Managing Stress and Personality Tendencies in the Workplace

Intense stress has become such a common and integral part of our homes and work that many people have begun to think it’s just part of being alive today, but constant, unmanaged stress is harmful emotionally and physically. Preventing and managing stress can help lower your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. But equally as important, learning to manage your stress in ways that do not throw you into your EXTREME personality color tendencies can help you save your relationships from being severely damaged or broken.

If you find that you are experiencing an abundance of stress, especially as it relates to work, we strongly recommend that you consider working with a business or life coach to create calming and centering systems to help you proactively handle your business stress.

Let’s take a moment to examine the six color personality tendencies of the Primary Colors Personality Insight tool and how each discovering our color personality tendencies, (we usually use a blend of three of the color personality tendencies) can help us improve the way we choose to manage the way we deal with stress.

1. RED EXTREME Controllers have a tendency to attempt to minimize stress by using control. People with strong RED personality tendencies like control, but when in their EXTREMES this need for control becomes toxic and dominating. A person with controlling personality tendencies biggest fear is losing control. So when people with EXTREME RED personality tendencies feel stressed, they have a tendency to become autocratic, bossy, and demanding, seizing authority from others, and making demands too forcefully. Of course there are times when stress cannot be avoided, so I recommend to people with strong red personality tendencies that they find a safe outlet for their aggression when they feel pushed to their limit.

Signs of stress: Anger, rage, tense muscles, lack of patience, needs more control

Potential problems: When you are stressed is not a time to be abrupt, rude and impatient. However, this will FEEL like the perfect time for you to become all three. Do not act on your anger and frustration without first considering how these negative behaviors will impact others.

You crave respect but you will not win respect by being disrespectful.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person who has moved into their RED EXTREME personality tendencies to deal with stress is to TAKE a positive ACTION. Remember to work with others instead of attempting to bend them to your will.

But be cautious when becoming demanding, rigid and resembling a dictator as you are taking action. This will cause people to want to resist you which will only intensify the stress. Be aware of your strong desire for control, but utilize respect and clear communication when giving orders to others. Breathe deeply and keep your anger and rage at bay. Anger and rage will only intensify the negative ramifications of stress in your life.

2. PURPLE EXTREME Managers minimize stress by becoming moody task masters.

When a person who has moved into their PURPLE EXTREME is stressed, they tend to become too rule, policy and procedure oriented. Checking accomplished tasks off a list becomes paramount to them, and they can put the importance of rules and procedures ahead of people.

Signs of stress: Irritability, frustration, back pain, lowered immune system, emotional rigidity

Potential problems: When you are stressed you will have a tendency to enforce rules, policies and procedures and be less concerned with the people’s feelings that you are working with. When people feel that you put procedures in front of their feelings and concerns, they can resist cooperating fully to complete a project or task. The biggest fear for Managers /Organizers is not completing tasks on time, so they’ll often muscle through heroic acts to impress clients, but burn themselves out in the process.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person who has moved into their EXTREME purple personality tendencies to deal with stress is to MAKE A PLAN AND FOLLOW IT.

For managers/organizers, the best way to manage stress is to plan what needs to happen, when it needs to happen and how it needs to happen and then go about putting those plans into action. Be mindful of better organizing others by explaining what you’d like them to do to help get things in order and reduce stress. Recommended statements: “I’ve got a suggestion that will help us get this project back on track quickly.” Or, “I’m worried about the amount of tasks you are currently managing, so I’m going to help you.”

3. BLUE EXTREME Thinkers when stressed tend to isolate and become extremely irritated with interruptions. People with BLUE personality tendencies tend to do thorough work, think through all of the options available, and anticipate problems so that they can eliminate stress completely, however, no one can control all stress in their lives. Their biggest fear is being wrong. When under stress, they tend to avoid communication because it causes them anxiety, which makes them lose focus.

Signs of stress: Unable to focus, headaches, want to withdraw, feeling like there is too much to do and not enough time, procrastination, irritation

Potential problems: When BLUE thinkers and analysts feel stressed they become even more perfectionistic. They feel pressured by time and deadlines and it actually slows their ability to effectively fulfill their duties. People with strong blue personality tendencies will attempt to isolate to give them time to rethink and recharge, but if you happen to get in their way they can become very judgmental and demeaning when stressed.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person with strong blue personality tendencies to deal with stress is to stop and give themselves time to THINK THINGS THROUGH.

To manage stress better, take time to be alone and process information. Give yourself a chance to think things through. Adjust your work and environment to meet deadlines and minimize procrastination. Be sure to ask for more time if you think you need it, well before any deadline approaches. This won’t prevent you from procrastinating -- that’s part of your working style -- but often, procrastination serves as a pacing technique to give you the necessary time to insure that you have considered all potential problems that might arise.

4. GREEN EXTREME Innovators and change makers can become more extremist in their behaviors and radical when they are in their EXTREMES. People with GREEN personality tendencies typically work on multiple tasks simultaneously and busily enjoy the creative process of any task, but they are usually weak when it comes to implementation and management. Innovators, change makers and influencers love exciting people with ideas and bringing them together to ‘make a difference’. However, unless they have blue, or purple colors tendencies in their color blend, they can struggle with implementation of their BIG ideas.

Signs of stress: Feeling of hopelessness, impaired creativity, back pain, problems sleeping, weight gain or loss

Potential problems: When you bounce from one project to another it can cause confusion for those around you. If before you can complete one project, you have ideas for three more, people around you can begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed by your creativity. When they get EXTREMELY ultra focused on a cause they can become radicalized and exhibit behaviors that are opposite of the centered versions of themselves.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person with strong GREEN personality tendencies to deal with stress is to STAY POSITIVE AND CONTINUE TO DREAM. Don't allow yourself to get pulled into poisoned political processes that can steal your compassion and zeal for larger endeavors.

To better manage stress, revisit your original dream or idea. Then create a framework by jotting down your anticipated process and possibilities at the outset of a project. Then, imagine what the successful completion looks like. Reference this start and endpoint to help you work backwards and use time wisely. This won’t prevent you from procrastinating or playing the hero -- that’s part of your working style -- but often, procrastination serves as a pacing technique to prevent burnout before the end of a project.

During prolonged tasks, engage in activities that allow you to blow off steam rather than trying to force yourself to focus continuously.

5. YELLOW EXTREME Nurturers when stressed, tend to burn-out or become passive aggressive. People with YELLOW personality tendencies most often try to soothe stress by serving the needs of others and calming the nerves of those around them. They can actually wear themselves to a frazzle. The biggest fear for people with YELLOW personality tendencies is being excluded, or not being appreciated. This will prompt them to take on too much work or try to rescue others by helping them with their work load. This often leads people with strong yellow personality tendencies feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated, which can lead to depression, a victim mentality or passive-aggressive behaviors.

Signs of stress: Depression, Sadness, upset stomach, worry, confusion, a tendency to feel more needy, insecurity

Potential problems: When others feel stressed, you want to alleviate their suffering by taking on their burdens. This is very considerate and thoughtful of you, however, this will also potentially run you ragged. You must guard yourself from your propensity to say “Yes” too often, to too many people.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person with strong yellow personality tendencies to deal with stress is to reCONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY. If you have run yourself weary with serving others, it is time to ADD self-care to your list of loving responsibilities.

Connecting with those they love helps alleviate stress tremendously. To better manage your stress levels, learn to say “No”. Ask yourself if offering to help someone else will actually benefit those around you, or simply enable them. If you’re working with someone who is constantly stressed because they are disorganized, taking a few things off their plate probably won’t help, or if it helps, it will only help temporarily.

Instead, offer to help them get organized or figure out why they’re constantly stressed. Be sure to find time for yourself. By focusing so intensely on others, it’s common to ignore your own needs, which can lead to burnout.

6. ORANGE EXTREME Entertainers when stressed can look to something to relieve their stress and anxiety quickly, which can lead them to drugs, sex, alcohol and other addictions. People with ORANGE personality tendencies are best with they use humor to alleviate stress and tension, however when in their EXTREMES they can find themselves behind the clown's painted face, and can feel alone and out of control. They have learned that if you can get people to laugh, or not take themselves so seriously, tension and stressed can be reduced.

Signs of stress: Biting sarcasm, weight gain, need more sleep to escape, addictive tendencies emerge

Potential problems: You can rely on humor to the point that people around you believe that you do not take things seriously enough. This is when humor stops working in a positive way and becomes a detriment. OR you can turn to substances and other addictions to take you away from feeling stress and anxious.

Potential answers: One of the best ways for a person with strong orange personality tendencies to deal with stress is to manage healthy ways to HAVE FUN AND ENJOY LIFE.

The best way for a person with strong orange personality tendencies to deal with stress is to find time to play. Whether it is sports, biking, video games, or entertaining friends, taking time to enjoy life helps alleviate stress when the levels get too high. Join with friends in activities that help you relax and let go.

We all get stressed, but each color personality type experiences and manages stress differently. Learn what triggers your stress and how to minimize it to improve productivity and enhance your personal and work relationships.

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Dawn Billings, is a relationship, communication and personality expert and the architect and author of insight technology Primary Colors Personality Tests and Insight Tools.

Dawn is the founder of the Executive Training Resort in Mesa, Arizona, and does Couples Marriage Retreats at the Relationship Help Resort that can save marriages. Dawn has also created a relationship help program to help people heal their relationships in the comfort of their own homes called Relationship Help At Home.

Dawn is the inventor of the Capables Parenting System and the founder of the Heart Link Women's Network.

Dawn is the author of over twenty books and hundreds of articles. Dawn is also the founder of OverJOYed Life, and author of the Happiness Curriculum.

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