Have you ever reacted to stress in a manner that was out of your normal character? Have you ever tried to comfort someone else only to find that you made things worse?

We can’t control what happens to us and those around us, but we can control how we approach the situation. It is important to note that everyone reacts to stress differently so soothing methods should be tailored to each person. What works for your friend may not work for your child.

Here are a few practical tips to help in comforting some Myers-Briggs types when they’re reacting to stress.

ESTJ- The Defender

Stress Triggers:
Disorganized environments
Constant distractions
Irrational behavior
Incompetent people
Sudden change
Lazy people
Long interactions with abstract or theoretical concepts
Long periods of time in high-charged emotional environments

ESTJs can feel isolated, misunderstood, and undervalued when overwhelmed by stress. They struggle to put their feelings into words. They can succumb to introverted feelings if they are frequently under stress. As a result, the ESTJ type can become uncommonly emotional causing them to withdraw from others and misinterpret small details into personal attacks. Physically, they may suffer from neck, shoulder, and headaches due to tension in their body.

To Help:
Allow them alone time following the incident
Don’t attempt to problem solve right away
Let them talk while you listen
After listening, discuss possible solutions
Validate their feelings
Don’t respond emotionally


ISFJ- The Protector


Stress Triggers:
Saying “yes” to too many projects
Criticism/ Little positive feedback
Tense environments
Lack of clear instructions
Constantly acting as the “responsible one”
Unfamiliar territory

ISFJs can become discouraged and depressed when facing stress. Often times they beat themselves up thinking over how things could have been done differently and dwell on duties they failed in. They are the types to imagine everything they feel could go wrong and see everything as “doomed.”

To Help:
Break down the problem
Give specific compliments
Encourage exercise to increase endorphins
Put the tasks in sequential order
Let them read positive material
Don’t patronize them
Give positive and provable affirmations of times they’ve overcome in the past

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