Stress is a natural and physical reaction to challenging situations and the pressures of daily and working life. The factors that cause stress vary from person to person, and our stress management strategies also differ. Although many of us know that stress causes are different for each person, many are not aware that stress is tied to your DISC personality type. Our DISC personality type can make us aware of what can cause us stress, indicators that we are experiencing stress and how we react to stress.
What is Stress?
Stress is your body's way of responding to any threat or fear. When you sense danger, whether it's real or imagined, your body's defences kick into gear in a rapid, automatic reaction known as the "fight-or-flight" or the "stress" response.
We typically perceive the pressure situations that cause stress as negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful.
Remember, stress isn't always bad. But, in small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best.
What Causes Stress?
Stress is not always negative. Stress in small amounts can be a positive thing, motivating us to overcome challenges and helping us grow and develop. When stress exceeds a person's ability to cope with it, it can impact their mental and physical health. Factors that cause stress in the modern day are often associated with chronic illness, work-related stress, financial worries, and relationships.
Our DISC personality type can also help us understand things that can cause stress. These causes of stress are unique to our personality type and can often happen concerning modern-day stressors.
D Personality Type Causes of Stress
- Inability to achieve goals
- Losing the decision making power
- Losing power and authority
- Not being able to influence what happens
- Losing position
I Personality Type Causes of Stress
- Losing peoples' attention
- Being neglected from events and activities
- Strict rules, inflexibility
- Loss of influence or being side-lined
S Personality Type Causes of Stress
- Sudden changes
- Unstable environment
- Possible future problems
- Unstructured situations
C Personality Type Causes of Stress
- Lack of information
- Lack of clarity about their role and position
- Not being able to control what one is supposed to control
- Having to show weakness in emotions
What Happens to You Under Stress?
When you are under stress or pressure, you are likely to revert to your hard-wired, natural behavioural style. This is because your body and mind use a lot more energy when you modify your behaviour. In times of stress, continuing to adapt your behaviour can be physically and mentally draining. So to avoid this drain in energy, you revert to your natural behavioural style.
How do we React to Stress?
Stress is one of those factors that can force us to revert to our natural behavioural style, therefore depending too much on our strengths.
There is nothing wrong with that, except we lose some of our ability to modify our behaviours. Under pressure or stress, we become too much of ourselves - the 'Too Effect'. For example, if you are a high "D", you may become too aggressive and too competitive. If you are a high "I", you may become too talkative and begin to seek attention from everywhere. If you are an "S", you may become too laid back or seem withdrawn. If you are a "C", you may become too analytical and may seek more information as this makes decisions more comfortable.
As stress and pressure increases, so can the negative aspects of your behaviour. Your strengths become so overused or pronounced, and they become apparent weaknesses. If you are self-aware, you will be conscious of these weaknesses and how they may become evident under stress or pressure. The signs of stress differ per behavioural style. Below are some signs to watch out for if you are experiencing stress.
D Personality Type Signs of Stress
- Pressures people
- Focuses on immediate results and action
- Becomes impatient and does things even if they are wrong
- Changes things hastily
- Becomes irritating, blunt, stubborn, inflexible and demanding
I Personality Type Signs of Stress
- Becomes overly concerned over relationships
- Talks a lot
- Seeks attention from everywhere
- Acting impulsively – heart over mind
- Has strong, emotional opinions that they defend critically and even rebelliously
S Personality Type Signs of Stress
- Becomes overly cautious
- Wants to maintain the present ways of doing things and state of being
- Attacks aggressively to any attempt to change things
- Bases everything on justice and avoiding risks
- Becomes painful to approach and stubborn
C Personality Type Signs of Stress
- Questions everything
- Becomes overly considerate and interested in cause-effect relationships
- Trusts only in logic and facts, and doubts even them
- Withdraws oneself, becomes aloof
- Needing full explanation before acting
Although small amounts of stress can help motivate you, your mind and body pay the price when you're constantly running in stress mode.
Your teammates and family can also be affected by your reactions to pressure situations. As managers, co-workers and friends, we can begin to identify signs of stress in others. Recognising the signs helps us better support and assist them and, therefore, improves the work environment.
Awareness of these significant factors is critical in gaining better control of stressful situations. We often fail to realise that our behaviour makes things worse. Once we start feeling stressed, we tend to let emotions take over. Then we are less likely to think about how we should modify our behaviour to improve the outcomes.
How to Stop Stressing Out
The key to dealing with and controlling stress is self-awareness. Knowing who we are, what factors cause significant stress and pressure, how we react to stress or pressure and how to ease it.
You need to know how you behave under pressure to understand how you can gain control of stress. For example, this morning, I got two young children clothed, dressed ready for school. I have two dogs that needed feeding, and one of them disappears every time I am about to leave as he doesn't want to go in his pen. I have chickens that needed feeding, ponies that needed to be let out of the stables before leaving for work at 7.45 am. On top of this, once I have finally coaxed the dog out from under the house and am ready to go, I had my son tell me that he needs to take a newspaper article today for current events! By the time I got to work, I felt rather wound up and had to walk into an office with a smile on my face.
I needed to step back and realise how I would unconsciously react and how I should react. We can't change an event that has already happened. The only thing we can do is ask ourselves how we choose to respond to our current circumstances and the people around us.
We recommend you revisit the stress section of your Extended DISC report every couple of months to remember the factors that cause significant amounts of stress and how you react to stress/pressure situations. This will help you decide if or what modifications to your behaviour you can make to improve the outcome of stressful situations.
What to do to Stop Stressing Out
There are specific things we can do based on our behavioural style to release some stress and pressure.
D Personality Type Stress Release
- Give opportunity to act independently
- Let contribute
- Give responsibility
I Personality Type Stress Release
- Give the possibility to move, travel, meet people
- Do not force him to lose face
- Move closer to them
- Provide encouragement
S Personality Type Stress Release
- Create a predictable environment
- Involve in planning
- Create a familiar, cosy and safe environment
- Talk and explain a lot
- Show that you care
C Personality Type Stress Release
- Give information
- Avoid public loss of face
- Make the instructions and rules as clear as possible
- Don't push to decisions
- Provide information, feedback, clear instructions and roles
Remember to think about how you could react before you do, especially when you are around the people most important to you! Co-workers, friends and family, people you know who you are most comfortable with are usually the ones who take the brunt of your blowout. They become your outlet.
We are at our worst and best with people we know well.
If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it's time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself and others— and improve how you think and feel — by learning how to release stress.