Health & Wellness Articles

10 High-Stress Personality Characteristics

Chronic Stress Isn't Normal

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”?
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • Time to re-evaluate. - 1/14/2016 12:55:23 AM
  • 7 out of 10. And judging from the older comments, there's never been a list of solutions posted. I think my biggest is that I've forgotten how to play. - 11/23/2015 5:22:19 PM
  • so not me. used to exhibit some but not anymore.! - 11/23/2015 1:43:34 PM
  • None of the above and still overstressed. - 11/23/2015 1:14:55 PM
  • #2 and #5 with a little bit of # 3 - that nails me - 11/23/2015 6:59:37 AM
    I don't think I really match many of these items; instead, I am opposite and I think that is what causes so much stress in my life. I just don't really care. - 5/30/2015 6:33:17 PM
  • Weel, it seems I have most of these characteristics..
    . No wonder I cannot imagine how it feels to be NOT stressed! - 2/19/2015 9:31:25 AM
    Yup. Couldn't describe me better. I have no clue how to combat this though. None. It would have been nice to give some suggestions. I would love to take some of those tendencies out of my personality. - 2/9/2015 10:07:11 AM
  • I have too many of these characteristics!! It is hard for me to relax and let go and I MUST HAVE outside validation. But--being semi-retired, I am learning to let things go! - 10/21/2014 6:52:16 PM
  • Only # 7 didn't apply to me. I despise being late and will be 30 minutes early to prevent being late. I've totally forgotten how to have fun. If I ever knew. - 10/20/2014 7:37:20 PM
    Oh my. There was only one on the list that did not describe me!!
    - 9/8/2014 9:41:18 PM
  • I found myself agreeing with each point, not surprising. On a good note, just got a check up and all tests were good. I would attribute exercise to the good news, great stress reliever. - 8/18/2014 5:55:05 AM
  • Like other comments on here, I meet each characteristic on this list. I know this about myself. My question is where is the article to help manage these personality characteristics. By the nature of who we are, a lot of us most likely work in high-demand/high-
    stress environments. Deep breathing is great, it is, but what else can we do- cognitively speaking- to manage this? Thanks!! - 8/14/2014 8:27:09 AM
  • Umm, Great, now I know for certain that I have a high stress personality. I'm not sure why I would have read this article if I didn't suspect that already. Is there going to be a follow up article to help me with these feelings? Yeah, I know I need to change, but knowing how is what I was looking for in this article. - 5/29/2014 9:45:21 AM
    Okay, we've seen the list of symptoms. So where's the list of cures? What good is listing symptoms if there's no followup list for how to reduce or eliminate these symptoms? Sites like this one all seem to be the same; they're very good at identifying problems but lacking in assistance to overcome them - unless they're peddling a "miracle cure" to make themselves rich.
    Impatient and Disgusted - 5/4/2014 12:55:05 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by March 22! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.