So far, we have covered Usual Styles and Needs for Restlessness and Insistence and how those pertain to Structure (See Part I and Part II). Now let’s take a look at what happens when we get stressed.

Keep in mind, Stress is not always a large feeling of pressure that is easily identifiable. It is more often subtle and unfelt by an individual. However, the behaviors stress produces are ineffective behaviors, not just for the individual, but also potentially for those around them.

Sometimes in stress, our natural behaviors are just amplified to an extreme. Other times, we go the complete opposite of who we naturally are. This is actually an effect caused by our Usual Style/Need relationship. This is probably something you already understand, so I won’t dive into it here. If you have questions pertaining to Usual Style/Need relationships and their impact on Stress Behaviors, let us know! We are here to discuss it further.

Let’s go ahead and dive into the different Stress Behavior combinations and their impact on Structure in our life:

  • High Insistence/High Restlessness: Individuals can become overly controlling and frustrated while also mentally distracted. While they may become stubbornly rigid outwardly, they lose their ability to focus on any one task because they are trying to control too much, which makes concentrating on other things a challenge. To combat this stress, write down everything you are trying to control. Now take a deep breath and then let it all go. Next, put each area in order based on its importance. Start working on just the most important area without trying to control every aspect of it.
  • Low Insistence/Low Restlessness: Individuals will begin to fixate on a problem but procrastinate and postpone any action. While they may become disorganized outwardly, disregarding routine and structure, they become overly focused on what they should be doing but fail to follow through. To combat this stress, write down the one thing that your mind is fixated on. Then write down the steps you need to take in order to accomplish it. Start on step one, then go to two, then three and so on.
  • High Insistence/Low Restlessness: This person becomes a true controller when in stress. Individuals can become unwilling to adjust, change or shift in any way and can be overly controlling in all details. The high Insistence and Low Restlessness Stress are very similar to each other, leading to an even greater emphasis in the control behaviors. Mentally, these individuals become overly focused on what they are trying to control, and their behaviors follow suite. This is the most uncommon combination, which is why when it happens, it can be so damaging – the rest of the world isn’t used to seeing it. To combat this stress, you may need outside assistance to gain perspective. The most important thing to do in stress situations is to completely let go, but you may not be able to accomplish this on your own.
  • Low Insistence/High Restlessness: This person is in true chaos when in stress. Individuals can become completely disorganized and distracted. They will have difficulty concentrating on any one area while also finding it hard to take any kind of action to follow through. This is the most common combination, which is why productivity decreases so much in the workplace when people are stressed. To combat this stress, getting organized is the most important step. You also may need outside assistance to help you become organized. Once things are in order, it will provide a sense of control, which will bring back focus and productivity.

Regardless of who the person is, I will say it again, structure is important. We either naturally add structure to our lives with our Usual Behavior, desire to be in an environment that creates structure based on our Needs, or find it extremely helpful in order to combat our Stress. That doesn’t mean flexibility isn’t important too, as it most certainly is. Even if we are more structured in our Usual Behavior and Needs, flexibility is important for us when in Stress. But keep in mind that if we are flexible in both our Usual Behavior and Need, structure is important for our Stress.  The key is finding the balance within our current environments that works for our needs and styles.

Often, people say “Don’t put me in a box.” What they really mean is, a box of some kind is important, but I must have freedom to operate and be myself within that box. That is what we define as “civilized” in our culture – parameters that maintain certain boundaries in which to operate to prevent us from going too far, but still freedom to express our uniqueness.

When we do get stressed, it is because the box we find ourselves in is too constricting for our needs and prevents us from expressing our natural styles. The over-expression of stress is a shout to the world saying, “This isn’t working for me!” But we must learn to do that in a productive way instead of a negative one, otherwise, no one wants to listen.

Based on your stress combination, how can you work on effectiveness when under stress until that stress is relieved?

What are some ways you can relieve that tension to remove the stress?