November 2, 2019
When we Stress Less – when we become more aware of our everyday stress, when we learn how to Respond rather than React, when we learn the Relaxation Response activated by taking deep diaphragmatic breaths – we change the way we see our world.
“If you change the way you see things, the things you see will change.”
-- Wayne Dyer
Stress Less – I did, and it changed my outlook on Life. I know you can do it too!
The physiology of Stress – the well-known Fight or Flight Response as well as the equally famous, Relaxation Response – is exactly the same for all of us. However, what stresses you out may be, and very likely is, quite different from what stresses me, your partner, your associate, your child, etc. Typological Stress varies according to our Personality Type, which is why we say stress comes from within – our innate hard-wired preferences are different, just like being right-handed or left-handed. The good news is that we can learn to be more aware of our stress reactions. And, we can learn to respond from our Best self.
Learning our unique 4-Letter Personality Type is simply about becoming more aware of ourselves and others, learning and adapting to become even more effective. Personality Type is a tool. Some people like to criticize the framework for putting people in a “box.” I call Foul – because I believe anyone can be whoever, or do whatever, they set their sights on. We can all stretch and grow. Personality Type is a valuable tool to have in your tool box, in my opinion.
Over the past 5 years as a Certified Stress Reduction Specialist, I have joyfully observed the changes every day when people learn how to be more aware of stress, both in themselves and others. Is it easy? My answer is a resounding, YES! Is it hard, my answer is an equally emphatic, YES!
A paradox? Yes & No… Lol. The breathing technique is simple to learn, the effects are immediate, and it is Free. The challenge is consistency. The challenge comes in making deep diaphragmatic breathing a habit. That is why I coined the phrase: 7X – 7X - 7 Formula, which means taking 7 deep diaphragmatic breaths, 7 times a day (pick your own routine times of day), 7 days of the week. We are training our mind-body to experience the Relaxation Response. Then, when we experience stress and are triggered to React– we have trained our mind-body to trigger the automatic Relaxation Response with a few deep breaths.
Many of our readers have been through our From Stressed to Best™ Program or know their MBTI® profile from programs offered in their company. I invite you to read on and use this as a refresher to become even more aware of stress behaviors in yourself, family, friends and colleagues. If you have not yet learned your 4-Letter Personality Type, I invite you to read on and see the instructions below to contact me for a free consultation.
At the risk of over-simplification, there are 4 distinct types of stress behaviors. (Admittedly, I am leaving out important nuances which we cover in our 2-hour one-on-one consultations.) In the last newsletter we covered the 40% of the population that tend to stress out by worrying about the future. This week we provide an overview of the other 60% -- the 3 additional stress modalities.
Another key point is that under stress, people actually behave the opposite of their typical preference. For example, Es who tend to get their energy from people, tend to become introverted or withdraw when they are stressed. Is who tend to get their energy from within, tend to become extroverted or lash out when they are stressed.
Finally, recall what the 4 Letters mean:
It always bears repeating that there are common misinterpretations around Ts, which means people who prefer to make decisions logically and objectively, and Fs which means people who prefer to make decisions more around values and relationships. In additional, Js are not “judgmental” – they are people who prefer lists and are planful. There is NO right or wrong, good or bad, implied by these preferences – we are simply different.
The 4 modalities of stress behavior for the 16 Personality Types are:
We discussed these 4-Letter Personality Types in our last newsletter, and they represent approximately 40% of the population. They all share in common, the S Preference – their strength is in the details. They tend to have large filing cabinets in their head. Their Stress Mode is worrying about the future, becoming overwhelmed by the possibilities of what might go wrong and catastrophizing.
These 4-Letter Personality Types represent approximately 10% of the population. They all share in common, the N Preference – their strength is in the seeing the big picture and interconnections. Their Stress Mode is becoming stuck in the details, losing the forest for the trees, focusing on what is not working and rehashing details of the past.
I am an INFJ, the Persistent Counselor. I routinely get stressed over finding typos in this newsletter, even after 5 rounds of proof-reading. Leading up to my 3-day Total Immersion Retreat, opening up my Lake House to a small group of women looking to learn the Certified High Performance™ Framework, I totally stressed on the details – the inserts for the workbooks, the meal planning, the temperature in the house, whether to make a fire in the family room, etc. So, I called myself out on my behavior. I did my breathing, took a break and regrouped to regain the big picture. Stressing Less is, more often than not, an every day practice. And that is exactly why, consistency is so important – practicing the 7X – 7X -7 Formula and committing to the 4 Point Action Plan, which we will review in a moment.
These 4-Letter Personality Types represent approximately 25% of the population.They all share in common, the F preference – their strength is relationship skills and finding harmony. Their Stress Mode is becoming self-critical, consumed with self-doubt, and being negative instead of positive about relationships.
These 4-Letter Personality Types represent approximately 25% of the population.They all share in common, the T Preference – their strength is in the ability to see the pros and cons and the logic. Their Stress Mode is becoming hypersensitive to criticism, feeling hurt or beating themselves up for shortcomings or failure, and becoming overwhelmed with emotions.
For the sake of simplicity, I have glossed over the nuances of the interaction and interrelationships of the modes of data-gathering and decision making. I have also – intentionally – not explicitly identified the Best Mode for each of the 16 Personality Types– the strongest muscle, the place where we are most effective and productive. Many of our readers know their Best Mode... pop Quiz! If you don’t know your Best Mode – see the instructions below to contact me for a free consultation.
So, HOW do we change the way we see things? HOW do we shift from being stuck and stressed….to living from our best Self?
In our program From Stressed to Best™, we have a Four Step Action Plan for each of the 16 different 4-Letter Personality Types.
Step # 1 is being consciously aware of our Stress Mode – our behavior when we are stressed.
Step # 2 is recognizing we have a choice – we can choose to stop or pause our reaction because we have learned that stress is not “out there”, in the situation or the other person – the true source of our stress is inside us.
Step # 3 is taking 3-7 deep diaphragmatic breaths which activates the Relaxation Response. This is the key reason why I recommend the 7x – 7x -7 Formula – 7 deep diaphragmatic breaths, 7 times a day, at regular times, 7 days a week.
Step # 4 is to go to our Best Mode, the behavior where we are most effective, constructive and productive.
Now we are in control!
I highly recommend the From Stressed to Best 10-page Stress Reduction Guide for Your 4-Letter Personality Type which goes into more detail on all of these points and more.
[Sources: From Stressed to Best: A Proven Program for Reducing Everyday Stress, From Stressed to Best: Detailed Summaries of All 16 Personality Types, A Guide to Understanding the Eight Stress Modes, and the Stress Reduction Guide for Your Personality Type, all by Ruth E. Schneider and David S. Prudhomme. ]
If you have been through our From Stressed to Best ™ Program or know your MBTI®, great! If not, you can access a free Self Assessment to discover your 4-Letter Personality Type by going to this page on my website: Manage Your Stress. Then contact me and schedule a free 15-minute consultation. [A word of caution: please consider using a trained professional that is a fit for you. In my experience, people doing this on their own, too often reach the wrong conclusions. I share this from personal experience because I got my 4-Letter Personality Type wrong on 3 different occasions, because I answered the questions from the perspective of who I wanted to be, rather than who I actually am. Easy to do.]
I sincerely trust you will practice – daily – the 7X – 7X – 7 Formula. I truly hope you commit to being more aware of your Stress Mode and your Best Mode.
We CAN Stress Less. We will be healthier and change the way we see the world!
Till next time,
May you be happy now and always, Alison
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