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I have always considered myself an anxious person. I am easily overwhelmed by events that might not disturb another person. A change in life circumstances tends to send me into a spiral of panic and overthinking.

On the other hand, my partner is the most laid back person I know. I have never seen him freak out or get stressed when life throws him one of its little curves.

This is just one example of how people often react very differently to the same circumstances, but look around you and you’ll probably see examples of it everywhere.

You may feel excited and excited when you’re offered a new job, but notice that your friend is terrified and nervous when they experience the same thing. Perhaps you’ve seen a family member thrive during an unexpected challenge, but noticed a similar setback that brought out the worst in you.

The good news is that it’s perfectly normal for different personality types to respond in different ways when they encounter a problem or stressor. With the right knowledge, you can use your unique strengths to overcome difficulties.

First things first: What personality camp do you fall into?

“Psychologists are very interested in our individual differences and look at them through something called the biosocial model, which is essentially the idea that part of who we are is biological, innate, and in our genes,” says Honey Langcaster. James, psychologist and founder of wellness on set.

“For example, some aspects of our personality are genetic, whether you’re extroverted or introverted, like to talk about your thoughts and feelings, or prefer to withdraw,” says Langcaster-James.

It can be helpful to observe how close relatives react to difficulties to determine where their personality traits lie.

It can also be helpful to delve into your past.

As humans, we tend to interpret events according to our past experiences and learnings. Our responses are often in line with what we have experienced before, explains Langcaster-James.

“We know that someone who has experienced stressful events in the past is more likely to anticipate stressful events in the future,” she says. “When an event occurs, they can interpret it as having more risk potential.”

If you’re still looking to identify your type, Langcaster-James advises looking at the Big Five.

“There are certain personality traits that are related to life stressors in particular. For example, there is a well-known model of personality called the Big Five Personality Factors, also known by the acronym OCEAN,” she says.

  • Frankness it refers to how open someone is to experiences.
  • Conscientiousness refers to how careful and detailed someone is.
  • Extroversion (sometimes spelled extraversion) refers to the amount of energy an individual extracts from social interactions.
  • sympathy it refers to how helpful and cooperative a person can be.
  • neuroticism refers to how prone someone is to anxiety or moodiness.

The above traits exist along a continuum. It is not so much a black or white phenomenon, one or the other, but a matter of degree.

Those who score high on the openness scale tend to have the following characteristics:

  • easily accept the changes and novelties of life
  • curiosity
  • flexibility
  • easily adapt to change
  • a desire for experiences
  • good problem solvers

“Those who tend to have high levels of openness are curious and immerse themselves in new experiences regularly,” he says. Lee Chambers, environmental psychologist and wellness consultant.

Open types are able to adapt to changes more easily.

“Their more flexible nature helps them absorb an element of instability,” says Chambers. “Their desire to experiment and learn often gives them insight into the difficulty of navigation.”

According to Chambers, open types tend to turn difficulties into a problem-solving exercise. This means that they already have a set of tools to navigate the difficulty.

“Their experiential intelligence helps them reflect on past challenges and find potential insights to use. They are also the most likely to be creative and come up with inventive solutions, seeing difficulties as challenges and problems as opportunities to excel,” explains Chambers.

Conscientious people often display the following characteristics:

  • long-term focus when facing difficulties
  • responsibility for what they can influence
  • a feeling that they can impact situations
  • flexible and complete planning

“Conscientious people are likely to control their impulse to see the worst in difficulties, maintaining a longer-term focus while also taking responsibility for factors they can influence in the present moment,” says Chambers.

They are likely to navigate cautiously towards stable solutions and have a sense of agency when it comes to tackling difficulties.

Chambers says proactive decision making can help conscientious guys.

“Conscientious people are master planners,” he says. “Flexible planning is great in tough times, where when plan A doesn’t work, cool heads execute plans B through Z until a workable solution is found.

Extrovert characteristics include:

  • thriving by connecting socially
  • effective in involving others
  • gather a variety of viewpoints to create a comprehensive action plan
  • able to share their thoughts and feelings easily

Chambers says that extroverts are likely to react to challenges by sharing ideas. They also tend to prefer expressing their difficulties to others rather than reflecting on them alone.

In tough times, they need to recharge and connect socially. They also want to approach problems energetically or emotionally rather than intellectually.

“Extroverted people can build on their strengths by involving others, getting a variety of viewpoints and opinions to come up with a comprehensive plan of action moving forward, and being able to share their thoughts and feelings, so they feel supported in the process,” she says. . Cameras.

Their optimism and adaptability come in handy for seeing small wins and making course corrections as they navigate difficulty, he adds.

Nice features include:

  • Focus on shared values ​​and concerns.
  • taking into account the personal and collective impact
  • natural empathy
  • emphasizing collaboration
  • Express negative emotions in a healthy way.

“Those who are agreeable are likely to respond in a measured way in difficult times,” says Chambers. “Their focus on shared values ​​and concern for others means that they are often likely to consider the personal impact and see how it has impacted others.”

Their natural empathy means that nice guys are great at using collaboration as a solution. This results in avoiding unnecessary conflict and a healthy expression of negative feelings.

“Nice people shine at bringing people together to solve problems and work around difficulties,” says Chambers. “Their flexibility is a real blessing, and with no time spent complaining, blaming and trying to be perfect, there is more time to be resourceful, plan and find a way to bring hope for the future.”

Characteristics of those higher on the neuroticism scale include:

  • variable mood
  • sensitive to threats
  • high level of preparation
  • strong self-awareness and reflection
  • less likely to take risks
  • creative and quirky problem solving

According to Langcaster-James, these types are more affected by challenges and stress than the other types.

“Persons [higher on the neuroticism scale] they are naturally more sensitive to threats,” says Chambers. “They are likely to see difficulties as a sign that their emotional balance is threatened and find themselves struggling to see possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenge while thinking and worrying about the current conundrum.”

A high neuroticism score is often viewed as negative, but it can have many benefits.

These include a decreased tendency to take risks that can exacerbate problems, self-awareness that can be used for reflection, and a healthy balance of realism and humor.

“They are likely to come up with wacky solutions that can be effective,” says Chambers.

When it comes to changing the way you work through difficulties, Lancaster-James says therapy can be a helpful tool.

“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) [is] it’s all about creating change from observing your thought processes and understanding how they link to your behavior,” says Langcaster-James. “If you start to understand what triggers your thought processes, you can start to interpret the process and learn how to challenge those thought processes.”

The good news is that accepting our answers can get easier as we get older.

“We tend to become more accepting and grounded in ourselves as we get older,” says Langcaster-James.

This means that we are less likely to punish ourselves and more likely to adapt.

“Psychology can help you understand who you are, why you think what you think and why you behave the way you do,” says Langcaster-James. “Once you can start to understand those things, you can interrupt your typical process and responses and go down a different path.”

We all handle difficulties in our lives in different ways.

Over time, you can learn to accept and maximize the potential of your response to challenges. By understanding your personality type, you can learn to overcome difficulties by playing to your strengths.

Victoria Stokes is a writer from the UK. When she’s not writing about her favorite topics, personal development and wellness, she usually has her nose in a good book. Victoria lists coffee, cocktails and the color pink among some of her favorite things. Find her at Instagram.