Holiday mood…

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine”…and stress. Do you know the pressure of perfectionism this time of the year? If the end of year tasks wouldn’t be enough at your workplace there is still a long list of must dos at home: spotless cleanliness, delicious meal for Christmas Eve and beyond, finding the perfect gift for everyone (in some cases even finding the perfect gift for your spouse’s family members as well), creating harmony (haha…. you are already too anxious and hardly can calm down… so, good luck on that), travel around half of the globe to visit family members and even find a little time for yourself when you can practice mindfulness and recharge for next year.

I know, I am in a really easy situation, as I don’t actually have to deal with any of the above mentioned situations: once I get into a crowded shop filled with tired, stressed people in a hurry, I just simply get out of the shop without buying anything. But when I get into a stressful situation at my workplace, I want everyone else to get out of my way and let me think it through, build up strategy and just to vent first.


As you can see, I put an equal sign between stress and bad as well in my mind, even though there wouldn’t be invention, creation and sometimes not even solution without stress in our lives. The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. Well, can we agree, that some demand of change can be exciting and joyful? That is the so called “eustress”, when there is no threat or fear, just feeling excitement and being motivated to focus on work and study even better. Experiencing too much good stress can turn into bad, so called “distress” though.

I was talking to my colleague, Director of the Leadership and Flow Research Program, Prof. Zoltan Buzady about how the 6 different type of people react to stress. He said:

– Well, the first type of person which comes to my mind is actually the one you Judit have also described above, is one of the Thinker-types (2)

  • The logical: typically starts blaming others for not being well prepared, or fast or good enough, if stress continues, and he remains – because of himself – finally totally alone in this many tasks. He then gets to the wrong conclusion of not having had a good enough plan after all, and then ends up blaming himself for all that.
  • Persistor– the man of principle. Close to the logical one, there is another thinker type, it is the person who places great emphasis on values and principles. This person also reacts rather similarly under distress, getting more and more rigid  and frozen in the world of would-be-ideal principles.
– The third type is the Harmonizer, who gets into streess when others are in stress. What do I mean by this? This person is oversensitive for the general mood, and is nervous when disharmony, tention or let alone conflict between others(!) arises in his environment.
– The Promoter needs physical activity, needs action to strive. When others retrieve into their own families and ‘safe-havens’ and this person remains alone for a few days, he get so distressed by not having someone to “play” with or to manipulate or to interact, that he get into his least favored zone – ie. being alone, which over the year he can normally easily avoid by being constant on the move or in the vogue.
Dreamers: they imagine actions, cause they procrastinate. They have to be left alone, but are over-passive. They love to be in their rich inner wold, but the xmas season is a period of intensified company and collegial/client meetings, when one is being visited at home by more family members then during the rest of the year. What a horrible idea for a dreamer! ‘When will they finally get out of my life?’ – they wonder.
Rebel-type of persons are reactive and ideal detectors of fake and phony social constructs – they get first annoyed by the ever extending commercial xmas pre-season, the shopping craze, and then more agitated by the superficial xmas wishes and all-is-happy holiday glaze. ‘Where is the real love of this period?’ – they ask themselves and turn into associal hedgehogs, if they attend a xmas party at all. OR they are really great at turning it into a memorable scandalous event.
No matter what type of person you are, how you can handle stress, this time of the year should be about being with the loved ones, summarizing the achievements of the year and getting ready for the roller-coaster of the upcoming year.

Happy Holidays to Everyone!


(Co-authors: Judit Nuszpl and Prof. Zoltan Buzady)