Managing Stress (By Stress Personality Type)

Did you know your stress personality type can affect how stress impacts you and how you should manage it? A study from 2007 helped show how certain personality traits affect stress, how you react to it, and the methods that could help you get a handle on your anxiety levels.

There are plenty of personality tests and quizzes out there, and while they can be fun to take and compare notes with your friends, it’s unlikely you fit into any one box. You’re unique after all! But we decided to use the ‘inner selves’ that were talked about in 7 Stress Personalities: A Look At Your Selves by Mary Demcy and Rene Tihista as a basis for this article with some additional advice from our own experiences.

Student leaning in a hammock.

If you don’t fit neatly into any of these – that’s okay! For example, I definitely see traits of myself under “Striver,” “Worrier,” “Critical Judge,” and “Pleaser.” You can pick and choose from the ones closest to you to help identify how stress affects you, how you can work to manage it going forward, and reduce stress in college.

1. Timekeeper

Timekeepers tend to want to be in charge. This, in turn, causes them to take on more responsibility, biting off more than they can chew, without a second thought. Many of the jobs they volunteer for may also be out of the individual’s purview, meaning they have to work twice as hard to complete it by the deadline as not only do they have to complete the project, but they have to now learn about a new topic.

Individuals who fall under this personality type may be pushed onward by the ‘need to be needed’ and seen as competent by others. If you’re regularly volunteering yourself for jobs, extra work, or additional assignments before considering your current workload or whether or not you’re the right person for the job, you could be a Timekeeper.

To handle stress, you should try to give yourself time before diving into a new assignment or job. Don’t immediately volunteer – think for a minute or two. If you review your current schedule or workload and find you can’t take it on, be honest with yourself and the teacher or boss and say you can’t.

2. Striver

Do you want to be the very best? Do you consider yourself competitive? Driven? Determined? Do you regularly feel like you’re at the end of your rope, rarely ask for help, yet you continue to push yourself?

If this sounds like you, you could be a Striver. As a result of this mentality, they tend to quickly head for burnout. Like Timekeepers, they’ll take on more and more jobs to impress others and meet their own standards until they’re overwhelmed.

Strivers should handle burnout by recognizing they cannot solve or do everything. Taking time before you accept new work is advisable. It’s also important to know that just because you didn’t finish as the “best,” it doesn’t make you any less. Ask for help when you need it, keep jealousy of others’ success at bay, and don’t try to do everything under the sun at once.

3. Pleaser

It’s normal to want people around you to be happy, but if you want individuals to always be happy and are sacrificing your own happiness for theirs, you could be a Pleaser.

This approach to life can lead to burnout when it comes to your relationships, in the classroom, in the workplace, and elsewhere. Over time, having always sacrificed your needs and wants for others, you may feel taken advantage of, underappreciated, and resentful. Like Timekeepers and Strivers, you could also tend to take on more work in an effort to keep others happy.

Learning to say “No” is one of the best ways you can deal with stress as a Pleaser. You don’t always have to (and shouldn’t) put yourself first, but try to become more in tune with your own interests and wants, and know when to say “No” in these instances. When it comes to work and school, you should also try to creating a schedule to help you manage your time.

4. Worrier

Worry is apart of our lives – you may be worried about your pet’s health or could be anxious about a recent test. But it’s when an individual focuses heavily on those worries, the future, and unpredictability that this becomes a problem. Even if most of their imagined scenarios don’t come true (and are unlikely to become true from the very beginning), the cycle usually continues when the next stressful event comes to light.

The Worrier constantly has to deal with the stress of unpredictability. People who fall under this category will often create plans to deal with every contingency and ruminate over every single possibility and outcome. This usually results in even more stress, procrastination, and insomnia.

As a Worrier, there are two different questions you should ask. First: “What, in the end, is the worst that can happen?” You might find the answer is actually less life shattering than you believed. This can be particularly helpful in situations where you can’t control the outcome. Next, you’ll want to think about: “What can I do right this minute to alleviate my stress and help avoid that outcome?” and do it!

5. Sabertooth

When stress hits you, is your first response to get extremely frustrated or even angry? Sabertooths tend to have a very negative reaction to stress and anxiety, and it can even affect others around them.

This reaction to stress can lead to a toxic environment, make it difficult to problem solve, and cause additional anxieties for others, especially if they have to tiptoe around the individual’s anger. It can result in lost friendships and even lost opportunities if not handled properly.

If you sound like a Sabertooth, you will definitely want to take time to pause when you come face to face with a stressful situation. Breathing exercises could be immensely helpful here. Don’t make snap decisions. Walk away, walk around, breathe, and come back with your mind cleared and your anger and frustration (hopefully) abated.

6. Inner Con Artist

‘Inner Con Artist’ can be a bit difficult to identify for yourself. They tend to procrastinate and steer clear of conflict, which can be obvious, but they are not hardworking and often do not understand the work required to be successful. This self-reflection can be tough at times.

But if you struggle to communicate with others in your class, at work, or with teachers and professors, procrastinate, and avoid asking for help until you realize you’re in trouble, this could be you. These approaches all lead to stress.

Creating a schedule could help you tackle the procrastination aspect of this personality type and help you handle your workload before it gets out of control (maybe a great planner can help with this?). It’s important to focus on motivation and find a system that works to motivate you. A system that works for another may not work for you, so experiment!

7. Critical Judge

 We all have standards, but if someone puts the bar a bit too high, they could be setting themselves up for failure. And when those out-of-reach standards aren’t met, Critical Judges are likely to become very upset and angry with themselves. They’ll make a promise to themselves that they will do better next time, instead of reevaluating the situation and creating more realistic standards.

This outlook on life can lead to serious stress problems and loathing of oneself. You might find your confidence slipping away and fall into an Imposter syndrome mentality (where you believe you are not as capable as you truly are). You’ll ignore successes, achievements, and your abilities in favor of focusing on what you didn’t complete or do well in.

Self reflection is a must if you want to cut down on the stress for this personality type. It’s essential that you create realistic standards for yourself. If you’re struggling to do this, try creating a “lower bar” for yourself. Work towards achieving this first and then consider raising the bar after some reflection. This can help you feel motivated while also cutting down on your stress.

What’s Your Stress Personality Type?

So what personality types fit you? As we stated before, mixing and matching is absolutely okay! Above all, it’s important to find the management styles that help you handle your stress better. However, if you feel like your anxiety or stress levels are crippling, you can’t stick with management methods, or everything you try isn’t working, you may want to consider talking to a guidance counselor or therapist. Many colleges have on-site therapists for their students that can seriously help you manage your stress and any other worries you may have.

As you finish up high school, what is stressing you? Finding the right college for you? The SAT or ACT? Wondering how you’ll afford college? College Raptor offers a number of tools to help you make this time in your life less stressful, allowing you to focus more on your achievements of graduating high school and getting into your college! Check out our College Match tool to get started on this journey.