What’s Your Stress Mode?

Did you know that we move into one or more of four modes of behaviors and reactions when we are under pressure? Hence, we either tend to blame others, appease them, distract their attention or become cool/cold and very reasonable? These are body language positions that convey the emotions of Stress Responders and are particularly useful for understanding people who are speaking. They may be used not just to express stress but also in talking with others to elicit particular responses.

So, the Blamer mode (”It’s all her fault”) finds fault with anyone and everyone else, but himself/herself of course.

The Appeaser (”I am so sorry, but…”) takes the blame on himself and tends to apologize to others for upsetting them.

The Distracter (tries to distract people’s attention as a way of defusing tension and inter personal conflict, while the Computer mode avoids responding emotionally and focus on facts.

Sound familiar? In what category would you place yourself when you experience stress , in other words, when things go wrong or when you are not getting what you want?

Most of us move onto automatic pilot and thus fall into one of these four modes. If you ask me which is the best or worst mode? None of these actually as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. This is why Virginia Satir, an American therapist known for her approach to a family therapy came up wit the 5th mode called Leveller which is actually not being a stress mode but rather an approach to aim for the skill to develop. ”Leveller” mode means that we are crossing to act in a manner which is appropriate to the situation.

Mrs Satir used the communication categories to help her patients, actually individual members of a family to raise awareness of their in congruent behaviour, in other words, when your mind thinks one thing, but your body does another. The fact is that you can fake it as long as you want, but your body and your non verbal communication will emit signals to other people, such as that people intuitively sense when you aren’t congruent and this in return can trigger conflict.

What’s Your Stress mode? The fact is that we can’t have all but we can always be in charge of how we deal with our life as well as of our attitude towards what is going on around us, can we?

To sum up – knowing the effect of the Satir categories or , I prefer modes on others can be very powerful way for you to have a positive effect and ensure influence and desired outcome. It can also help you to change your behaviour if you aren’t happy with it for some reasons and you want to modify or improve them, you can learn and apply in your behavior number of communication styles. If you manage to adopt the assertive style of the 5th Satir mode you’ll be more successful in resolving conflict situations. Why so? Because ”levelers” usually do not fake their emotions but they’re rather tuned with them. Secondly, they are fully problem solving focused individuals having capacity to be aware of other people’s perspectives.

You Ate Not Your Behaviour!