Recognizing & Managing Stress

Do you have certain practices that help you when you feel stressed or overwhelmed?

In my last post I talked about the importance of having practices in place so that when we begin to feel stressed due to conflict, we can manage that stress, and not become overwhelmed with a survival response.

When we are able to manage this, then our minds and emotions are more stable and able to address whatever conflict issue is at hand.

For personalities who tend to react like the “lion” personality, it can be very obvious when they have a stress response, because they tend to be outwardly vehement and angry, and even physically abusive.


If you tend to react this way, you may be familiar with a feeling of pumping adrenaline or a growing sense of rage that begins before an outburst.  These sensations can be great signs to alert you to take a step back from the situation, and go do something else for a little while.

The other personalities don’t tend to get as visibly agitated in the face of conflict, but they can and do get flooded with stress response chemicals just as much as the more verbal and angry “lion” responders.

The “opossum” personality’s tendency toward victimization can overwhelm them with just as strong of an anger that the lion personality experiences.


However, their response, when overwhelmed with stress and conflict is usually to succumb to what can be debilitating depression, self-pity, and/or passive-aggressiveness.

A big indicator that this is happening is when negative and depressive thoughts suddenly begin to overwhelm the mind.  Taking a walk and spending time listening to scripture, or even writing out their feelings as a way to get them outside of their mind, are some steps that this personality can take to better deal with stressful conflict in relationships.

Renewing the mind can be a huge help for this response to stress, because the “opossum”  tends to respond to conflict stress by holding the stress in and not letting it out in a significant way.

The “rabbit” personality response also tends to be less aggressive and less obvious as well.


Because this type tends to withdraw and run away in response to conflict, things like drinking too much, bingeing on food, starving oneself, abusing drugs, or turning to other addictive substances or practices may be what this type utilizes to deal with stress.

If you have this type of response to conflict, feelings of insatiable cravings for things that are not healthy, or not healthy in the amounts that you crave them, are often indicators that you may need to take a break from a conflict situation and de-stress.

Taking a moment to physically kneel down and pray, take a walk, or take a shower are a great way to get yourself away from tempting and addicting coping substances.

Watching TV (when used wisely, and not as your constant go-to) can also be very helpful in distracting and calming yourself until the stress response begins to go away.

Finally, talking with someone who is not involved in the situation, and who will listen and respond wisely is an excellent way to stay connected with community and not make yourself emotionally unavailable (and thus more prone to addictive tendencies).

The final conflict personality type, the “deer.”  If you tend to react like the deer – freezing up – then there are a few indicators that you may need to take a step back from a conflict situation when it gets too stressful.


Feelings of panic, fear, trouble breathing, or digestive distress are important indicators that you should take a step back from dealing with conflict, and de-stress first.  Talking to someone who can encourage you and help you calm down is a great first step.

Renewing the mind, taking a relaxing bath, or listening to calming music are also good ways to reduce your stress.

Ultimately, renewing your mind and taking time to pray is the best way to help stop yourself from becoming emotionally overstressed.

It is so important to hold on to hope in every conflict situation, and to know that no matter what happens, God has a hope and future for you.

What practices do you have that help you de-stress in a healthy way?

I’d love to hear them!



The information shared in this post is from EMI’s Redeeming Conflict workbook from their “Redeeming Conflict” class.


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