Practicing Intuitive Laura Day Unpacks The 4 Crisis Response Types

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Image by Liliya Rodnikova / Stocksy

Understanding how you as an individual respond to crises can help you cope with periods of collective trauma, like the one we're in the thick of right now.

Speaker and author Laura Day has spent decades helping people use their innate intuitive abilities to emerge from difficult times stronger than ever, with celebrities and spiritual icons like Jennifer Aniston and Deepak Chopra having vouched for her unique approach to self-growth. We got in touch with Day to find out how she's thinking about the crisis we're all in and how we can respond to it with more self-awareness. Here's what she had to say.

On the four types of crisis response.

The four types are anger, depression, anxiety, and denial. Most of us are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for, but there are times when our challenges overwhelm our ability to cope effectively. When that happens, we regress, and we become reactive instead of strategic. We call that "crisis."

Although everyone has a full panoply of emotions, people in crisis respond in those four different ways, corresponding to one of four "response types."

In a situation like the current pandemic, anger types may lash out against people and the situations that arise, alienating the help they might otherwise receive as they erode the foundation of their relationships and routines. Depression types may sink into hopelessness and inactivity and allow difficulties to pile up instead of finding solutions. Anxiety types may focus on everything that could possibly go wrong and miss addressing what needs attention and action. And denial types may ignore the situation altogether, putting themselves and others at risk.

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On how to determine which one you are.

The four response types are evident even in very young children and are a product of both genetics and early experience. Your predominant type does not change over time. Each response type also has a correlated strength, or "gift." If you remember how you responded when you were overwhelmed as a child, or which reactions you have to manage, even now, when you are tired and overwhelmed, you will get a sense of your type.  

People tend to pair with compensatory types: denial with anxiety, anger with depression. Even though each is what the other needs, each is also what triggers the other. Depression can't just "get up and get it done," anger has difficulty settling down, anxiety struggles with choosing which of the many things in life to address, and denial gets easily flooded when there is too much feeling and intensity. 

It is important to have a sense of your type and the types of the people around you, especially in quarantine, as there are things that you can do to manage your less constructive responses and, in doing so, heal your relationships and create success.

On how to put your "type" to good use.

Anger types need to have a lot of physical activity. They need to discharge physically when triggered. Once they do that, the same incredible energy that makes them explode can be usefully directed toward effectively building what they want. The intuitive gift of anger types is passion. These are the people who can lead, rebuild from the rubble—do the impossible. 

Depression types need to make small moves toward routine, toward self-support, and toward making use of the support around them. Once they are mobilized, they can use their incredible depth to find solutions other people would miss. The intuitive gift of depression is wisdom. When a depression type emerges, he or she emerges as a teacher.  

Anxiety types need to find small things that they can accomplish in the moment to make their situation better. They may need a distraction, perhaps helping out with someone else's pressing problem. Once anxiety types organize around real problems and solutions in manageable bits, the same hyper-awareness that makes them anxious can identify opportunities that others overlook. The intuitive gift of anxiety is awareness. Once anxiety types emerge from their terrifying fantasies, they can be visionary, preparing themselves and others for change.  

Denial types need to find ways to reconnect with feeling. This is, in a sense, the hardest type to heal comfortably because denial types deny they are in denial, and things often need to get pretty bad for them to be willing to acknowledge a problem. If you know that you are a denial type, find feeling triggers to bring you back into yourself. It might be a thought that brings you joy, a song that makes you cry, a video that makes you laugh. The same tendency to block out what is unpleasant or distracting allows Denial types to be effective in dealing with obstacles, once they see them. The intuitive gift of denial is focus. Denial types can pinpoint what actions need to be taken and execute them.  

These are just a few ways of working with the four types—and there are many more. Focus on the gift of your type because that is your unique superpower. When you manage your type and are once again present in the moment, you will find that the experience of crisis—the shattering of the status quo that crisis brings—will allow you to heal in a way that makes you stronger than you were before.

In that way, crisis can lead to a joining of intuition, intellect, and experience that can open opportunities that you didn't know were possible—and create the life you want.

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