Stress and Dynamics: What Grinds your Gears? While stress is a very complex and multi-faceted phenomenon, understanding type dynamics can help individuals begin to understand a little bit about common triggers, type-related stress behaviours, and some helpful mitigation tools. This week, I wanted to use the lens of dynamics to discuss tasks – or work-related activities – that can be ‘typologically stressful’ for us. While we all need to perform duties that may not be natural or most comfortable for us, anticipating some of those tasks that bring on stress can help prevent and temper our aversive reactions to them. Additionally, if we know what we don’t like doing, we can make sure we inject more of what we find more comfortable back into our otherwise stressful days, further preventing stress reactions and preserving productivity! According to Jungian type theory, each and every one of us has access to – and uses – all the mental functions: Sensing, iNtuition, Thinking and Feeling. However, the differences amongst people emerge through how we actually use these functions in the inner and outer world, and the order in which we find them naturally comfortable or accessible. For example, I have type preferences for ESFJ. By using various resources (Introduction to Myers-Briggs Type, In the Grip) or by figuring dynamics out in the traditional way (remember that mechanics formula?), I know that my dominant function is extraverted Feeling, supported by an introverted Sensing auxiliary. In other words, when I am making decisions for harmonizing people in my environment that is very easy and comfortable for me. In fact, it is so natural, I find it naturally engaging and energizing when I am allowed to embrace this dominant function in my workplace! At the same time, while we all have a dominant or ‘favourite’ function, we must also by default have a least favourite; something that we need to use, but often due to a lack of development or differentiation (in Jungian terms), it will be much less comfortable, easy and natural for us. In my case, this would be an introverted Thinking function, and while I can recall times where of course using this is absolutely necessary, I always recall it with a level of challenge, struggle or difficulty associated with employing this pesky inferior preference. By understanding and knowing what our inferior – or least favourite function is – we can anticipate and even help moderate the stress that can often be associated with being forced to use this function for long periods of time. Do any of these tasks relate to your dominant? Are they enjoyable for you as a result? Which are related to your inferior; do they cause you stress? Tips for Stress Prevention and Relief: 1. Anticipate that a task will be ‘typologically stressful’ and prepare yourself to engage. 2. If necessary, create transparency around the stressful activity by informing teammates that you may need help, resources or more time. 3. When possible, try to ‘re-inject’ your dominant function back into your work day; this will keep you engaged, and allow you some important recovery time.