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10 High-Stress Personality Characteristics

Chronic Stress Isn't Normal
  -- By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer & Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer
Stress has been so ingrained in our days and in our culture, that we probably don’t even recognize it any more. We may believe that the general underlying sense of uneasiness we feel is normal and acceptable. Or we might blame the tension and stress we experience—in traffic, at work or at home—more on what’s happening “to” us than what’s happening “within” us.
 
The problem with this attitude is that it brings on a sense of helplessness, that there’s nothing we can do about stress other than cope. This thought alone is a source of stress, isn’t it?
 
When you realize that the stress you experience may have something to do with you, it helps you take control and start to solve the problem. Here are 10 personality traits that are symptoms of being highly stressed. Some are characteristics that, by their nature, add even more stress to your life. This list will help you recognize if you are highly stressed and give you ideas for doing something about it.
 
How many of these qualities do you exhibit?
 
  1. Over-planning each day. Do you feel the need to stick to a strict schedule? Do you live in fear of falling behind or overlooking a task?
     
  2. Doing several things at once. With too much to do and not enough time, it’s easy to think that “efficient” means doing everything at once. He who chases two rabbits catches neither.
     
  3. Extreme need to win. Do you feel like a failure if you don’t come out on top—even when the only competition is your own expectations?
     
  4. Excessive desire for advancement. Highly stressed people need confirmation from outside sources that they’re doing okay and performing well.
     
  5. Inability to relax without feeling guilty. Do your weekends become opportunities for “accomplishment” and “getting something done.”
     
  6. Impatience with delays. When you’re under pressure, everything in life takes on urgency and the additional burdens to get everything done as fast as possible.
     
  7. Overcommittment. Are you chronically late or forgetful of commitments? Does your schedule cause problems in personal or professional relationships?
     
  8. Chronic urgency. See #6. Now!
     
  9. Highly competitive drive. Have you forgotten what it’s like to have fun for fun’s sake? Have you “grown up” so much that playtime actually causes you anxiety? 
     
  10. Compulsion to overwork. Is your office more familiar to you than your backyard? Do you find yourself missing out on what you might otherwise deem “meaningful”?