The Best Way To Relieve Stress, Based On Your Personality Type

Written by Christine Lusita
Multiple exposure photograph of a stressed out woman

Image by Danny Owens / Death to the Stock Photo

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Let's face it: Relaxation has never been so complicated. From acupressure to Zumba, from breathwork to salt scrubs, the health world today is filled with ideas for de-stressing. Sorting it out can be a stress-maker in itself. How are you supposed to know where to begin?

My advice? Start with yourself. After 20 years of health coaching, including 15 years as a mindfulness practitioner, I know that everyone has their own kind of crazy and their own kind of calm—which I detail in my book The Right Fit Formula. Some people love paperwork; some love action. Some love competition; others go solo. Knowing your personality doesn't just tell you whether you'd prefer a hot bath or a hard massage at the end of the day—it also tells you how to streamline your efforts so that restoration and renewal are a no-brainer.

Naturally everyone is unique and different—but I've noticed that most people have one of four distinctive personality types. Each has an energy and rhythm to them, and once you find your type, it's so much easier to live healthier, exercise, reduce stress, and eat well! It's also a huge relief to know you don't have to change who you are to be successful; you just have to know who you are and use your uniqueness to your advantage.

Here are the types:

  • Leaders are decisive, Type A, big-picture thinkers. People with this energy like to call the shots and run the show.
  • Supporters are steady, traditional, and empathetic. They're team players who put friends, family, and familiarity above everything else.
  • Socializers are extroverted, charming, and everywhere at once. They know how to gather crowds, get all the Instagram likes, and keep the party going.
  • Planners are intellectual, empirical, and detail-oriented. They have unshakable focus and need all the facts at hand before making any decision.

If you're still not sure which type you identify with, picture your favorite yoga or exercise class. If you always choose the same spot in the back or side of the room, you're probably a Supporter. If you like to be front and center, you're a Leader. If you always look for your friends, you're a Socializer. If you want a clear view of the yogi from all angles, you're a Planner.

Now, let's find you some stress relief.

If you're a Leader...

Your kind of crazy:

Impatience! You like control and want to handle situations with your own resources and inner wisdom. But when a WTF situation comes up, watch out. Your inner wisdom gets clouded, you can't think, and so you react.

The best way to relieve your stress:

You need to bring your reactions down, STAT. A body-scan meditation takes less than three minutes and grounds you by bringing your attention out of your head and into your physical self. Sit comfortably, and as you inhale and exhale, bring your attention to each part of your body, from your feet touching the floor to the softening of your facial muscles. With this relaxation comes clarity.

You can also try action-oriented discharging, including competitive sports, smashing tennis balls or just cranking up the car stereo.

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If you're a Socializer...

Your kind of crazy:

When life feels like a Tilt-a-Whirl. You hate to say no to plans, which means eventually you'll hit overload and start asking everyone (except yourself) for help.

The best way to relieve your stress:

You need to rebalance. Try this simple meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight and breathe in the strength and resiliency of a mountain, able to hold on to life and weather any storm. This exercise will give you steadiness during your ever-changing day.

Also try group classes that let you play, dance, and be spontaneous.

If you're a Supporter...

Your kind of crazy:

Frustration. You're usually a cool customer, but thwarted routines—a flat tire, a late bus, your favorite restaurant closed by the Health Department—will throw you into a tailspin.

The best way to relieve your stress:

You need peace and structure. Try a walking meditation in a quiet location, doing 10 to 30 paces at a length while opening your senses to your surroundings. The bonus: It's easy to do anywhere, so it never interrupts your routine.

Another idea is to try walking through your neighborhood, hiking, or joining friends in a volunteer or craft project. Small, social changes help hit your "refresh" button.

If you're a Planner...

Your kind of crazy:

Perfectionism. When the recipe doesn't work, when the numbers don't crunch, or when you can't find those notes you wrote… Let's just say you're definitely a stressed-out customer.

Your kind of calm:

You probably don't want to hear this, but my best advice is: Let. It. Go. Practice a meditation in which you squeeze your hand tightly to create tension, and then feel the peace of releasing and letting go. And remember the words of George Harrison: All things must pass.

Hiking (nature is a great de-stresser), golf, swimming, or other exercises that require focus are also great de-stressers.

Bottom line: You are your own expert when it comes to stress relief. Use what you know about your own calm and crazy to master your moods. To know yourself is to know how to restore yourself!

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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