What Is Stress?



What Is Stress?

Stress Factors and Energy Thieves

Anger is one thing. Stress is another. Sometimes one is a consequence of the other, but not always. Some people become angry because of stress; others become stressed because of anger. When we speak about stress, we often mean the feeling of having too much to do and too little time to do it. There’s not enough time to do everything at work and then on top of that factor in the time needed to go to the gym, meet with friends, spend time with family, do various kinds of recreational activities, oh, and maybe sleep.

However, the stress that makes us truly suffer is often due to things apart from a lack of time. If you feel pressure and have high expectations about what you will do and how you are meant to be, you can become stressed, even if you aren’t really pressed for time.

Pressure, demands, and expectations create stress and can make you feel self-critical and powerless. You may find it difficult to sleep or may feel physical pain in your body. Simply put, the feeling of stress arises when we experience greater demands and expectations than we can cope with.

Different People React Differently to Stress: What a Surprise!

Seriously, though, all of us react differently to stress. Different people can experience the same event in different ways, and a person can experience similar events differently at different times. The things you have been through in the past and how you are feeling right now all have an effect on how you act and react.

If you’re well rested and feeling fine, you could experience a tough week at work as an invigorating challenge, despite your heavy workload. But if you’re tired and feeling down on yourself, you may experience the same week as something horrible and demoralizing.

How does your color affect your stress? It says nothing about your stress threshold (that is, how much stress you can bear). But it can say something about what stresses you and how you’ll react to stress. Previously, I mentioned the concept of driving forces—whatever forces motivate me to get up out of bed every morning, dash to work, and go the extra mile. This book doesn’t deal with this dimension, but it’s easy to see that we become stressed when we feel that we’re spending too much time on the wrong things.

Once you’ve understood what the most important stress factors in your life are, you’ll be better equipped to avoid them when possible. If you’re a manager responsible for a number of people and you know their behavior profiles, you can avoid the worst pitfalls. A great deal of stress can be avoided if you know how. And you can retain the group’s productivity.

The rest of the chapter is written with an element of irony, and I urge you to read it in that way.

Stress Factors for Reds

If you would like to stress out a Red, you can try one of the following to lower his self-confidence.

Take Every Form of Authority Away

Not being involved in decision-making is really difficult for a Red. He always believes that he has better ideas and so he also believes that he should be the one in charge of the project.

Achieve No Results Whatsoever

“If we’re not making immediate headway, then all our work has been a waste.” Such an insight can trigger severe stress reactions in a Red, and those around him should be on their guard. He’ll look for scapegoats.

Eliminate Any Kind of Challenge

If everything is too easy, it becomes boring. Red behavior hinges on one thing: the ability to handle problems and difficult challenges. If there are no problems to solve, then Reds will lack stimulation. They’ll become passive, believing that they have absolutely nothing to do. They can slow down the pace, and this can be difficult to reverse.

Waste Time and Resources and Work as Inefficiently as Possible 

Just sitting around doing nothing is a waste of time. Not that this is necessarily what we’re actually doing, but, in the mind of a Red, if you don’t get the maximum productivity out of your time, it’s wasteful and particularly stressful from a managerial perspective. He is probably evaluated on the organization’s efficiency.

Make Sure That Everything Becomes a Routine

Mundane and repetitive tasks are the kiss of death for a Red. It’s simply boring. Reds lose their concentration and will find something else to do. Routine work is not what they’re good at. They’re lousy at details, and they know it. Someone else needs to take care of the dull, routine work, because a Red believes that he has a better understanding of the big picture.

Make a Bunch of Stupid Mistakes

Mistakes are one thing, but stupid mistakes, well, that’s something completely different. It’s so overwhelmingly unnecessary. If a Red believes his colleagues are brainless, he gets crazy: “Why don’t they understand what they’re supposed to do? How hard can it be?”

Give Him No Control over Others

A Red’s need for control can be extensive. It’s not about controlling facts and details. They want to control people. What they do, how they do it, and so on. Without this control, a Red gets very frustrated.

Tell Him Regularly to Cool Down or to Lower His Voice 

They get crazy when people say that they’re angry when they’re not. They will always be a little more hot-tempered than average, but this doesn’t actually mean that they’re angry. And it’s precisely this accusation that can get them to become angry—really angry.

What Does a Red Do When He Gets Stressed and Feels Pressured?

He blames everyone else. As a Red is often surrounded by idiots, it’s easy for him to single out scapegoats. And he can easily overdo things when he wants to take someone to task for having made a mess of things. Be aware! That’s my advice to you, because you’ll feel the sting of his wrath.

Reds are always more demanding than other colors. They expect a lot from themselves, and they expect a lot from you. When under stress, they’re also excessively demanding and driven—much more than usual.

The Red will shut out his other colleagues. He becomes closed, burrows into the task at hand, and works even harder. Remember that his anger and frustration is lurking just beneath the surface, so please be careful about what you do in his presence.

Can I Help Reds to Manage Their Stress?

If you have the authority to give a direct order, the answer is simple: Ask them to get a hold of themselves. It actually works. Another way to make it easier for Reds in stressful situations is to send them home and tell them to do some physical exercise—anything to burn some of that frustrated, restless energy. Send them to a place where they can run in some kind of competition, spending their energy on winning something that will be of no importance to the group. When they come back, most of their aggression will have dissipated.

Stress Factors for Yellows

If for any reason, you would like to get a Yellow to feel stress, try one of the following to get him off balance.

Pretend He’s Invisible

You remember a Yellow’s driving impulse, right? “Look at me! Here I am!” If you want to get him off balance, simply make him feel invis ible. If he’s not visible, then he doesn’t exist. He feel ignored and overlooked, and this is guaranteed to cause stress.

Become Very Skeptical

Any person manifesting lots of skepticism is very negative, something that stresses Yellows. They want to see the positive and the light and consider even everyday realists to be prophets of doom. Pessimism and negativity effectively kill Yellows’ enthusiasm and cause them to feel tense.

Structure Work as Much as Possible 

Just like Reds, Yellows shun routine, repetitive tasks and jam-packed schedules. They happily create schedules for others, but they can’t follow them themselves. Force them into one of your plans and you’ll see how your Yellow friends will begin to unravel.

Isolate Him from the Rest of the Group

For a Yellow, the absence of someone to talk to is perhaps the worst thing ever. It’s the end of the world. Because they need to talk, there must be someone there to listen. Being trapped in an office space with only a desk for company is a punishment worse than death. It’s like being deported to Siberia.

Make Clear That It’s Inappropriate to Joke at Work

“No joking around and no sense of humor? Is this a funeral parlor?” I once got exactly that comment from a Yellow who discovered that consultants didn’t have time to monkey about. She was very stressed out by all the seriousness and left before her probation period was over.

Push a Yellow to Think Carefully Beforehand—Twice 

Suppressing a Yellow’s spontaneity is like holding down the lid on a saucepan when the milk is boiling over. It simply doesn’t work. It creates a terrible mess, and everyone gets involved when Yellows—loudly and intensely—invite everyone else into their stress spiral. Remember that a Yellow’s stress will always be noticed. Don’t believe otherwise.

Continuously Squabble and Fuss About Insignificant Things 

Having to face incessant confrontations is exhausting. This is something of a paradox, because Yellows aren’t afraid of conflict like Greens. But if there’s too much bickering, it will disrupt their desire for fun and positivity, which causes stress. They can cope with squabbling, but when it becomes too much, Yellows won’t be at the top of their game and they lose their usual luster.

Try a Little Public Humiliation

A Yellow who has been given negative feedback in the presence of others won’t be a pleasant sight to behold. It’s enough to make him never speak to you again. Moreover, he’ll also become incredibly defensive, and you’ll achieve nothing at all.

What Does a Yellow Do When He Gets Stressed and Feels Pressured?

Be prepared for the fact that he’ll draw attention to himself even more than usual. His ego makes it impossible for him not to seek out more attention and affirmation, since he has to compensate for the negative feelings of stress. This means that he’ll actively look for attention, which makes him feel better. The risk is that he’ll talk too much and force himself into the center of everything.

Maybe you thought that this wasn’t possible, but he also runs the risk of becoming excessively and unrealistically optimistic. You’ve never experienced a real challenge until you’ve tried to cope with a truly stressed-out Yellow. He’ll come up with plans that are so wild and outlandish that not even he can believe them. This is just a natural coping mechanism for him.

Can I Help Yellows to Manage Their Stress?

Let a Yellow organize a party. He urgently needs to meet people in social contexts. He can sink very deep into his own misery if he remains under stress for too long. When things are at their worst, suggest a pub crawl, a party, or why not just a simple barbeque? It doesn’t need to be fancy, but make sure he gets to enjoy himself for a while. Also, make sure that it’s fun!

Stress Factors for Greens

If you, for any reason, would like to get a Green to feel stress, I propose the following unpleasant things.

Take Every Form of Security Away from Him

Give him tasks that he’s never done before without explaining anything whatsoever to him. But, at the same time, expect perfect implementation. Leave him alone in meetings with people who place unreasonable demands on him. Don’t support him when things heat up in a conversation. Send an angry Red to rant at him. The stress will soon follow.

Leave Lots of Loose Ends

Unfinished tasks and loose ends are deeply disturbing. Greens like to know how things fit together, and when they don’t understand how the process works it won’t go well. Unfinished projects—things that have been started but are drawn out without any end in sight—really mess things up for Greens. This is why Yellows are phenomenal at causing stress for Greens.

Hang Around Him Constantly

If a Green doesn’t get his private space, if there’s nowhere he can withdraw from the world, he gets very stressed. He likes other people, of course, but he needs to be alone with himself also. If this isn’t possible, then he can’t think anymore.

Make Lightning-Fast Changes and Unexpected Changes of Direction 

This is the specialty of Reds and Yellows. Quick decisions that they don’t always explain. Greens are miserable when they’re forced into making unexpected and rapid changes, and they often respond by ending up in a state of absolute indifference. The worst kind of change is when a Green gets an order in the morning and just as he begins to reflect on how he will do it a counterorder comes.

Ask Him “Would You Be So Good as to Redo the Whole Thing from Beginning to End?”

Having to redo a task is synonymous with failure. If something must be redone, it can only be because your work wasn’t good enough the first time. In other words, negative feedback. By extension, this means that you’re not good enough as a person, which, of course, is extremely stressful.

Tell a Green, “Look Here! We Can’t Agree on Absolutely Everything.”

Disagreements in a work group or in the family inevitably lead to stress. Only troublemakers enjoy conflict. Friction in the most impor tant group, the family, is particularly serious. A Green won’t know what he should do.

Push Him into the Spotlight

Under no circumstances will Greens want to take center stage when they’re in larger groups. Groups of more than three people would be considered large groups unless the Green knew everyone very well. If you force a Greens into such a situation, he’ll just stare at his feet. Everyone can see how uneasy he is, and the rest of the group will also be stressed. Not good.

What Does a Green Do When He Gets Stressed and Feels Pressured?

He becomes very reserved and almost cold. His body language becomes rigid and closed, and if you’re the one who triggered his stress he won’t have anything to do with you. Some Greens can exhibit strong apathy. They become cold and unsympathetic even towards people whom, in normal circumstances, they care very much about.

They also become very hesitant and uncertain. Stress makes Greens insecure and afraid of making mistakes. It can be at work but also at home. If a child gets sick, a Green becomes passive and just looks on, because he’s afraid of doing the wrong thing. He’ll also internalize the blame for the situation and may become completely closed.

At work, it may be slightly different. It depends. Many Greens end up in a rut of obstinacy or stubbornness, provoking those around them by refusing to change anything. Even when they see that a particular method is not working well, they can refuse to act. It seems strange, but the typical Green stubbornness gets the upper hand and prevents them from doing anything.

Can I Help Greens to Manage Their Stress?

Allow them to do nothing. Give them free time for things like gardening, sleep, or other forms of relaxation. Maybe something like sending them off to a movie—not with a large group of people, but possibly on their own—or giving them a good book that takes two days to read. They don’t really want to do anything. Let them do nothing until the stress subsides. Then they’ll be back to their normal selves.

Stress Factors for Blues

If you, for any reason, would you like to get a Blue to feel stress, just upset every one of his calculations.

Tell Him, “You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About.”

You may think that Blues don’t take criticism personally, but if they believe that the criticism is untrue and unfounded, it can be very hard on them. Not because they’re afraid of conflict, or that your relationship will suffer, but because their sense of perfection is being besmirched.

Have the Management Team Make a Spontaneous Decision 

A Blue is often okay with change, because he doesn’t ever consider anything completely perfect. But he needs to know the motivations behind the change. If it’s not in the plan, then it’s unplanned, and a lack of planning indicates poor structure—not good. Inevitably, this leads to headaches.

Tell Him, “This Could Be Risky or Uncertain, but We’re Going to Go Ahead Anyway.”

There’s a certain amount of risk in everything. A Blue sees risks everywhere. If a Red were to say that jumping from a plane without a parachute is a huge risk, a Blue would say that it’s risky to buy a new lawn mower. You never really know what can happen. And the faster things go, the greater the risks become.

Surprise Him with Something like “Your In-laws Are Coming Over Unannounced! Fantastic!”

It’s a matter of order and structure, of working at a relaxed pace or renovating the kitchen according to a clearly established plan. If half the family were to drop in all of a sudden, it would upset everything. You should never try to surprise a Blue. Since he may not have communicated his own plans completely, you can create quite a problem.

Say, “Whoopsadaisy, What Happened Here?”

Mistakes are made by blockheads and careless people. Blues don’t make mistakes, so when everyone else makes a mess of things and disrupts his plans a Blue might simply close the door and refuse to listen. He doesn’t want to hear that the project has crashed; he just wants to keep doing his part—even if that task no longer makes any sense.

Tell Him, “Forget About the Bureaucracy. Let’s Innovate!”

“Don’t you have any imagination? We have to be a bit more flexible here.” This is a great way to get a Blue to lose his footing at work. People who break the rules and go against the regulations are to be regarded with suspicion, and you need to keep them on a short leash. If a Blue realizes that he’s in the hands of an organization that pays no attention whatsoever to proper procedures, he can show considerable resistance.

Remind Him, “We Simply Need to Take Bigger Risks.”

A variation on the preceding point. Right is right, and proper preparation is the be-all and end-all, the Alpha and Omega. It even says so in a book. So when a Blue can’t prepare himself in his (sometimes extremely cumbersome) way, it triggers stress. He’s the opposite of spontaneous, and you simply can’t force a Blue to respond to a situation before he’s had time to acquaint himself with the subject. He’ll have so many reservations he won’t be any use.

Surround Him with Overly Emotional People

Nope. Sloppy sentimentality is downright unpleasant. It’s messy and awkward, and a Blue doesn’t like it. Logic is what counts, and if you overlook this, he’ll find it very trying. He’ll make himself scarce, and he’ll never forget that you’re an overly emotional person who doesn’t use your brain in the same way he uses his.

What Does a Blue Do When He Gets Stressed and Feels Pressure?

He becomes excessively pessimistic. Oh yes. It actually gets worse than usual. Suddenly everything becomes pitch black, and he falls into a pit of despair. Lethargy is common, and nothing is of interest anymore. Gloom and doom will rain down on all of us. He also gets unbearably pedantic. When they feel stress, many people increase their pace in order to compensate. Not a Blue. He stomps on the brakes. Now isn’t the time for making any mistakes. Those around him can expect constant criticism. He’ll suddenly point out every little mistake he observes—and there are quite a few. He might also become an unbearable know-it-all.

Can I Help Blues to Manage Their Stress?

They need privacy. They must be given time and space to think. They want to analyze the situation and understand the connections, and they need to be given time to do just that. If you give them space, they will come back—eventually. But if they fall too deeply into a funk, you may need to offer them more proactive help.

Conclusion: What can we learn from studying different people under stress? When under stress an individual’s normal conduct and behavior are reinforced and exaggerated. A Red becomes even tougher and more aggressive towards those around him, a Yellow becomes more sulky and unstructured, a Green becomes even more passive and noncommittal than usual, and a Blue can become completely closed and split hairs so thin that they’re not even visible to the naked eye.

The most important thing is to avoid stressing people unnecessarily. Of course you knew that already, but it can be helpful to understand what actually causes stress for each profile. To push a Red is not as stressful as pushing a Green or a Blue. On the contrary, you have to push a Red for him to bounce back. If everything were to go smoothly, he would just get bored.

The situation, your profile, the time of day, the level of work, the group, the weather—lots of things determine stress in our lives. But if you pay attention, it will work out perfectly.


Which book you would like to read next? Comment Below.

Don't forget to share this post!


Popular posts from this blog

Wealth is What You Don't See

The art of staying young while growing old

‘Making People Glad To Do What You Want'