There Are 4 Different Types Of Stress Languages — Knowing Yours Can Improve Your Relationships

How do you handle your stress?

stressed woman Alliance Images / Shutterstock

Understanding how you deal with stress is fundamental to how you navigate the world. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed at work or frustrated with your partner, this knowledge can help you pinpoint when you need to introduce new habits, cultivate de-stressing practices, or bring a professional into your life. 

“Mental fitness” expert Maya Raichoora recently shared the four fundamental types of stress languages, which describe "the way someone responds to/expresses stress." By identifying your stress language, you can level up your relationships, better manage emotions, and increase self-awareness.


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Here are the 4 types of stress languages

1. Fight

When you’re in the midst of a conflict or dealing with a toxic relationship dynamic, do you find yourself getting defensive? Do you often resort to accusatory statements and deflecting blame? 

This is what Raichoora describes as the “fight” response to stress. In this case, you’re often “facing [a] perceived threat more aggressively”. Not only does this mean shouting or arguing, but it can also raise your heart rate, present as the need to grasp for control, and ultimately resort to extreme physical reactions. 

4 Types Of Stress Languages That Can Easily Level-Up Your RelationshipsPhoto: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock


So, if you resonate with this kind of response and find it hard to “cool off” after dealing with conflict, what can you do to handle stress in a more regulated manner?

People who respond with “fight responses” often have pent-up aggression or energy that “overflows” when triggered by stress. To release some of that aggression, many experts suggest utilizing mindful exercise on a regular basis — alongside deep breathing exercises, therapy, and education on effective communication tactics. 

2. Flight

When we typically think about stress languages, it’s usually “fight or flight.” The opposite end of the spectrum is to hide, avoid, or completely ignore whatever it is that’s causing stress. 

This might mean leaving work early or working too much to avoid other problems, ignoring your partner, or being bombarded by a sense of anxiety and claustrophobia. Instead of facing your stress head-on, your natural instinct is to escape — whether that’s via a physical, mental, or emotional route. 




For those struggling to mediate the anxiety and panic that comes with this stress language, Dr. Nicole LePera, or @theholisticpsychologist on Tikok, advised testing out “The Butterfly Tapping” ritual. Cross your arms over your chest, slowly tap each of your shoulders, and repeat the affirmation “I am safe. I trust myself. I have the power to calm my body.”

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3. Freeze

Freeze is another common stress language that many experience when going through a stressful situation. It often results in a temporary pause in self-awareness, recognition, or consciousness. 


According to Raichoora, experiences common to those who “freeze” can be self-isolation, not being able to register advice or instructions, dissociation, or difficulty making decisions.



Somatic Experiencing Practitioner Britt Piper, or @healwithbritt on TikTok, reminded viewers that the reason for the “freeze” stress language is to “disconnect from the world” in an attempt to protect yourself. That means there’s no “logic” to the way your body responds. 

Outside of the more “typical” behaviors above, she also named mindless eating, binging media, “doomscrolling,” and self-medication as avenues for people to escape. 


“The nervous system communicates with us and operates through the body,” she said. “We have to show through the body that whatever traumatic experience you had is not happening right now.”

While many people adopt these stress languages after a stressful or traumatic event, it often takes a professional to help guide us through the journey of reconnecting with our nervous system — reminding our body that we are safe. 

4. Fawn

Fawning is one of the lesser talked about stress languages, especially online and in media. Despite a large percentage of the population experiencing “fawning,” it’s much less common for these people to understand why, particularly because it’s only recently been recognized as a fourth addition to the “typical” stress languages. 


Fawning is a stress response where victims try to avoid or minimize the effects of danger by “people pleasing” the threat. This often manifests in behaviors like always saying “yes,” struggling to keep boundaries, not wanting to be alone, and having a fear of vocalizing what you’re truly thinking or feeling.

Sometimes, all it takes is routine and practice to rewire your brain to handle conflict and stress more effectively. If that means involving a professional, it’s absolutely valid to do so. We can’t “think” our way out of trauma — only teach our body to learn the difference between conflict, stress, and danger. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture and human interest stories.