Do You Have a Stressful Personality
By Mary E. Collins, LCSW-R
We all have some sense of what stress means, but fully understanding everything it suggests can be a helpful psychological tool to help you identify your own strengths and weaknesses. After all, what’s stressful to one person may be all in a day’s work to another. Some research suggests that personality plays an important role in how we perceive stress which makes you wonder: Does it feel as if your life is full of stress and crisis? And how do we determine if it truly is your circumstances or if it has to do with your personality?
But keep in mind: not all stress is bad, and some stress is a natural and necessary part of life. Are you the type of person who has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and/or shutting your brain off? Is there always a lot of “drama” in your life? Do you find that you struggle with having patience, feel down or anxious more times than not? Do people often tell you that you make “mountains out of mole hills?” When something happens, do you automatically internalize it with negative thoughts? If your answer to these questions is primarily “yes” then you might be a person who has a high stress personality.
Some stress is unavoidable, but a person who is considered to have a high stress personality is someone who feels overwhelmed everyday with everything, and can’t seem to escape ongoing crisis. Part of our personality is innate; we are born with it, while the rest of our personality is developed over time based on our environment, opportunities, and the people in our lives. We find that those who grew up in stressful and/or chaotic environments are at higher risk of feeling the need to live in perpetual crisis. It is often a ‘comfort zone’ because it is what is familiar.
Often times, though, our stress can be related to our thought process. If you find yourself reaching for food, overeating, or shutting down during times of stress, please know that there are alternative coping mechanisms to help you find relief. Please know that these patterns can be changed by gaining alternative coping skills. If you think that you are someone with a stressful personality there are strategies to help you manage the stress better and you are not alone.