There are important differences between people who struggle with stress, and those who do not. The best way to go about examining these differences is to examine the characteristics of people who fall in each category.
Let’s first look at what happens to people who have a high level of stress.
People with too much stress:
- Inability to relax: They have a chronic urgency that they should be doing something. Even if that is worrying about things that needed to be finished, and worrying about the future.
- Overextending themselves: People with chronic stress tend to over-extend themselves. They have trouble saying “no,” and put too much on their plate.
- Struggle with disorganization and motivation: They often procrastinate and put things off to the last second. Prioritizing and organizing themselves is difficult for those with high stress.
- Have trouble sleeping: At night their mind races. They struggle to stop thinking about future worries. This has a significant impact on sleep.
More downsides of stress
- Often make a daily or weekly “to-do” list that is not possible: Not only do they over schedule, they over-plan and over-commit. They then get upset with themselves when they fall behind.
- They feel guilty if they allow themselves time for personal care and relaxation: They feel they should be using that time in a productive way. Yet, they do not prioritize personal care of equal importance.
- They struggle with delays, changes in schedule, and last-minute tasks: It is a struggle to prioritize, and figure out how to rework their day with the new tasks.
- Do more work than is required: They live with the fear that they are not good at what they do. This causes constant worry that they could lose their job.
- Competitive with others and need reassurance: They need to feel that they are the best at their job, or hobby. These people need to get positive feedback and reassurance that they are doing well.
- Irritable when things change: Their irritability increases when they are up against a deadline. When something unplanned happens, or when they are not living up to their personal expectations, they feel even worse.
Of course, people with less stress fall into certain categories and characteristics as well.
People with less stress
These people have found healthier ways to manage and cope with stress. They might look more like this:
- These individuals are flexible to change, schedule adjustments, and changing deadlines: They are able to quickly reprioritize without letting it get them frazzled.
- Believe in continuously improving themselves, and are open to feedback: They believe that constructive criticism helps them learn and grow.
- Have a high level of resilience: They are able to survive and bounce back from personal struggles and disappointments in an appropriate way. People like this do not spend an unhealthy amount of time focusing on negative events.
- They have a gift for setting healthy and clear boundaries with others: They know when to say, “No,” and when to tell someone that they need some space from them. People who have learned healthy ways to deal with stress put themselves first, and are comfortable drawing a line.
- Live a life with integrity: They have strong beliefs, and they are not afraid to act upon them. These people volunteer, advocate, and will provide educated facts to support their point of view. People like this believe in action and not just words.
More healthy coping mechanisms
- They have a good sense of self-awareness and introspection: They are able to figure out what is at the root of their feelings and behaviors, and are able to ask for help to change these thoughts and behaviors if needed.
- Try to be positive in most things that they do: They genuinely believe that being negative or having a “doom and gloom” attitude, serves them no purpose.
- They surround themselves with like-minded people: Individuals with low stress levels, and a positive worldview, are more likely to surround each other with people who feel the same. The energy feeds off each other, and they usually accomplish more as a group.
- Practice the skill of acceptance: They know what is and is not in their control. They focus on what they do have control over, and try and change that. This gives them a sense of control and empowerment.
- They practice good self-care: They know that taking time for themselves, and their own well-being, is just as important as any help they can offer to others. These people understand that if they give everything they have to everyone else, they have nothing left for anyone else. They make themselves a priority.
Which do you want to be?
Looking at this list of characteristics for those who suffer from stress, and those who don’t, ask yourself the kind of person that you would like to be. If you are someone with stress that wants to be less stressed, think about the characteristics and tools that these people use to maintain a state of calm and success.
Start making gradual changes until many of the habits seem more and more natural for you. If you follow these steps, you can reduce your stress levels in no time!