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Stress Relief

We experience stress when it appears to us that no one is listening to our foresights.  We take our unique and intuitive abilities seriously and when others are inattentive or dismissive, we can experience significant degrees of tension and anxiety.  In such situations, we perceive our very authenticity as being brought into question and cast in doubt.  With a keen focus on possibilities coupled with trusting our intuitions, we can become deeply disillusioned whenever an organizational environment doesn't support our vision (and hence our role within it).  When our image of "what I knowingly can and ought to be doing here" is blocked or derailed, we can become edgy and worrisome and begin fueling our fears.  To say, "If I can't be who I know I can be here, then I'll have to be someone I'm not to fit in and match the system" can lead to a constant sense of pressure and become a severe energy drain.


  • Time-in practices -- journaling, creative writing, listening to and/or playing music, meditation, creative visualization work, guided imagery -- are always good medicine.

  • A sure destressor/decompressor is connecting with nature in some fashion on a regular basis.  Anything from camping, trail walking, bird watching, stargazing, beach combing, or a simple bicycle ride in the park has benefit.

  • Constant refueling via creative expression is a "must do" for any wellness program we may design for ourself.  The healthy focus is on "honoring your muse."

  • Explore helpful options that are open to getting assistance with the business side of creative projects and/or chosen career paths.

-Quick Guide to the 16 Personality Types in Organizations,
Dr. Sue Cooper


Self-esteem diminishes when I am betrayed by friends I have helped and trusted.

-Portraits of Self-Esteem, Bonnie J. Golden


The agreeable nature and quiet personality of INFJs makes them particularly vulnerable to hurt feelings. Distress within close relationships can shatter the INFJ. Like all NFs under stress, INFJs feel fragmented and lost as if they are acting out a part rather than simply being themselves. This disassociation can be related to physical symptoms for the INFJ, whether real or imagined. Feeling split off from their physical natures, INFJs may become virtually immobilized by repressed feelings.

Although INFJs may feel like remaining still and stationary until the chaos and confusion of a stressful situation dissipates, it would be best for them to actively sort out their needs from others. Being excessively cooperative and agreeable, the INFJ has a tendency to adopt values and beliefs of others as their own. When external conflicts grow, so does the INFJ's sense of personal disharmony. Disassociating themselves from others takes a great deal of effort for the INFJ.

-Doug Dean          


As stress increases, 'learned behaviour' tends to give way to the natural style, so the INFJ will behave more according to type when under greater stress.  In a crisis, the INFJ might:

  • find a place of solitude in which to think and work

  • tell everyone else how well they are coping

  • try to solve the long term problem, and neglect the short term

  • make errors of fact, or ignore routine matters that might nevertheless be essential

Under extreme stress, fatigue or illness, the INFJ's shadow may appear - a negative form of ESTP. Example characteristics are:

  • acting very impulsively, making decisions without thinking them through

  • doing things to excess - e.g.: eating, drinking or exercising

  • being critical of others, and finding fault with almost everything

  • being preoccupied about unimportant details and doing things that have no meaning

  • acting in a very materialistic and selfish way

  • cutting corners, breaking the rules, and even contradicting the INFJ's own values

The shadow is part of the unconscious that is often visible to others, onto whom the shadow is projected. The INFJ may therefore readily see these faults in others without recognising it in him/her self.

-by Steve Myers     


Vicky Jo's INFJ Stress Antidotes

Get yourself a life coach.  They'll listen to every complaint and help you discern what action to take around it without "shoulding" on you or drowning you in stupid advice.  It's amazing how much you can evolve within such a relationship, even if it's just to survive a particular phase.  I say this not only as a coach, but as a coachee.  I know firsthand how supportive it was to my own development to be surrounded by various coaches as I underwent my training.

If you can't manage that, here are some alternatives.  Call a friend and gripe.  Listen to yourself talk, because this is how you figure things out.  (I call it a need to "Fe." [ef-ee])  We work through our problems by hearing the extraverted Feeling judgments we make about issues "in the moment."  Not talking out our problems may keep us stuck in "Perceiving" mode [Ni or Se], and we can never reach conclusions.  Like most Feeling types, INFJs tend to be problem-staters more than problem-solvers.  So what works best for us is to fumble around and try to articulate [Ti] the issue.  When we hear ourselves [Se] state the problem accurately, that automatically triggers our creative problem-solving [Ni], and a solution often appears almost instantly!  The solution may even seem obvious at that point.  It's possible to get ourselves unstuck quickly once we allow ourselves to talk matters through.

Of course, we usually hate ourselves for blatting out our problems everywhere -- we pride ourselves on being more "together" than that.  It can feel like an uncomfortable and messy episode of "bumper cars" in a carnival as we work our way through a complicated issue.  We feel like we're crashing into our friends or sideswiping them with our big ugly problems.  It brings up a whole lot of shame.  Our inner critic may tell us to "shut up!"  And every friend who puts up with us and hears us out deserves a gold trophy.  (As if we don't do the same for them all the time!)  But that's the funky way we work.  For real progress to occur, we have to alternate use of our perceiving and judging functions.  It's the only way to evolve beyond our current issues.

If you're obsessing, that's a different story.  In those moments, we tend to be trapped on the Fe <---> Ti axis, shuttling endlessly back and forth.  It's analysis paralysis of the highest order!  At these times, be gentle with yourself.  Take a walk.  Watch a movie.  Change the scenery -- go out of town, go to a museum, go to a friend's house, take a walk.  Have a "come-and-get-me" friend take you shopping, dancing, swimming, walking, biking, whatever!  In short, do anything else, especially something that breaks up the pattern and prevents you from obsessing.  If you can find a way to make yourself laugh, that's worth its weight in gold.

Two things often happen when stress occurs.  We shut down and don't ask for the help we need; and we stop doing the things we enjoy that could help us get through the stressful situation.  We forfeit the very things that make us feel vibrant and alive.  If this typically happens to you, force yourself to do the things you love -- whether it's seeing a movie, shopping, taking a walk, reading a book, taking a long bath, talking on the phone with a friend -- and that will provide you with the strength you need to cope with the stressful situation. 

Here's another suggestion that makes some folks uncomfortable.  Find and attend CoDA meetings.  You will feel better being around other people; you will feel better about having problems -- and if you can talk aloud [ef-ee] about the problem, so much the better.  These meetings are free and anonymous -- who can beat that?  It's the cheapest therapy you'll ever find.  Plus you don't have to dress up or wear makeup.  Sometimes you really just need to hear yourself talk out loud, just like I described above.  

If you're obsessing, the AA environment provides you with a safe way to get sick of hearing yourself yammer persistently about the problem without driving away friends or family members.  The meeting framework can provide a container for your shame.  This can be very healing -- and you'll feel better listening to other people gripe about their problems.  Honest!  (That's because you don't have to take responsibility for them -- and they don't have to take responsibility for yours!)  CoDA is a wonderful institution, and it doesn't mean you're desperate if you attend meetings.  AA members are people too.  Take advantage of this resource!

When one's own problems are unsolvable and all best efforts are frustrated, it is lifesaving to listen to other people's problems.
                            -Suzanne Massie

In between stressful episodes, work on your boundaries.  Learn ways to be comfortably assertive.  Read this book and employ the simple steps -- every step! (It will remind you to always keep yourself in the picture.)  Learn to control your "flight" tendency by anticipating problems and addressing them before they deteriorate into a "flight" episode or full withdrawal.  You need people -- so make more friends at those times you don't think you "need" them.  Learn to drop your guard and be more forthcoming and authentic in your relationships overall.  Stop giving to Takers.  Instead, give to Givers and allow yourself to take graciously from them when they offer.


Find a little bit of fun here.

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