Stress Relief for Mediators (INFPs)

Laura’s avatar

Because we don’t like to worry other people with our problems, Mediator (INFP) personality types sometimes act as if everything in our lives is sunshine and rainbows. Like anyone, though, we Mediators can get stressed out. Seriously stressed out. And when that happens, it can be hard to know where to turn for relief.

As Mediators, we are keenly sensitive to our own moods and feelings. We’re also attuned to the feelings of those around us. That’s why people often turn to Mediator personalities when they need reassurance or a shoulder to cry on. Most Mediators genuinely love to support and be there for other people. If we’re not careful, though, we can absorb additional stress from our friends, our loved ones, and even complete strangers.

When times are tough – whether for ourselves or others – Mediators feel it deeply. That depth of feeling is one of our greatest strengths, but at times, it can become overwhelming, making us feel stressed out and helpless.

In this situation, we may try to hide our stress from others, not wanting to worry anyone or give them any trouble. We might even try to hide our stress from ourselves, avoiding anything that reminds us of our problems.

I wish I could tell you that stress relief for Mediators is all about taking bubble baths and eating chocolate truffles, but it isn’t. These things have their place (Who doesn’t like chocolate truffles?), but they don’t offer a lasting solution. In the long term, the only way to stop our stress from escalating is to face it. So, what’s a stressed-out Mediator to do?

Here are three strategies Mediator personalities can use to deal with feelings of stress.

1. Take the First Step

This tip is for those of us who tend to put off dealing with the things that cause us stress. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t ever take a break. If you’re panicked over an essay you’re supposed to write, you might need to close your computer for a little while and take a walk outside, cuddle with your pet, or eat a snack.

But this approach can backfire if it’s taken too far. That’s why procrastinating on an assignment until the night before it’s due tends to create more stress, not less. Sure, avoidance may be a common way of dealing with stress, particularly among Mediator personality types – but that doesn’t mean that it’s helpful.

What to do: If you’re feeling stress or dread about something you’ve been putting off, take the first step. Not tomorrow, not in two hours, but now.

Make the step so small that you can do it within five minutes. For example, if you’ve been putting off writing a paper, write a single sentence. Maybe it’s not the best sentence you’ve ever written – in fact, it probably won’t be. But that’s fine – just writing the first sentence can help reduce the stress you’re feeling, so you can think a bit more clearly and keep going.

What not to do: Don’t wait until you feel like doing something – especially if that “something” is a difficult or unpleasant (but necessary) task that you’ve been putting off.

Because we Mediators are so in tune with our feelings, we often think that we need to feel a certain way in order to do something. In other words, we might think we need to wait until we feel ready, focused, or confident (or at least not super stressed) before we can make progress on a project that’s important to us. And while we wait for those “right” feelings to come, we often become more stressed and worried.

Here’s a secret: you don’t need to feel like doing something in order to make progress on it. So try taking the first step – even if you don’t feel totally ready. Often, it’s only by taking action and trying things that we can find feelings of confidence and capability.

2. Clean Your Room

“Hang on,” you might be thinking. “I have real problems to deal with. What does something as trivial as cleaning my room have to do with any of that?”

Here’s the thing: Mediator personalities tend to be very sensitive to their environment. We can’t control some aspects of our environment – such as the moods of the people around us – but we can make our homes as pleasant and peaceful as possible. You might find that a clean, uncluttered room helps you think more clearly and feel less distracted. At a minimum, tackling a few around-the-house chores can help you feel more effective and capable – and you can use these feelings to tackle stressors in other areas of your life.

What to do: Start by tidying one room or even a corner of a room.

Make your bed, clear off your desk, or pick your clothes up off the floor. If you have time, add an aesthetically pleasing touch, such as a flower in a bud vase or a potted plant. When you’re done, take a moment to enjoy how the space looks, and see if you can absorb a bit of the calm that you’ve created.

What not to do: Don’t worry about deep cleaning your whole house or apartment.

This isn’t an all-or-nothing operation, so don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. It’s okay if parts of your room or home are still messy – for now, just focus on making one area look good. And don’t obsess over this task as a way of procrastinating on dealing with other things (see Strategy #1: Take the first step). Clear a single area, and then move on.

3. Find the Good

“I’m so stressed – and I just can’t snap out of it.” If you’re a Mediator, chances are this thought – or one like it – has run through your head.

But being a Mediator doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re any worse at coping with stress than an Executive (ESTJ), a Commander (ENTJ), or any other personality type. It just means that you bring a different collection of strengths and weaknesses to times of stress.

One of Mediators’ most notable strengths is their ability to find the good in anyone and any situation. We can use this ability to reframe how we think about stress – and, in doing so, we can embrace mindsets that help mitigate that stress.

What to do: Imagine the advice you’d give to a friend who was stressed out.

What would you say to encourage them? How would you help them find the silver lining? Now take that advice, write it on a sticky note, and look at it whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Here’s an example of something you might write: “Stress sucks, but stressful situations are opportunities to grow. This will pass, and on the other side, you’ll be a more caring, compassionate, and capable person.”

What not to do: Don’t pretend that the situation isn’t hard.

You might be going through something really challenging right now – and it’s important to acknowledge that. Looking for the silver lining in a situation isn’t the same as being in denial or discounting how you feel. Be realistic, and be honest with yourself.

What Do You Do When Life Isn’t All Sunshine and Rainbows?

So, readers, how do you cope with stress? What strategies do you find helpful for your personality type – and what don’t you find helpful? Do you face your stressors head-on, or do you take the “bubble bath and chocolate truffles” route? Will you do anything differently after reading this article? Let us know in the comments section!

Further Reading

  • Are other people’s expectations stressing you out? Check out our advice on how not to be a pushover…even if you’re a Mediator.
  • Being too hard on yourself can make stress worse. We’ve got some tips on how Diplomats and other personality types can avoid that trap.
  • Sometimes our stress affects us in unexpected ways. If you’re a Mediator personality, you can probably relate to this real-world story: “The Angry Mediator.”