Sadly enough, it turns out the most popular posts on this blog is the ones that are about INFJ anxiety under stress and depression. INFJ under stress often leads to regular anxiety and if prolonged, also depression. INFJ depression can be more intense and this is the case for all feeler type personalities. I know anxiety is common and can be a big part of being this personality type so I thought I’ll do another post about it and try to summarize my experiences further.
At the bottom of this post I have also put together an INFJ survival kit of some of the best products to overcome anxiety, stress and depression for good.
INFJ Under Stress
Our Se basically acts as a balance to our highly intuitive state of functioning which makes us very perceptive of our external environments and other people. This can be both a gift and a curse for INFJ under stress since we take in so much information it can be hard to filter it at times and we can get overloaded.
Since our dominant perceiving function is introverted it also gets even more focused and turned inward compared to people with an extroverted equivalent. The problem with introverted intuition as dominant is that since it is introverted we might tend to internalize feelings even without being aware of it.
I’ve been battling anxiety and stress on a daily basis for most of my life and a lot of it tend to come from being highly sensitive and intuitive. I even had full blown panic attacks or mania in the past when it is at it’s worst.
Usually my state of being in general influence the magnitude of negative feelings, my INFJ anxiety grows worse if there is something bothering me in my life. What helps is dealing with things as soon as you can, because if you let them sit there and bother you in the back of your mind they will make everything worse.
Perception Under Stress
Expectations Can Trigger Depression
Another source of anxiety for me is feelings of perfectionism and high expectations in the self and the external world. It can be that the creative vision you imagined in your mind for your painting, does not appear in the one you created in real life.
That you try to express your feelings or self to a person but words don’t suffice in real life, making it reflect what you meant poorly. Or when you have to impress someone, present yourself or your work and you idealize the perfect outcome for it but in real life you can’t seem to pull it off like you imagined.
It all has a lot to do with self esteem and expectations our Ni put on our self which we in turn fail to accomplish. Then by being introverted feelers we intensify these feelings inward making us unable to escape and cope with them easily.
We can always imagine the true ideal and who we want to be, but we can never achieve it because when we do there will always be something else we want, the next step. We are future oriented and this is what drives our ideals also.
Needless to say life as an INFJ is not easy and it’s understandable why others might consider us moody, melancholic and intense at times.
Read more about how to beat depression easy in our other article.
To give you a head start on ways to improve your INFJ depression, anxiety and when under stress, I’ve put together the following INFJ survival kit.
These are products that I use almost daily and that helped change and shape my life as an INFJ for the better:
Rhodiola Rosea, supplement – This is an adaptogenic herb that helps manage healthy mood and stress response. The most natural and safe anti depressant that can be used daily, long term. Even people who are not depressed can use this to boost their mood levels.
L-Theanine, supplement – Theanine is the amino acid in tea that is responsible for the relaxing effect that tea has on the mind and body. In isolated form Theanine is one of the safest and natural anti anxiety treatments there is.
It is so safe that no toxic dosage has been able to be established, meaning you can probably take as much as you can fit in your stomach and it still would not hurt you. Yet, at only 100mg dosage it relaxes you without making you tired and improves cognition and mood.
This is my favourite supplement and I highly recommend it to everyone no matter how healthy you are. Modern life is full of stress and this is the best antidote I have found.
Pelter Optime Noise Reduction Earmuff – If you have issues with high noise levels at work or home these are ideal to wear while also look like normal music headphones. Great for relaxing in noisy environments and also great for meditation wherever you might be.
Zafu Yoga Meditation Cushion – Meditation can be a difficult habit to build but is one of the greatest things there is to build mental power and emotional stability. I found that investing in a proper cushion and making it a ritual using it greatly improvement my motivation to stick with meditation as a daily habit. Meditation is free but humans don’t tend to value things that are free as highly. Spending some money on this cushion might just be the push you need to stick to a daily meditation habit.
Calm – Meditate, Sleep, Relax – This is a great and FREE app to use when starting out in meditation. Meditation can be a confusing thing for people who never tried it and never experienced relaxing in that way before. This app helps!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – This is THE book on the subject of introverts. Filled with useful information, research and tips to help introverts and non introverts understand what this trait is all about. If you are an INFJ this is key for you to reach new heights in your life.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – This book is one of my all time favourite books about life style design. When it comes to INFJs and many INxx types we are often not happy and fulfilled in traditional office or alike job positions. We strive for something more. This book will empower you to find your own path in life and create the life you want to life. Can’t recommend this one enough!
I truly can’t articulate how wonderful it was to come across this article today. There are some things in here that I absolutely identify with, including being a Highly Sensitive Person and sometimes having sensory input overload when my stress levels are high (sometimes it’s light patterns, especially when driving and when my stress is high [which is always, when I’m leaving work], sometimes it’s just too many cars on the road or too many people in the room). Feeling that instant sense of being disconnected is scary and frustrating and compounds the stress. It’s such a relief to see it isn’t just me. Misery does love company. Thank you to the author – this may be an old article but it is still doing its job. I wish I’d have found it back when it was written, it might have made the last years at least a little less frustrating.
Old post, still getting sporadic comments, I see. I’ll add my two cents in case it helps someone. I’m an INFJ with a moderately high IQ but that doesn’t matter because the Dysthymia and Generalized Anxiety (from childhood abuse) demolish my focus, memory, patience and creativity. I’ve taken medications off and on, but usually only when I’m working full time, because that’s when it’s the worst. For the last 3 years I’ve been working 40-45 hours a week with an hour+ drive each way, just bought a house, and am supporting my spouse and two kids, so it’s scary to think of finding another job I may not do as well at. But the work/life balance is bad and I’m exhausted and angry. So I know what I have to do: either find a closer job, pressure my spouse to find a job so I can work a little less, or just medicate myself until I’m fine with things again. I’d love to meditate, but my house is a loud, chaotic mess and I found out it’s not good to do while driving. So lots of decisions are in my future.
I’m a 45 year old woman who has been living and anxious, mostly depressed life. Long story short…… I’ve recently come into the Myers Briggs types and I’m a INFJ. I’ve been researching and it’s beyond accurate. It saddens me to think if I knew this many years ago how differently my life could have been. I’ve been struggling my whole life thinking there was something wrong with me, I was weird, never fit in, never had any true friends, etc. Doesn’t help having many failed narcissist relationships. Anyway, this is one of the best I’ve read about us INFJ’s. What a breath of fresh air! Thank-you is not even close to a word of how grateful I am. They say your never to old to start over. So I’m going to take my INFJ self and finally accept myself for the rare person I am :). Anti-depressants have never worked for me, in fact made my symptoms worsen. I’m going to try the ideas you suggested that helped you out. See how it goes. From one INFJ to another, let’s be our true, unique selves and thrive!! Fingers crossed!!
As a 5w4 INFJ myself, I disagree that we’re “unlucky” to live in a modern, western world. In fact, we basically won the birth lottery to only have to worry about first world problem. Do we have a rough time of it in this society? sure, from a mental and emotional standpoint. But an important part of reducing anxiety and stress is expressing gratitude.
Littered with typos. My bad.
Thanks for your recommendations of the herbs against depression and anxiety.
Rhodiolo Rosea has helped me a lot.
l-theanine does not. It makes me feel more depressed. So I think if you suffer more from depression than anxiety – stick to Rhodiola.
I have the same bad experiences with l-theanine as they write here om Reddit:
Kevin Ryan says
Quick question, do you take both rhodiola rosea and L-theanine together daily and if so what dosage did you start on?.
Hi, in the last year I read about HSP and recognized myself in it. I just took the Myers Briggs test and came up as INFJ. I’ve been depressed and anxious most of my life.
Lately, however, it has been much worse. I’ve been trying to talk to my friends and family about it but it seems like they either don’t want to hear about it or just can’t really understand.
One of my main issues is my career. I’ve been unfulfilled for many years now and try to keep making positive changes but one pattern I seem to get in is doing a complete change: move to new area, find new friends, etc. I just don’t want to do that anymore. I love the area I live in and my friends.
I’m hoping this site and it’s info will help me on a positive way.
Andy Cavanaugh says
Hi Sara. I’m in the same boat. I’ve even sent my girlfriend websites to read to better understand me but I don’t think she “gets” me. I am lucky to work with a fellow INFJ, however, and we support each other through instant messaging through the day. You are not alone. Yes, I feel like an alien and wonder why I am the only one like me, but there are others who are feeling the same as you. Like the article states, exercise helps me a lot. I run, which is great because I can do it alone and think or put in earbuds and shut out the world. Treat yourself well, indulge in something you enjoy, even though you probably find it hard to do since you’re worried about everyone else haha. Some days I have to convince myself that I am a good person with friends. It’s sad that at 44 I have to do that, but I do. and I make myself smile. Just remember, there are other aliens out there, we’d love to listen to you. Andy.
Emma Patterson says
I di this too, I search if I’m a narcissist if I make a wrong decision. I can’t bare making anyone feel uncomfortable or if I have upset them. So then I literally start panicking thinking I’m a bad person, when I know that I am not. It’s sad x
Hey, your story spoke to me because i am in a similar boat. I have had severe panic attacks for the last 3 years, am jobless and have no friends or family i can count on anymore.
I almost went on antidepressants until i found a better solution. (for me of course )
I went vegan and slowly cut out all junk food in my life and all dairy and meat. I also started excercising more (just start with 30 mins of jogging per day, and you’ll probably want to increase it eventually. Because it feels so good) safe to say i found a new purpose in life wich really makes me feel happy. Is still have no friends, but knowing i am on my path makes me alot happier. I hope this helps for you as well! And if you want, i can post what i eat every day so you don’t have to do all the work. I hope you find your purpose too!
I would just like to say thank you. It’s pretty crazy how much of my struggles and trials in life have come from simply figuring out how to work with who I am and how I think/feel. I have been all over the place, from feeling legitimately crazy (seeing a psychiatrist), to having severe health issues, to trying to be something I’m not (as you mentioned), but at the young age of 20, I am finally understanding myself and accepting who I REALLY am. Finding this website, and reading things that touch me so genuinely and deeply from a complete stranger…is literally a God send. Finding out I was an INFJ, and accepting it, changed my life. And this site really elaborates on it in a way that helps with every day living (especially in our society). It’s amazing though, how much variety there is with humans, and I am happy to be who I am, even though it comes with its own unique struggles and maintenance. I am also thankful that I am learning this young, so that I can enjoy the most of my life ahead. I will definitely refer back to this site in the future, I’m sure. It’s a miracle almost, just to hear someone else out there who really UNDERSTANDS. It fills something I feel like I’m lacking everyday. Haha which makes me laugh right now actually, because I couldn’t talk about this with just anyone either – they wouldn’t be able to handle it really…but I’m sure as a fellow INFJ, ya feel me!
All the best,
This is an amazing post and I resonate with it completely. It is really a struggle to be in a world that doesn’t value our gifts and sensitive nature. I’ve been working in the corporate world for a decade now and just feeling burned out, but also lost in terms of what I really want to do. I want to find that passion and soul feeling work, but still be able to remain financially independent. How can I possibly start doing these things without sacrificing my existing lifestyle?
Molly Biscan says
Ally thank you for sharing that! I’m also in the very same “place” that you mentioned… longing for soul fulfilling work yet being also financially secure. Maddening. It’s a deep source of some depression within me.
Alex, Thank you so much for taking time to share! This is very important information because as you said, being INFJ and highly sensitive person is not easy at all and knowing things you can do to lower your stress and anxiety it can make all the difference! A year ago I didn’t know anything about this terms. I was a person living my life, but always too intense, always with a burning desire to change the world, to help others, always lonely because I was able to perceive beauty where others cannot, always asking myself too much for that crazy perfectionism that it won’t leave us alone! Anyway, what have change my life is the fact that 2 years ago at my 35 I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I did follow a treatment back then but for being honest after a few months I thought I was cured, but then at the beginning of this year I start experienced hell on earth. I was just exhausted all the time, I had foggy thinking, panic attacks, hormonal imbalances (this added up to my usual sensitive crazyness) depression, could not sleep, horrible anxiety, as I said was hell on earth! I was desperate I didn’t know what to do!!! I was not myself anymore. Until I found a doctor (not a typical western doctor) who helped me to come back to life. What happened is that my stress triggered my adrenal fatigue to the extreme and my body was in a complete survival mode. I was literally dying!!! My doc told me that I needed to find a way to manage my stress because it was killing me. But I was in shock with the fact that something like that happened to me at my 37. How can I be so stressed being young. That’s where my search began. I always knew that I was a very intense person, that I perceived life differently and I had already accepted my reality but being sick this way it was to much! Long story short, I found out that everything was because of my highly sensitive nervous system, and then everything start making sense to me!!! But what I want to share with all those beautiful sensitive souls out there who are struggling with these demons is; there is a way out! What helped me and has made all the difference in my life is yoga and meditation! Meditation has helped me to balance my perfectionism, it has helped as you said on your post, to understand I am not my thoughts! That I am an observer, has helped me to control my stress, my anxiety by letting go the need of control! It has helped me to learn no say no when I need to be by myself and my thoughts, to live more calm, to focus on one thing at the time. Practically meditation has changed my life! So please, if you are suffering, give meditation a try! I know they say what it works for done it might not works for others, but this is not the case for meditation. I just wanted to share this for anyone who might need it! I am INFJ highly sensitive person engaged in a beautiful journey of living a simple humble life, striving for beauty in every step. Changing myself so I can change the world with love and happiness. Keep it simple that’s the key ;) big hug! And thanks for reading and sharing.
Just came across your site, it’s unbelievable to find someone exactly like me. I am an INFJ with INFP tendencies, but more towards INFJ recently. I took the enneagram and I’m Type 4: The individualist and an HSP as well. I couldn’t agree more with everything you be written, the ideals, the anxiety, the stress and the demoralisation when I fail to reach my goal. I am a graphic designer and this fully sums up how difficult it is for me to be in such a competitive industry but thankfully, I am doing well enough because of my perfectionistic goal oritented INFJ trait. Sometimes I find myself feeling so exhausted every second, and I may get burnt out. it’s funny because the more stress I am, the more I want to face it to get it done (anxiety I guess). I also agree with the whole society part, I am a graphic designer, a communications student and I enjoy what I do, I feel like I have a little moment to teach the world something, to create things from what I believe in, to inspire or make people relate and reflect to. I guess, we do need to relax once in a while and treat ourselves like how we deserve to. I sometimes do regret that I spend so much time in my internal world and doings, I forget the people who are reslly important. I feel like even though I’m generally affectionate and wanting to be nice to everyone, deep inside I am definitely self goal oriented than relationship oriented. Ah well.
Thanks for sharing Zoe! Always interesting to hear from likeminded individuals. Stress sucks but it is unavoidable, the point is to never forget the big picture. We all want happiness so we have to let go of the things that stand in the way of that, and make sure we live life to enjoy it and not cause more suffering because what is the point in that.
INFJ here with INTJ and INTP traits as well. High IQ and possibly fit the HSP profile.
I found my way to this site because I am completely stressed out at work (I am a fundraiser at a non-profit). This page resonates. I am completely overwhelmed with far to much on my plate, including numerous large and complex projects, while at the same time being responsible for myriad details. I am not being paid a competitive salary and am having trouble paying my bills at home. Working 50 to 60 hours a week at a draining full time job has left me with no time or energy to take on additional freelance work. I am starting to feel used, unappreciated, and deeply resentful. And like a true INFJ, I feel like I am allowing myself to be taken advantage of because I won’t leave “the relationship”.
The office is poorly managed, partly because everyone is overworked and overwhelmed, we are always putting out fires and just getting by. There is a narcissist at the office, and several people who regularly overstep their authority. I feel like I am constantly pulling off heroic feats, and yet my boss will only point out a small typo my staffer made. There is a lot of conflict that the director will not address. I live in a remote area and own a home, so finding a new position would be difficult and would involve relocating (and I doubt I have the funds to move right now).
I’m starting to feel like I am having a “nervous breakdown” of sorts. I NEVER say I can’t handle something, but I have repeatedly, and directly, told my boss and others that I am stressed, overworked, underpaid, and on the verge of losing it. And no one hears me. I am feeling increasingly isolated and discouraged. Anyway, I have no easy answers for my situation, but appreciate that I found here that I am not entirely alone in my experience!
Sorry for my late reply. I know exactly how you are feeling. From my experience in companies where the situation are like that people end up mostly just caring for themselves because there is simply not any energy left to help out others. When it is like that it is clear that your boss, or people in control do not do their job properly and in the end you need to remember that it is not your job to fix theirs either. If you keep on doing it, your situation will just become worse and when the body and psyche feel that they are caught in a situation of suffering beyond control of being able to leave it, burnout will become a real possibility. I know because I ended up in the exact same situation, and still recovering from it.
I know if you are from the US the situation when it comes to financial and health are harder then it might be in Europe where I am from. But you should sit down and ask yourself the primary reason that you do your job. I would even sit down and think over your life according to the “80/20” rule (google if you don’t know what it is). You need to figure out what makes you happy in your life and what things don’t and start focusing on building a life where you feel happy and content. Because if you don’t have your health and wellbeing, things like where you work, live or money won’t matter.
You also need to remember that for example stress is not something that other people cause us, it is something we cause ourselves just as so many other feelings. Stress stems from fear and a need to control according to the fear. If you think about it all fear is made up of thoughts about things that have already happened or might happen, never what is currently happening. It is a creation of our own mind and because of that we can learn to control it and let it go. Feeling stressed because what other people do or don’t will only cause ourselves pain, because in the end we cannot control anything in the external world, especially what other people do or don’t. The only thing in the world we can control is ourselves and thinking that we can control anything else is a meaningless illusion of the ego. In the end we are the creators of our own mental wellbeing and realizing this and most importantly remembering it will help you shift your life perspective. Because in the end if somebody close to you died or you became terminally ill just now, you could care less about your stressful job and everything else that your mind is grasping for when it comes to it. Remember that everything you need is already in there to begin with, you just need to let go of your ideals of what you want it to be and start focusing on changing your life for how you want to live it. Maybe it means relocating, stop working so hard, changing job etc. But do those things really mean so much compared to your wellbeing?
I really appreciate your site. I am an INFJ/HSP with a very high IQ also. This particular page is interesting because I see you taking charge of your weaknesses and addressing them head-on. Kudos to you!
I have been reading a book about INFJ’s by Dan Johnston. In it he lists “INFJ kryptonite”. One of my big kryptonite items is that I get very annoyed when I have to deal with unintelligent people.
As an INFJ I have taken on a job that has social/world impact and can do lots of good for lots of people. I am in I.T. because that’s where my IQ strengths are. However, this means that I have to spend my day telling people which button to click and this becomes endlessly annoying. It also tends to make me feel very alone, because it makes me realize how very few people understand what I know. Additionally, when people have computer issues they tend to become very emotionally agitated. And of course us INFJ’s feel their emotions and it keys us up.
So my question to you is, do you struggle when you deal with ungifted people? If so, what tools do you use to help to keep yourself centered and on track? What tools do you use when you are dealing with an agitated person?
Any help here would be appreciated.
Thanks for your interest and post! Yeah as an INFJ I feel it’s much easier for me to reflect on my own strength and weaknesses when I write them down, basically using Fe. You gain a new perspective on it when it is all outside of your head if you know what I mean.
Cool, I will for sure be checking his books out. For me I find that the only time I have issues with people like that is when they are unwilling to want to help themselves. I can’t stand people that are just out there to get other people to do the work for them. But as long there is an mutual goal for improvement or to solve something, I’m happy to help them no matter how long it will take. Unfortunately there is a lot of people out there that are just in it for themselves and don’t care whatever you do to help them. I think at the end of the day you can only help people out to a certain degree and if they want to progress beyond that point they have to put in some work as well.
I always feel alone like that. I find it quite difficult to work for other companies since I quickly dissect their structure and see where their faults lie. Problem is I can’t change things so I often feel stuck in these positions watching everything around me fall apart. Often because of poor strategies or management. I can’t stand people getting mistreated either and that really gets me fired up. Unfortunately it’s always about the money and my values are completely different. I tend to prefer working alone now when I can or keep a distance emotionally, not to get to involved. I work as a freelancer doing creative work for films and I pick my own projects. So if I don’t enjoy it I’ll leave and won’t work there again. But even working like that I still suffer a lot of frustration over that nobody can see things as clear as I do.
Keeping myself centered is like a full time job haha. Alone time is essential, I need at least a day in the weekend to recharge and unwind the mind. I also find mediation beneficial but only been doing that for about 7 months now. I live pretty healthy concerning clean diet and exercise and it really does a big difference so you can tolerate more. As long as I can keep myself grounded, dealing with other peoples problems is alright. Strangely enough when somebody really needs me, I seem to be able to pull myself togheter like a champ to deal with it but afterwards feel completely drained. But this has more to do with putting other peoples needs before your own, typical INFJ trait.
I think key is to find an outlet where you get to express yourself and your ideas fully, so when it comes to helping other people it is more for their sake, whatever the result might be in the end. It always hard to let go of ideals you create but concerning other people it is simply not possible for only smooth sailing :)
Hadwys Emrys says
You and I are in the same boat, so to speak. I’m also an INFJ and a Highly Sensitive Person. I can recall periods of anxiety I’ve had, even in childhood, although I wouldn’t have identified them as such until recently. I’ve struggled with persistent severe anxiety for nearly ten years. It’s more of a phobia, really, although overload can wear me out very quickly as well. Crowds of people, noise, negative emotions of other people (which I tend to feel are directed at me, even when they’re not), anxiety concerning plans I’ve made with other people, the list goes on. There are innumerable things in the world to be fearful or anxious about, I know. I’ve worried about most of them. The strongest weapon against fear is faith. If you’re trusting in yourself and the luck of the draw, you will never be free of your fear, because you know yourself well enough that you are aware of what a weak defense that is. If you’re trusting someone else, you will never be free of your fear, because you know what a weak defense that is. There is only one infallible bulwark, and that is God. The Bible says that perfect love drives out all fear. God’s love for us is perfect, so that just leaves our end of the equation. The solution to fear is trust.
Hi Hadwys, thanks for your reply! I agree with a lot you say. Personally I’m not a Christian but more of a Buddhist in my views but I think what your saying applies there as well. Many days I feel like I have it all laid out and have faith in it. Other days my body and feelings is more in control and pulls the plug, but we are only humans after all. I think the important thing is to never lose your real perspective on things, even when things tend to shift for a moment.
Thank you for that. I needed ti hear that.