Get an in-depth look at how ENTJs respond to stress (and how to help!) #ENTJ #MBTI #Personality

What ENTJs Do When They’re Stressed Out

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“The first virtue in a soldier is the endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte, a rumored ENTJ

ENTJs are known for their strong intellectual presence and impressive ability to meet goals and innovate with precision and speed. They make great leaders and entrepreneurs, and are often seen in the world of politics, business, and physics. Because of their strong use of Extraverted Thinking, they are decisive, goal-oriented, and have nearly strong reasoning abilities. Their Intuitive side helps them to be incredible strategists with clear insights into which plans will work and which ones won’t. They’re not afraid to think outside of the box and take risks to make their ideas come to life. If you look through our history books, you’ll find many ENTJs; people like Napoleon Bonaparte,  Julius Caesar, Alexander Hamilton, and possibly even Aristotle.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

What Makes ENTJs Stressed:

Being in an Environment That Lacks Vision

ENTJs are forward-thinking planners who keep an eye on the future and are always coming up with ways to improve things, to expand, and to succeed. They use their masterful control of Intuition and Thinking to strategize and dream about what could be achieved in the future. When they aren’t allowed to pursue their visions and plans they feel bored, unfulfilled, and stressed.

Being Surrounded by Incompetence

ENTJs are extremely goal-oriented and will use any (healthy) means necessary to achieve their goals. They can’t stand being around incompetence, or being guilty of it themselves. This is a weakness in their minds that is nearly unforgivable. Efficiency and constant progress are essentials in the ENTJ world.


ENTJs aren’t happy if they aren’t progressing and moving forward, and so they see no excuse for laziness. Hard work and ambition are the life forces of this type, always driving them forward and giving them a rush that other types might find hard to understand. It is stressful and irritating for an ENTJ to be around people who are sluggish or lazy. They feel that time is intensely valuable, and must always be used in the most progressive way possible.

Having to be a Follower

ENTJs are natural leaders who like to be in charge and make plans come to fruition. It is difficult for them to be a follower, to be in the background, and to take orders; especially from someone they feel is incompetent or lacks the same strategic or visionary power that they do. They can only work under someone happily if that person is someone they see as insightful, hard-working, and has a similar ambition and drive that they do.


ENTJs are single-minded in their focus and extremely driven towards their goals. They like to finish one project before starting another, and discuss one idea thoroughly before moving on to the next. Interruptions can cause them to have an uprising of stress and anger that they have to work hard to stifle and ignore.

Having Their Ideas Shut Down

Because ENTJs are so passionate about their goals and visions, they are intensely disappointed when something or someone gets in the way of achieving them. Other people may see the ENTJs goal as too ambitious or too complex, and may try to calm them down. This irritates them and will only make them feel misunderstood and frustrated.

Having to Deal with Intense Emotions from Others

ENTJs are dominant thinking personality types. This means that they consider objective logic when making decisions, and try to keep their personal feelings and the feelings of others out of the process. Because the ENTJ’s feeling preference is their least preferred, they find being around strong emotions unsettling. Having to access their inferior feeling function to understand the emotions of other people is tiring for them, and is more work than it would be for a dominant feeling type. Overusing this function to try to understand other people’s emotions can cause them to have a grip stress reaction.

Guilt Over Being Critical of Others

ENTJs sometimes struggle with speaking before thinking about the impact their words might have on other people. Because their feeling preference is their least developed function, they may not realize that something they say might offend or hurt someone else. They are rarely intentionally mean people, but often feel like their intentions are misunderstood. They can feel guilty and frustrated when they have accidentally hurt the feelings of someone they care about or if they lose their temper and blurt out things they don’t mean. ENTJs under stress can have fiery tempers that can be intimidating to those around them. They usually feels remorseful after these kinds of outbursts and often regrets how the experience might have affected others.

Small Talk

Small talk is the bane of the ENTJs existence. They get antsy and bored when they have to listen to the mundane details of everyday life, and have a hard time not changing the subject to something more interesting to them. They can enjoy talking about any number of deeper topics, like philosophy, the meaning of life, business plans, or politics, but talking about what they ate for breakfast or what the weather has been like will make them agitated and bored.

How the ENTJ Responds to Stress:

In order to address how the ENTJ responds to stress, we need to acknowledge the different types of stress they experience. There’s normal, everyday stress, and then “grip” stress. Both elicit completely different responses.

Everyday Stress

When the ENTJ experiences everyday stress, they will usually try to solve it by going to their Thinking process for a solution. This may cause them to become more true-to-type and extreme in their preferences. They may become increasingly direct, argumentative, and feel an urgent need to complete a task. They might start compulsively cleaning, counting, inspecting, or obsessing over the state of their project or work. Sometimes ENTJs can find a resolution to the stress using their Thinking or Intuitive functions, but if this doesn’t happen, they may wear out their dominant function and fall into a state of “grip” stress.

“Grip” Stress

Grip stress often occurs when the ENTJ has been experiencing chronic stress or sickness. Sometimes the grip reaction is a result of the ENTJ wearing out their dominant function (Thinking) and their inferior function (Feeling) taking over to try to solve the problem. Sometimes the grip reaction occurs because they have spent too long in situations that require the use of their inferior Feeling function. Other times it is simply the result of too much stress or physical exhaustion.

When an ENTJ is having a grip reaction, they will seem very unlike their normal selves. Suddenly they are unable to access their normally powerful Thinking and Intuitive functions, and will start relying on Feeling to try to solve their problems. They will seem more like unhealthy ISFPs than ENTJs, and this will be extremely confusing for them. They may struggle with feeling like a failure, like their life has no value, and they may become increasingly emotional and angry. They may lose their temper, withdraw from others, and try to hide their growing lack of emotional control. They may become hypersensitive about their relationships, misinterpreting insignificant details and believing that others hate or dislike them. They might feel physical symptoms; an upset stomach, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Migraines.

Keep in mind that an ENTJ experiencing a grip reaction is not at all like their normal, healthy self. This isn’t the time to judge them or lash out at them, but to be patient and give them time to cool off. This is a very overwhelming time for them and they may struggle with intense guilt and remorse after the experience has blown over.

Ways ENTJs Can Get Relief From Stress:


Many people are able to get out of a grip stress reaction by engaging their tertiary “relief” function. For the ENTJ, this function is Extraverted Sensing. Exercise effectively pulls the ENTJ out of their inferior Feeling function and helps them to focus more on the present moment, on their physical presence, and on the sensory world around them. Exercising also releases stress-reducing endorphins in the brain. According to the MBTI® Manual, ENTJs consistently chose exercise as a coping mechanism for dealing with stress.

Get Some Alone Time

ENTJs don’t usually want to be around people when they’re severely stressed. They are prone to outbursts and feelings of rage, and would rather not deal with the regret afterwards. Being alone to cool off and reach some perspective on the problems at hand can help them to reduce their overall stress levels and have a better chance at regaining balance.

Get Outside

Getting outside and taking a walk, going for a jog, or just looking around can help the ENTJ to engage their Sensing side and pull them out of a grip stress reaction. It can also help them to stop overusing their Thinking and Intuition so that they don’t wear out those cognitive functions.

Physical Intimacy

ENTJs often report that intimacy can help them to regain equilibrium. This makes sense, because it engages their tertiary Sensing function and allows their Thinking side to get a break.


After some time alone, ENTJs often report that they feel better if they can vent to an understanding friend or family member. It’s important that they not feel judged for letting out their frustrations, and that they are allowed to just get the stress out of their system. They just want someone who will listen, understand, and not be critical of what may seem like a strong over-reaction.

Break Down Large Projects into Bite-Sized Pieces

This tip is better for an ENTJ who is experiencing everyday stress than grip stress. The reason for this is that ENTJs in the “grip” may feel more frustrated if they try to access their Thinking side. However, one way to avoid getting overburdened with stress in the first place is for the ENTJ to look at a large, particularly overwhelming project or stressor, and break it down into smaller pieces that seem more attainable. Delegating out some of the work so that the to-do list is less overwhelming can also be a good thing.

In Conclusion:

ENTJs are some of the most innovative leaders and world-changers you’ll ever meet. They have an intense, powerful presence and a boundless determination to succeed. According to the MBTI® Manual, ENTJs have some of the lowest stress levels of all the types. In fact, only ENTPs and ESTPs had less. That said, no statistics will apply to every individual person. If the ENTJ can find outlets for stress, and employ ways to avoid triggers that may cause a grip-related stress reaction, there is almost no limit to what they can achieve!

“We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.”
– Carl Sagan, an ENTJ

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Get an in-depth look at how ENTJs respond to stress (and how to help!) #ENTJ #MBTI #Personality
Get an in-depth look at how ENTJs respond to stress (and how to help!) #ENTJ #MBTI #Personality

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