Updated: Apr 5
Have you ever had one of those days (weeks, or months…) when you feel like it’s one step forward and two steps back? It can be so frustrating and confusing, leaving you wondering, “why isn’t life working for me??” Sometimes just when it feels like progress is being made we suddenly find ourselves back at square one, feeling frustrated and defeated. It is in these moments we have 2 choices, to rise up and meet challenge head on or to through our hands up and say “I give up!” What determines the response? Surprisingly many things, from our personality type to the environment we live in. While you may think that means you are either blessed or doomed, the good news is we have the ability to change and adapt a healthier perspective. Let’s explore!
Factors that influence how we interpret and respond to stress:
Do you have a support system?
Are you able to recognize your available solutions and resources?
Do you tend to feel stuck in the present situation or do you look to the bigger picture?
Do yo know your strengths?
Are you a problem solver?
Do you tend to be a creative or a more black and white thinker?
Are you confident in your abilities and skills?
Do you easily recognize what is within and outside of your control?
Healthy coping mechanisms.
Do you have outside interests, pastimes and hobbies?
Are you regularly utilizing healthy outlets such as exercise, crafting, writing, or mindful practices?
What activities do you enjoy that empower you to relieve stress, regroup, renew, and recharge?
Are you someone who seeks out solutions or do you often feel stuck in a situation or scenario?
How you answer each of these questions can make a BIG difference in how stress impacts your ability to not just survive, but to thrive during times of stress.
Yes, it is natural to feel an initial jolt of, "ugh, why me?" or "why is this happening NOW?" or even, "I can't deal with this!" when faced with stress. We are human after all. It is after your initial response, how you choose to respond and move through the stress, that is what determines the impacts it may have to your health and wellness.
Your Personality Plays a Role
There are six main personality types that researchers have identified:
Each of these personalities have been shown to have their own unique set of traits and qualities that can make them more or less susceptible to the impacts of stress.
Understanding Your Personality
Type A is typically concerned about time, constantly multi-tasking, ultra competitive, speaking quickly, loves control, and can be hyper aggressive.
Type D is associated with depression and high anxiety.
Co-Dependent is often thought of as the addictive personality due to their attention seeking, perfectionist, over achieving, rush to manage a crisis, devoted loyalty, self-sacrificing, manipulative, and over reacting ways.
Helpless-Hopeless tends to be driven by low self-esteem, fear of failure, poor motivation, emotional or cognitive dysfunction that leads to a distorted view of their abilities.
Hardy typically shows high levels of commitment to themselves, their work, and their family, has a great deal of self control, and sees challenges as adventures and opportunities for growth.
Survivor typically displays optimism, creative problem solving, acceptance, faith, and organizational skills.
Are You Nodding Your Head?
You might identify with one or several of the traits, and from more than one personality types. That's common. Whether the traits you most identify with are awesome attributes, or are more challenging qualities, the great part about knowing and understanding them is you have the ability to improve and use your strengths to empower a healthier and happier you while actively working to improve upon weaknesses. It's a balance and awareness is the first step.
Sound complicated? Have you ever trained an animal, taken care of a young child, disciplined a teenager, or had to figure out how to communicate with a spouse or co-worker who may have a very different perspective than you?
If you answered yes, then you are probably already practicing redirecting and reframing behaviors, balancing between personality types already without even realizing it. Typically we all use these skills regularly at work, at home, and in our personal lives. And they can be applied in a way that empowers our ability to thrive under stress too.
How To Use Your Strengths
One step at a time. Once you know the reaction you are more prone to when faced with stress, you can begin to actively take steps to reduce its impacts to your health and wellbeing by improving your outlook and knowing how you want to handle it when it comes your way. And each time you successfully navigate a stressor, you will naturally build confidence in your abilities and feel empowered to effectively problem solve in a way that reduces stress.
That's a BIG win that over time really adds up.
Bottom line: if you are noticing stress has become a constant in your life, are experiencing negative consequences to your health and wellness, then it might be time for a new approach. Many of us are the way we are and mange stress the way we do as a result of our experiences and environment, but that doesn't mean we are not also capable of improving. We all have the opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve in new directions as our world and needs change. We can appreciate new perspectives, discover new approaches, learn new skills and identify strengths. And that my friends, is a pretty incredible gift.
Are you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that make a big impact so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of? Come join me inside my women’s-only Facebook Group - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy women go for tips, tools and support so they can eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!