There are 5 “stress languages”. Here’s how to find out yours.

Have you ever been arguing with someone and felt like you were both speaking different languages? It turns out that it might not be far off: these difficulties in communicating could be due to different stress languages, essentially a way of thinking about how you respond to difficult situations.

When we are stressed, our blood goes into our body and out of our frontal lobe. So our frontal lobe shuts down, said Chantal Donnelly, physical therapist, stress researcher and author of Settled: How to Find Calm in a Stress-Inducing World.

The frontal lobe is responsible for functions such as self-control, emotions and thinking, according to the Cleveland Clinic. We also have these cranial nerves that start in the brainstem, Donnelly said. They are associated with communication and connection, and are engaged when in a stress response.

So when you’re in an argument, you’re not speaking the same language as you’re actually having trouble communicating and hearing each other properly, he explained.

This explains why you may have felt like you couldn’t communicate with your partner, child or friend during a conflict: you really they weren’t understand each other in the moment.

Donnelly came up with the concept of stress languages ​​while working with his own clients. She found that stress management was the key missing element in her treatment. Stress language is not an official mental health term, but the concept can help you learn about yourself and your loved ones, just like the love languages ​​that have become widely known in recent years.

Below, experts share more about the languages ​​of stress, how to determine yours, and why it’s important to manage your stress.

The 5 different languages ​​of stress

There are five categories of stress language, according to Donnelly’s research, and many of us fall into one (or maybe a few) of them. They are:

  • The Imploder: This is a freeze response to a stressful situation. The imploder can feel hopeless, helpless and paralyzed, Donnelly explained.

  • The Explosive: This is a fight or flight response to a stressful situation. This person may have an inflated reaction to a stressful situation; they might become irritable, frustrated or angry, or even leave a situation they can’t handle, Donnelly said.

  • The fixer: This tendency and friendship reaction is typically how women express a stress response. According to Donnelly, this can look like appeasing, people-pleasing, crossing boundaries, and even parenting people who aren’t your children.

  • The number: As in, a person who falls asleep to the outside world when things aren’t going well, Donnelly said. This person often uses escapism such as drugs, alcohol, online gaming, overwork, or excessive exercise as a coping mechanism for stress.

  • The denialist: This is someone who has toxic positivity as a response to stress and may be too optimistic to avoid reality, Donnelly explained.

The first three, the exploder, the imploder and the fixator, are biologically based on where people go when stressed, Donnelly said. And then the last two, the negator and the number, are based on strategies that people try to use on a regular basis to overcome or manage stress.

which one are you To find out, Donnelly said you should look for stress response patterns in yourself and others when you’re having a tough day.

I suggest that people ask their partners if they see a pattern and realize that you may not agree, but take a step back and be very curious about what your partner sees in you, Donnelly said. It’s really about trapping yourself and your partner in these repetitive approaches to stress.

Keep in mind that you can fall into several categories of stress language. Or some people may trigger different stress responses in you: you may respond differently to your parents, for example, than to your partner or your boss.

The importance of knowing your stress language

Just like meeting yours own love language and your partner’s, it is beneficial to understand how you and those around you manage stress. This way, you can anticipate how your friend, boss, or partner might react in an argument, which can help create a calmer interaction and make it easier to anticipate what they need in that moment.

Understanding the languages ​​of stress brings more understanding to your relationships, Donnelly said.

I think [stress languages are] helpful in the sense that they’re fun and you can learn a lot about yourself, said Christopher Hansen, a licensed professional counselor at Thriveworks in San Antonio. Although stress language is not an official clinical term, the idea has its place in mental health, he said.

Hansen compared understanding your stress language to being sick and not knowing what’s going on. Once you get a diagnosis, there’s a certain sense of relief, because you can finally put a name to what’s going on.

Identifying your, or someone else’s, stress language isn’t about pointing fingers, but simply a way to have better communication, Donnelly said.

Those terms can sound like labels, and my purpose is not to label people, Donnelly said. It’s really just creating a framework or a vernacular so that there is a way to understand others in your life.

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To figure out your stress language, think about your stress response patterns and talk to your loved ones about what they see in you.

In addition, it can be a good way to change problematic behaviors. It’s impossible to change a behavior if you don’t realize you’re doing it. Understanding how you respond to stress can be the first step to understanding how you act in an argument or other difficult situations.

For example, if your stress language is explosive and you have outbursts during stressful times, identifying your pattern of aggression will allow you to stop yourself the next time, Hansen noted. Or if you’re a fixer and tend to overstep your bounds in stressful situations, you can recognize it and catch yourself before it happens again.

Other ways to handle stress

Stress can wreak havoc on both your mental and physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can cause physical symptoms like headaches, chest pain, trouble sleeping, and fatigue, as well as emotional states like sadness, anger, overwhelm, and more.

Accumulated stress is probably the biggest cause of the development of anxiety and depressive disorders, Hansen said. Month, chronic stress it can lead to major problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.

These risks make it clear why you should manage stress as much as possible, either by understanding your stress language or making lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy routine, to help you maintain calm.

Routine is the secret to good stress hormones, says Elizabeth Shirtcliff, a research professor at the University of Oregon’s Center for Translational Neuroscience. he previously told HuffPost. To help manage stress, you can try to eat at the same time every day and have a bedtime routine, an exercise regimen, and regular hobbies that you rely on.

These will all be ways to help your body predict the day, so you won’t have to overdo it, Shirtcliff told HuffPost.

Beyond having a good baseline for stress management, in a stressful moment you can try an up-body response instead of a down response, Donnelly suggested. This means focus in your physical body instead of your mind. For example, try breathing exercises, instead of positive thinking, to put your body in a state of calm.

If you inhale to the count of three and exhale to the count of six, that will calm your nervous system a bit, Donnelly said.

What to do if you’re still stressed

Stress can become unbearable after a certain point, and no matter how familiar you are with your stress language, you may need additional support to cope, especially because chronic stress, which can lead to heart health problems, it is not easy to turn off.

The litmus test for whether something is a problem or not is whether it affects your relationships, your ability to work, your ability to have fun, to enjoy life, Hansen said. If you are withdrawing, these are all serious symptoms of a depressive or anxiety disorder.

If this sounds familiar, it’s a good idea to seek professional help, if possible. You can use databases like Psychology Today and Inclusive Therapists to find a mental health provider near you.

The biggest thing I always say [is]… it’s a sign of strength to admit you need help and get the right help, Hansen said.

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