Stress: Coping tips for the i-type personality

Stress: Coping tips for the i-type personality

Knowing one’s own DiSC style, or that of another, can help you be aware of what situations might cause you stress and how you might respond.

You might notice the i style chomping at the bit to gather everyone they love together and return to pre-Covid activities. They might be frustrated by having to stretch so often into other styles to get everything done and keep their household in order. Others might be putting unexpected demands on them. Their mental strain might be showing itself through sadness, anger, lack of follow-through, or more disorganization than normal.

What might be stressing the i style right now?

They are probably challenged right now by some of the following:

  • fewer opportunities to be social
  • feeling rejected even if there’s no objective evidence of it
  • not getting the attention they crave
  • lack of collaborative activities
  • routines feeling old, stale, or stifling
  • drop in energy level
  • not being able to follow impulses like gathering a group for happy hour or going to the gym
  • pessimistic or distracted attitudes of others
  • isolation or distance from others
  • fewer opportunities for self-expression
  • anything that challenges their core belief: I’m valuable if I can attract people.

From comfort zone to growth zone

What does the i style need during times of change?

Excitement: being part of energizing new opportunities

Being heard: knowing that their opinions and feelings about the change(s) are heard

Relationships: maintaining a connection with important people in their world

Tips for the i style

  • What are you curious about? Learn new skills. Try a community ed class or two (many are available online), which will also allow you to meet new people. Or set up a regular skill-sharing event or show-and-tell night with people you know, where attendees take turns teaching the others how to do something, whether it’s baking bread or using macros in Microsoft Word or speaking a few phrases of Japanese.
  • Even though they have been transformed during the pandemic, maintain or develop your social networks. There are many new communities to discover and explore, since so much that used to only happen in person now happens online and is thus available wherever you live.
  • Don’t take it personally if your introverted friends and family aren’t responding to your friendly outreach with the same energy. Withdrawing might just be how they’re coping with stress, and it is very likely that they still appreciate hearing from you even if they don’t reciprocate.
  • Your enthusiasm and people skills would be a much-appreciated gift to organizations in your community. Consider your local community and those you may have discovered online.
  • Find creative ways to share yourself with others. Some i styles we know have given virtual musical performances for their friends, delivered homemade cookies and holiday decorations, and gathered friends’ kids together for virtual dance parties and bingo nights.
  • Swap your mental list of things you can’t do and people you can’t see right now for a list of what you can do and people you can see. Write this “can” list down. Once you start listing, you may find you have more ideas than you knew. This is an opportunity to build relationships in new ways.
  • Read a bit about cognitive load theory to gain a better understanding of why it’s just so hard to focus right now. It’s OK if you’re having more trouble than usual finishing projects and organizing your thoughts. Remember the extraordinary circumstances we’re in and recalibrate expectations for yourself.
  • That said, sometimes you do need to buckle down and get things done. Try the Pomodoro Technique: Set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on only that task for those 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break and put a checkmark on a piece of paper. Then, start the 25-minute timer again. Once you have four checkmarks, take a longer break during which you step away and do something like go for a walk outside.
  • Many of us are consuming more media than we were before, but doomscrolling can really spike stress levels, especially for passionate i-style folks. Try stretching into the objective mindset and stepping back for a moment before getting swept away in the current of social media.

Tips for every style

  • Get enough sleep. Try napping.
  • Exercise as appropriate.
  • Eat right.
  • Get outside. If you can’t get outside, look at images of outdoor beauty or get a few indoor plants.
  • Stay connected and social in safe ways.
  • Practice self-compassion.
  • Stay (or become) grateful. Studies have shown that those who practice gratitude are more optimistic and have better relationships.
  • Look for opportunities to laugh. This video of babies laughing is worth viewing.
  • Show your concern for others by performing acts of random kindness.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Now might be the time to reach out to a friend, a life coach, a therapist, or a help line.
  • Learn more about yourself with Everything DiSC Workplace or build your emotional intelligence with Everything DiSC Agile EQ.

I’d like to end this with these words from Ron Siegel, PsyD, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School:

“Positive psychology is not about denying difficult emotions. It’s about opening to what is happening here and now, and cultivating and savoring the good in your life.”

By Jessica Franken and Kristeen Bullwinkle


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