Stress is inevitable in our lives. Between heavy traffic jams, work deadlines, financial challenges, and much more serious issues, such as someone we love becoming ill, we simply cannot expect to be exempt from stress in our lives. However, we can find healthy ways to cope with our stress and reasonable ways to manage the hardships.

The first step to dealing with anything is acknowledgment. When do you get stressed? What triggers those stressors? It’s likely that you react differently to various types of stressors. Spilling coffee on yourself will evoke a different type of stress response than burnout from a job does. Try to pin down the events and circumstances in your life that bring you the most stress. Ask yourself, on a normal when do I feel the most stressed? When do I feel the most relaxed? What makes those parts of the day different from one another?

You might notice yourself falling into several or many of the styles of stress below and that’s normal. Since we don’t react to every stressor the same, we can accept to identity with different stress responses based on our current situation. When it comes to your relationships, maybe you exhibit a fight response; or when big deadlines loom near you might display more of a freeze response. The following list is meant to help you cultivate more mindfulness when it comes to how your stress shows up and how you react to it.

No judgment, only awareness.


Irritability, anger, and arguing.

Blames & criticizes others.


Increased use of substances.


Seeks to avoid stressors.

Sense of restlessness.

Withdraws from others.

Increased use of substances.


Feels overwhelmed or anxious.

Spaces Out.

– Isolates Self from others.

Difficulty making decisions.


– People pleasing.

Unable to express thoughts or feelings.

Cares for others to own detriment.

Avoids conflict by appeasing people.


Seeks support and gives support.

Connects with others.

Gains satisfaction through social support.

Takes productive action.


– Views stress as a challenge to overcome, not a threat.

– Feels energized by a challenge.

Uses productive problem solving.

Improved performance overtime.

It’s common to see different variations of stress responses come to the surface depending on the scenario. I’m curious, which style of stress do you lean toward the most?