We all have different emotional triggers. What triggers one mom may have little or no emotional impact on another. Imagine if a friend cancels plans at the very last moment. Would you feel irritated and aggravated? What about hurt or even relief?
Not only are we triggered differently, but what calms us when we’re feeling stressed differs from mom to mom. What might calm one mom might amplify feelings of stress and overwhelm in another. A cardio hip-hop class could leave you feeling completely drained and exhausted, leaving another mom feeling energized and inspired.
Learning your anxiety style will help you understand and avoid your particular emotional triggers and reduce stress daily.
Lover Moms are all about the quality of their connections to friends and loved ones. When feeling particularly stressed, Lover Moms should avoid scrolling or stalking friends on social media. It’s easy for Lovers to feel emotionally triggered when watching a highlight reel of other people’s lives. Instead of feeling more connected and loved, this can amplify feelings of isolation and missing out.
Instead, Lover Moms should reach out to friends and loved ones IRL (in real life). Make plans for a phone call or coffee date, send voice texts or use video messages to connect. Lover Mom Quick Tip: Make at least one IRL connection daily. Spend 20 minutes with another mom, friend, or family member you like and trust. Enjoying more one-on-one time with loved ones will reduce stress in your daily life.
Fighter Moms are all about embracing their role as survivors or warriors. They feel quite comfortable within a chaotic environment with challenges to surmount and bad guys to chase. This environment can feel so comfortable that Fighter Moms often feel unsettled when it is calm and peaceful around them because they don’t truly feel they can let down their guard and enjoy it.
Avoid taking on a new challenge when feeling particularly stressed. It’s easy for Fighters to jump into the fray when there’s an issue, an injustice or a problem to be solved. However, their cups are likely already full. As a Fighter Mom, remember you are not responsible for everything. You do not need to save or protect everyone. You can always skip this fight and catch the next one.
Instead, say no. Give yourself permission to skip something you feel compelled to do or bow out of something you already committed to. Fighter Mom Quick Tip: Use phrases like, “I don’t have the bandwidth for that right now” or “Let me think about it and get back to you next month.” Skipping the next fight will reduce stress in your daily life.
Executive Moms are all about loyalty, trust and dependability. These moms thrive when they feel in control of their environment and their futures. Executive Moms should avoid delegating anything important when feeling particularly stressed and overwhelmed. Do not delegate any task or responsibility within a specific timeframe or manner. Doing so will likely amplify your stress rather than reduce it.
Instead, take back one area, whether that’s your time, work, finances, body, etc. When you remember you’re in charge of how you spend your time, money, energy, attention and resources, you can more easily reduce stress. Executive Mom Quick Tip: Look at your calendar today and block out time this week to get organized in one area of your life - paperwork, home organization, work emails, etc. Taking back a degree of control will reduce stress in your daily life.
Visionary Moms are all about making their big dreams come true. These moms thrive when connecting with other people who truly get them. When feeling particularly stressed, Visionary Moms should avoid waiting until things are perfect. It’s easy for Visionaries to feel emotionally triggered when they perceive themselves as far from achieving their dreams. Waiting, however, often heightens stress and frustration instead of soothing it.
Instead, take an imperfect next step. When it’s in your nature to aim big and high, it can feel uncomfortable to move forward imperfectly or in tiny steps. Unfortunately, most big, audacious goals come after numerous imperfect actions, mistakes, and even outright disasters. Visionary Mom Quick Tip: Do one small but aligned thing today to move your dream forward: email, post an ad, apply for that class, etc. Steady and imperfect progress toward your dream will reduce stress in your daily life.
Dynamo Moms are about feeling respected, getting acknowledgment and accomplishing large and small tasks. These moms thrive when they feel like they’re making progress and receiving accolades and respect for their diligence. Dynamo Moms should avoid taking things off their to-do lists. It’s easy for Dynamos to feel triggered emotionally when the revolving tasks of motherhood not only leave them feeling exhausted but like they failed to achieve anything. Shortening your to-do list will likely leave you feeling even more stressed.
Instead, add one thing to your list that fills you emotionally. Ideally, it won’t need to be done again in three hours (i.e. laundry, dishes, etc.) Dynamo Mom Quick Tip: Instead of using boxes on your to-do list, use hearts to indicate the items you enjoy doing. Accomplishing more tasks you enjoy will reduce stress in your daily life.
Using the five anxiety styles framework is one way to fast-track your way to less stress. Whether you’re a Lover, Fighter, Executive, Visionary or Dynamo, you can feel calmer and happier. When you feel more relaxed and content, you’ll likely have more patience with your children, focus better at work, sleep better, and feel more connected to your partner. You deserve to feel less stressed.
Amber Trueblood, MBA, is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), best-selling author, speaker, and mother of four sons. She has over 25 years of experience in mental health, and co-founded The M.E.C.A. Project to help teens and young adults thrive Mentally and Emotionally through Conscious Awareness.
For more about the five anxiety styles of moms, check out Amber's new book The Unflustered Mom.
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners