I’ll confess. I take them. Do you?  

Maybe at your doctor’s office while flipping through a magazine. Or when skimming the internet late at night. While checking Facebook or LinkedIn on the train. You come across the quiz that will reveal all.  

The assessment that will give you some insight into your unique situation , identify your unique, signature stress reaction in 10 questions or less!).  

Our biggest common denominator in life is dealing with people all day long – every darn day – in all kinds of circumstances.  It doesn’t matter what industry or job you hold, what neighborhood you live in, or what hobbies you practice – you’ll find people everywhere . And, because people are difficult at times (yep, you too), it makes sense you’d like to have a leg up on exactly what you’re dealing with.  

 We all like an inside edge.

Signature Stress Style  

I’ve been drawn to these types of assessments since I was a kid, I guess in hopes of trying to make sense out of people in general, myself included. I’m fascinated by the patterns that inevitably emerge when we look at how we all behave. Patterns that run us unconsciously until we’re able to identify and shift them.

Of course, difficult situations can reveal patterns too—but not when you’re right in the middle of one! A handy quiz couldn’t hurt, right?

Honestly, it’s comforting to know that my quirky traits and unique behaviors are not really so unique after all–I share patterns with many others too. Maybe you.  By tuning in and noticing your Signature Stress Style, you can learn to shift it. With awareness you can transform stress and grow your resilience (and be on your way to dealing more effectively with those pesky people!).


First off, and most accessible, is to catch yourself being yourself, doing that thing you do that keeps you from handling life’s stresses and intensities well.  

That thing, has become a habit; it has a shape, a pattern, a style. For example, that thing you do could: 

  • Look like needing to be in control. 
  • Look like not caring or caring too much. 
  • Look like freaking out, falling apart, or being stoic. 
  • Look like shutting down at the first hint of tension. 
  • Look like anger and rage or sustained irritability.  
  • Look like needing to be rescued. 
  • Look like many things . . .  

Let’s take a look at an example.  

Maybe you’ve been wanting to reduce your work stress, but won’t stop working 12-hour days because you’re too afraid of what the Big Boss will think; you’re too nervous to even make a simple request for some time off.  You are clearly out of alignment with what’s important to you. This knowledge is gold!  

Why? Because you can begin to hone your awareness by Catching Yourself Being Yourself , allowing you to shift into your habits to work more effectively for you. 


Take a moment to reflect on the scenarios below. Picture yourself in each of them and allow yourself to feel into your own experience of  each-what thoughts arise, feelings emerge, body sensations occur.  

  • I knew she planned to move; I just didn’t think it would be so soon! I wasn’t really prepared and now I’m facing a setback of at least 3-4 months. I wish she’d been more forthright with about the timing. It all seems to be spinning out of control. UGH!  


  • Okay, I didn’t see that one coming – at all! In fact, I’ve felt pretty on top of things here lately. To receive this totally unexpected news, is well, a total shock to my system. Man, my good faith belief in him just flew out the window, along with my energy and motivation. What am I supposed to do now?! 


  • I’ve been anticipating a great response to this proposal, but they have not gotten back with me yet. My anxiety is creeping up each day. What will happen if we don’t get this big project? I mean, we’ve all been counting on it, and shepherding it for the better part of 6 months. Wow, I’m really on edge about this and doubting myself. 


So, how did you respond while reading?   

Was there an uptick in your heart rate? Racing thoughts about that tricky conversation you had last week? Feeling irritated or thinking, Ugh, I’ve been there too often–it stinks!  

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a bead on what others have done in these types of circumstances so you could learn from their experience?  While the examples are common, these stresses can undo us, run us and have each of us reacting with our very own signature stress style.  


Signature Stress Style  

 Do you know yours?  

When you do know it, it’s likely familiar to you and obvious to everyone around you, it can make life a whole lot easier. Yes, really.  

A few questions can help shed light on your signature stress style

  • How do you deal with the unexpected? 
  • How important is it to have control over outcomes? 
  • How often do you feel anxious and “stressed out?” 
  • How do you deal with others who irritate you? 
  • How often do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? 

Your answers reveal a lot about your usual reactions. Make note of them and intentionally observe yourself over the next couple of weeks. Get more intimate with your repeating patterns.

Stay tuned for my upcoming quiz to zero in on your Signature Stress Style and some practical ways you can shift it.