak performance, and more confidence. 

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

In fact, people who are able to think about stress more like a challenge and less like a threat report less depression and anxiety, higher levels of energy, work performance, and life satisfaction. These questions can help you harness a challenge stress response style:

a.     Where do I have control/influence/leverage in the situation?
b.     What is a specific action step I can take?
c.     What are my strengths?
d.     What resources do I have?
e.     What allows me to know that I can handle this?

5. Tend-And-Befriend Response: 

This type of stress response increases courage, motivates caregiving, and strengthens social relationships. It can be tempting to think, “I can handle this all by myself” in a stressful situation, but in reality, your stress response is actually pushing you to seek out help and become more prosocial. 

I’ll never forget the interaction I had with a colleague before our respective speaking engagements a few years ago. She rushed over to me and said, “I’m so nervous.” I said that I was too, and we had an interesting conversation about the various strategies we use to calm our nerves before any big “performance.” 

Read 7 Stress Personality Types: Is Your Personality Stressing You Out?

That little act of vulnerability on her part left us both feeling better and more confident. I’m a big fan of the tend-and-befriend response style because being able to reach out to close friends, colleagues, and family members is central to resilience, flourishing, well-being, happiness, and just about every other positive metric of human functioning.

While the tend-and-befriend stress response style was initially thought to characterize female stress response styles, research has shown that men exhibit this response style as well. 

The Greatest Weapon Against Stress Is Our Ability To Choose One Thought Over another
5 Common Ways People Respond To Stress: Whats Your Stress Response Style?

In one such study, the researchers hypothesized that a group of stressed-out men would be more likely to exhibit a fight-or-flight response to stress, but found the opposite to be true.  

They discovered that the men who had just gone through a stressful experience were more likely to extend trust to a stranger and were more likely to be perceived as trustworthy generally – stress had made this group of men more prosocial.

Try out this reflection exercise: Review the list of stress response styles and circle the one or ones that match your typical response to stress and challenge.

Read 10 Secret Areas Where You Store Stress In Your Body

What role models, life experiences, and relationships have influenced your stress response style? 
What do you like about how you respond to stress? 
What could be improved? Is there a different way of responding to work or life challenges that would be more beneficial or productive for you?

Just knowing that there are a variety of ways to respond to stress was enormously helpful for me in terms of thinking about my own stress response style. Being able to view adversities as challenges (rather than threats) and knowing that your stress response is meant to help you connect with others can really make a difference in how you process stress moving forward.

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.

**Except as otherwise noted, the information in this article comes from Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s book The Upside of Stress and her online course of the same name at Stanford University.

Written by: Paula Davis
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission. 
whats your stress response style pinop
5 Common Ways People Respond To Stress: Whats Your Stress Response Style?
whats your stress response style pin
5 Common Ways People Respond To Stress: Whats Your Stress Response Style?

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Panic Disorder Awareness: How To Recognize The Signs And When To Seek Help?

Panic Disorder Awareness: What To Do When Fear Overwhelms?

Panic disorder awareness is crucial for destigmatizing mental health issues and encouraging those who suffer to seek professional help.

Fear and anxiety are natural responses to certain situations and stressful events. But sometimes, these feelings can become overwhelming and occur without a clear cause or apparent danger. This may then be called a panic attack. When panic attacks become a regular occurrence, it could lead to what’s known as panic disorder.

So, let’s dive into what panic disorder is, how to recognize its signs and symptoms, and explore available panic disorder treatment options. By spreading panic disorder awareness, we can better support those affected and promote mental well-being.

Up Next

5 Mental Health Lessons From Inside Out 2: Helping Kids Understand Difficult Emotions

Powerful Lessons from Inside Out

Disney’s Pixar has captivated audiences once again with mental health lessons from Inside Out 2, a film that not only entertains but also provides insights into our emotional lives. 

While Riley experiences puberty, new emotions in Inside Out 2 join our old friends Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui create different difficulties for Riley and the viewers.

Why ‘New’ Emotions Emerge in the Teen Years?

According to research one of the more difficult emotional changes in adolescence is feeling your feelings very intensely. 

During puberty, changes in your body may lead to irritability, mood swings, and self

Up Next

10 Best Self Love Songs: Your Ultimate Playlist for Boosting Happiness

Best Self Love Songs to Boost Happiness

Feeling down? Need a boost of positivity? There’s nothing like listening to the best self love songs to lift your spirits and remind you of your worth. If you’re a music lover looking to affirm your love for yourself, this playlist of self-love songs is just what you need.

They say self-love is hard to achieve. But as a music lover, I’ve found comfort and inspiration in the melodies. These two traits have guided me toward personal growth and mental peace which are the basics of self-love.

Therefore, I want to share some unique self-love songs for people who are still struggling to love themselves. These songs will definitely refresh your mood and give you a boost of positivity.

10 Best Self Love Songs: Celebrate t

Up Next

15 Ways To Keep Your Child From Developing An Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders: Ways To Protect Your Child From This

Many of us, including our kids, struggle with unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. This worrying trend leads to children developing an eating disorder, leading experts to believe that our current generation may be less healthy than their parents. Let’s find out more about children and eating disorders.

In this culture, unfortunately, many of us eat diets that aren’t very healthy, and we don’t get enough exercise. That’s true for our kids, too. In fact, experts suggest that this is the first generation that’s less healthy than their parents.

Even worse, when you mix our cultural obsession with thinness with emotional immaturity and how disconnected we often are from our own bodies, it’s a perfect storm for eating disorders.

Guess how many kids growing up in the US today develop some kin

Up Next

Healing From Within: 10 Tips To Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes

How To Forgive Yourself: Methods To Release Past Guilt

Are you struggling to move past your old slip-ups? This article is going to explore some strategies that will help you forgive yourself and start healing from within. It’s time to cut yourself some slack, practice self forgiveness and embrace a brighter future.

Did you know that feelings of guilt can be strongly related to depression? Whether you feel guilt over past mistakes due to depression or your guilt is making you feel depressed, you deserve to set yourself free.

Without forgiveness, it’s impossible to move on from a mistake. Keep reading to learn how you can forgive yourself and do better in the future without berating

Up Next

7 Steps To Heal Toxic Shame: Reclaiming Your Self-Worth

Steps To Heal Toxic Shame: Reclaiming Your Self-Worth

Toxic shame steals our souls. It robs us of our joy, spontaneity, and our light. In today’s Best Day Blog, I will show you how to calm the chaos within and convert that darkness into light! In this article, I will share seven steps to heal toxic shame with you.

The Difference Between Shame and Guilt

Before we get started, I want to go over the difference between guilt and shame because many people confuse the two.

Guilt is primarily external when we feel that a choice or behavior isn’t working or isn’t reflective of our best self. Shame is internal and is making a mistake and believing that we are,

Up Next

The Fantasy Addict: 3 Signs To Watch For and How To Recover

The Fantasy Addict: Signs To Watch For and How To Recover

Are you or someone you know a fantasy addict? Escaping into imaginary worlds can be fun, but sometimes it can go too far. This article is going to talk about the signs of a fantasy addict, how to recover from fantasy addiction and get back to reality.

Day Dream Believer

Having an active imagination doesn’t make a fantasy addict. Fantasizing and day dreaming is not in itself a bad thing. Letting our mind wander and explore something we might enjoy is normal and healthy.

Depending on our intent, we can fantasize over preferred futures and scenarios and it can help us work out what we want in life. It can energize and inspire us as we explore options.

However, it can also