What happens to an INFJ under stress?

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Did you know that INFJs experience stress in more areas than all other types? Of nine categories measured, INFJs rank at the top in more areas than any other type. These include work, intimate relationships, and school. I don't want this information to stress you out! Don't worry—there's hope by the end of this blogpost.

You're not surprised, though, are you? INFJs are idealistic and perfectionistic, and they live with very high expectations. But guess what? Those are all behaviors. What's interesting about the fact that these are behaviors? You have the power to change your behavior.

Your response to stress is also a behavior. You don't have to be at the mercy of the stress in your life. With practice, you can begin to recognize your stress response and take steps to address it. First, let's look at what can cause everyday stress for an INFJ.

What causes stress for an INFJ?

The types of stressors you face as an INFJ vary depending on your situation. Developing an awareness of when you're most likely to experience stress is a powerful tool. Anytime you're required to act outside of your preferred nature (introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging) is likely to cause some amount of stress.

Take a look at these common everyday stressors for INFJs:

  • having conflicts with others, or having someone upset with you (feeling nature)

  • being told of last-minute changes (judging nature)

  • large group activities (introverted nature)

  • being criticized (feeling nature)

  • having to deal with too many projects at one time (judging nature)

Stress is also likely if you're repeatedly required to draw on your less-developed functions throughout the day. These functions are your introverted thinking (tertiary) and extraverted sensing (inferior). While these two functions can be a source of fun and enjoyment in small amounts, they're not as natural and comfortable. This means they'll create stress when you're required to use them over and over.

Here are some examples of thinking and sensing activities that can cause stress:

  • being required to handle many details or detailed tasks

  • being expected to use logic alone in decision-making

  • having to check accuracy of facts and data

  • being required to focus only on realities and not consider the big picture

  • being asked to do repetitive tasks or tasks that require you to be completely in the moment

Did you just cringe while reading that list? I know it sent shivers down my spine just listing them. Yikes!

How do INFJs look under everyday stress?

So what does your behavior look like under everyday stress? As an INFJ, your most comfortable and best function is your introverted intuition. Under everyday stress, you'll experience an exaggeration of this dominant function. When you're at your best, your introverted intuition is a beautiful gift. It's responsible for pattern recognition. You see connections between things. It makes you a great problem solver. It gives you a vision for the future. When those things are in an exaggerated state, it could look something like this:

  • seeing patterns everywhere and insisting that everything is connected

  • forcing collected data to fit into your ideas

  • having outrageous and unrealistic visions

  • withdrawing inward and refusing to ask for help

  • an unwillingness to compromise on your ideas and solutions to the point of arrogance

  • ruminating or over-analyzing interactions with others

  • avoiding confrontation

Is it getting warm in here? :-) Do you recognize any of those behaviors throughout your life? Let's figure out what you can do about this, shall we? You know I wouldn't leave you without a solution.

What can INFJs under stress do?

Since stress comes at an INFJ from multiple angles, it's really important for you to prepare for situations that are likely to cause you stress. Take note of your behaviors when you're under stress. When you know you'll encounter your known stressors, make sure to schedule in time to reenergize and deal with the stress. For example:

  • Arrange for alone time.

  • Do something just for yourself. Consider doing something artistic or creative.

  • Talk with an understanding friend.

  • Switch gears and do a totally different activity.

  • Journal how you're feeling and how you'd really like to respond to the situation.

  • Consider your values and take steps to assure your behavior and decisions are in alignment with those.

Finally, remember to take a deep breath and remember you are worth a whole lot just as you are!

Want to know what happens to an INFJ under extreme stress? Read this »