Understanding INFJ Anxiety and Being “In The Grip”

We all get anxious sometimes. It’s normal to feel a little stressed before an important meeting or when stuck in traffic. But for some people, anxiety can be a constant, paralyzing force. If you’re an INFJ, you may be one of those people.

INFJs are known for their intuitive minds and deep empathy for others, but these traits can also make them more prone to anxiety and stress. In this post, we’ll explore what causes INFJ anxiety and how to manage it.

Are INFJs prone to anxiety?

There’s no easy answer to this question because it largely depends on the individual INFJ and their specific circumstances. However, there are some things about the INFJ personality that may make them more prone to anxiety.

For one, INFJs are often perfectionists, and they can be hard on themselves when they don’t meet their own high standards. This can lead to a lot of self-criticism and anxiety.

Additionally, INFJs are often very caring and sensitive people. They may feel the weight of the world on their shoulders at times, carrying the burdens of others while neglecting their own needs. This can also lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Also, being an introvert can feel inherently stressful, especially in a fast-paced world that is constantly “on.” INFJs may feel like they can’t keep up or are somehow wrong for wanting to slow down and retreat.

woman lying on bed covering her face from INFJ stress
INFJ anxiety and grip stress

What causes INFJ anxiety?

Again, this will vary from individual to individual, but there are some scenarios that seem to be universally stressful for INFJs of all stripes.

  1. Loud, crowded spaces. INFJs have a low tolerance for overly raucous spaces. They need time to process information and they feel overwhelmed in environments with too much sensory input.
  2. Change. INFJs are planners and they like things to be predictable. They don’t enjoy surprises, which can lead to a lot of stress when changes happen that they weren’t expecting. They’re not ones for spontaneity or going with the flow either.
  3. Having their feelings ignored or invalidated. INFJs are deeply emotional people and they put a lot of stock into their feelings. When someone dismisses or ignores their feelings, it feels like a personal attack (even when it’s not meant to be) and can be very anxiety-inducing.
  4. Being overwhelmed with responsibility. INFJs often take on more than they can handle because they want to help others and make a difference in the world. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety when they feel like they can’t keep up or are constantly behind.
  5. Doing things they’re not good at. INFJs have a lot of strengths, but there are also some things that they don’t excel at. This can be very frustrating for them. Some people thrive under new challenges, but INFJs are easily derailed by things that don’t come naturally to them.

Do INFJs get easily overwhelmed?

Yes, INFJs can definitely get overwhelmed easily. When they’re feeling bombarded by too much information or too many demands on their time and energy, they can quickly become overwhelmed and anxious.

Also, INFJs are cerebral creatures who spend a lot of time in their internal worlds. Sometimes this translates to external factors getting blown out of proportion. If something is causing them stress, it can feel like a full-blown emergency to the INFJ.

Related Post: Understanding INFJ Rage

What do INFJs do when stressed?

You can tell when an INFJ is feeling stressed out because they will usually start to withdraw from the world. They may stop responding to texts or emails, stop going to social events, or simply bury themselves in their work.

Interestingly enough, when INFJs get stressed out, their intuition can start to run amuck. They might start doing things like:

  • Overthinking situations
  • Spending too much time ruminating
  • Overanalyzing situations
  • Having intrusive thoughts
  • Trying to find patterns and connections where there aren’t any

Understanding INFJ Grip Stress

In the extreme, a stressed-out INFJ might experience what is called “grip stress.” Grip stress is when you’ve exhausted all your mental faculties trying to manage stress and have burned out.

Grip stress is not unique to INFJs – anyone can experience it. To be in the “grip” means you’ve pushed past your limits so far that you essential flip your internal, dominant function.

For an INFJ, that means flipping to your least favorite cognitive function: extroverted sensing. Being in the “grip” means indulging in behavior that goes against your natural tendencies. It is a type of imbalance.

An INFJ experiencing “grip” stress will slip into indulgent behaviors like binge-watching shows or leaning into mindless activity. Maybe you turn up the music really loudly to drown out your thoughts (something that normally drives an INFJ crazy). More dangerous iterations of this look like binge drinking alcohol or using food to deal with stress that has become untenable.

How to Get Rid of INFJ Grip Stress

There’s no quick and easy way to get rid of “grip” stress, but recognizing that you’re “in the grip” is a solid first step.

Essentially, you need to find ways to restore balance to your inner world. This might look like unplugging from social media or other distractions, spending some time alone in nature, focusing on therapy or mindfulness, or even taking a solo trip somewhere to reset.

Another helpful strategy is to find healthy ways to indulge your extroverted sensing function.

Binge eating or maxing out your credit card online is not healthy. But what you can do is go on a sensory walk in nature or cook a complex, indulgent meal. The idea is to find a healthy outlet to indulge your senses and protect yourself from going overboard.

Final thoughts on INFJ Anxiety and INFJ Grip Stress

INFJs are not alone in their propensity for stress and anxiety. In fact, many people experience some level of stress or anxiety on a daily basis. The good news is that there are healthy ways to manage this stress. Recognizing when your stress and anxiety levels have become untenable is an important step in restoring balance to your inner world. Have you ever been “in the grip” of INFJ stress? Tell us about it!

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