Everyone responds to stress a little bit differently. What trips your wire may not bother your co-worker, and what pushes your partner over the edge may not ruffle you one bit. “Each of us has an habitual style of thinking and behavior when we’re under stress,” says meQuilibrium’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Andrew Shatté. We’ve found there are five distinct stress personalities. You’ll discover your personality type when you take the meQ stress assessment. (Need a refresher? Check here!)
There’s no “good” or “bad” type. Knowing yours gives you valuable insight into yourself—and those around you. As Dr. Shatté says, “The key is to shore up the vulnerabilities of your particular style while continuing to soar with its strengths.”
If you are cool in a crisis: You’re a Regulator
You’re so cool, in fact, you make Elsa from Frozen look like the Heatmiser. As a master of emotional control, you’re able to keep a clear head and focus on the task at hand. You bring much-needed objectivity to crisis management.
What to watch for: You run the risk of coming across as cold and unfeeling. If you reel your emotions in too tightly, you could be cutting yourself off from the empathy necessary to find a real solution.
How to hack it: “Emotion control is one of the key ingredients for greater resilience and less stress,” says Shatté. “Just remember that emotions, even the uncomfortable ones like sadness and anger, aren’t bad. They’re human. It’s important to empathize with those of us who don’t have the same emotion control abilities as you.” This takes practice! Make a point to listen to others, put yourself in their position, and respond in kind.
Think: Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, Carol from The Walking Dead, Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy.
If you are an innovative leader: You’re an Adventurer.
When stress has others backed into a corner, you can see the solution just outside the box—and you have the courage to make the leap.
What to watch for: Your confidence and spontaneity make you more likely than most to take uncalculated risks. Watch that throwing caution to the wind doesn’t get you swept away.
How to hack it: Mindfulness promotes better decision making. Before making a big decision, mindfully assess the leaps you’re considering and how they affect not just you, but the people around you.
Think: Daenerys Targaryean from Game of Thrones, Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, Rick from The Walking Dead
If you are the one people to turn to: You’re a Caregiver.
You a nurturer with a strong sense of empathy, intuition, and almost a sixth sense to pick up on the emotional climate of the room. You have a knack for bringing people together and know how to create safe spaces for others.
What to watch for: You have a tendency to overload yourself—which leads to burnout. Your empathy and openness is a strength, but can lead to weakened boundaries and an inability to make tough, necessary calls for the greater good.
How to hack it: You can only be a sustainable resource if you, well, put measures in to sustain yourself. Set some rules for yourself about when you’re available to others: make evenings off-limits, schedule some time for yourself on your calendar, or simply take a deep breath before responding to a request. Putting yourself first sometimes isn’t selfish—it’s self-care.
Think: Pam Beasley from The Office, Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, Olivia Benson from Law & Order: SVU
If you are the sunniest person in the room: You’re an Optimist.
You don’t just look on the bright side; you are the bright side. Your positive nature gives you the tenacity to push through in tough situations. It’s no surprise that you’ve got a strong support network, since people are drawn to your positivity.
What to watch for: If you’re overly focused on the positive aspects of a situation, you may miss critical cues that something is amiss—and then reality hits you like a wrecking ball. A fixation on the positive may also cause you to repress some problems that need solving.
How to hack it: Sometimes we need to remove the rose-colored glasses and view a situation with a critical eye. Next time you find yourself brushing off the possibility of negative results or consequences, take a moment to check if you have blinders on and ask yourself how you would handle the situation if the something were to go awry.
Think: Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation, Phil Dunphy from Modern Family, Charlotte York from Sex and the City
If you are obsessed with solving the puzzle: You’re a Problem Solver.
You’ve got the focus, intellect, and drive to get to the root of a problem, so that’s where you tend to spend your time and energy. When others become panicked or unfocused, you have the ability to steer everyone to safety. You are great at time management and know how to break problems down into actionable tasks.
What to watch for: Your fixation on problem solving can blind you to other people’s feelings—and cause you burn some bridges in pursuit of a solution.
How to hack it: We know it’s tempting for you to go in and fix things—and that it comes from the best of intentions. But you risk relationships in the process. Instead, think of people as factors in whatever compelling problem you’re trying to solve. If you frame their feelings and needs as important parts of a problem, you won’t be so quick to dismiss them.
Think: Olivia Pope from Scandal, Dwight Schrute from The Office, Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones