Are You an “Over” or “Under” Functioner? A Helpful Guide to Your Stress Style

Episode:
62

The Mel Robbins Podcast

ARE YOU AN OVER- OR UNDER- FUNCTIONER?

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At some point, the you-know-what is going to hit the fan.

And it happened to me the other morning when I was driving my husband to his colonoscopy.

This is the first episode without a video version because I recorded it from my iPhone after dropping my husband off at the hospital.

I promised to take you into my life; I just didn't expect it to be as a stressful situation was unfolding in real time.

When it comes to dealing with stress, best-selling psychotherapist and researcher Harriet Lerner says that being an underfunctioner or an overfunctioner is your patterned response to dealing with the alarm in your body.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that I am what researchers call an "Overfunctioner." 

My husband, Chris, is an "Underfunctioner," especially on those days when he’s on the way to a medical procedure.

And learning the way YOU react to stress is a game-changer for your relationships.

An overfunctioner like me allows the alarm in my body to take over in stressful situations, becoming triggered and anxious.

And the only way to calm the alarm is to bark orders, manage the phone calls, organize the activities, make the appointments, plan the meals, and take on all the responsibilities because it gives me a sense of control.

It may be my superpower, but it also makes me a royal pain in the a$$ and takes away the chance for Chris to feel empowered.

The way Chris deals with stress is more chill and very methodical, which frustrates the hell out of me.

Listen today as we work through these two different ways of dealing with a stressful family situation so that you can understand your own approach better and, more importantly, how to ask for what you need from others before you drive them nuts.

And if you’re ready to take the next right step to live your life with more confidence and no regrets, this is your time.

Sign up for my exclusive signature course, Launch with Mel Robbins. It’s available for registration only through May 4, so grab your spot today!

Learn all the exciting details and sign up here!

Xo Mel 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • 3:00: Let me set the scene for you before everything started blowing up.
  • 4:30: Here’s how I set myself up to fail the night before.
  • 7:15: Then life kicks in big time and cue the mom guilt flood gates.
  • 10:40: Here’s what overfunctioning stress looks like in real life. Can you relate?
  • 14:30: If you don’t catch yourself in this state, your relationships pay the price.
  • 23:00: Chris nails the good, the bad, and the ugly side of overfunctioning. 
  • 24:15: I thank Harriet Lerner for her research that helps me understand myself.
  • 26:30: Here’s how my anxiety sees my husband’s “underfunctioning” response to stress.
  • 28:30: And this is how Chris sees my “overfunctioning” response.
  • 32:00: Have a partner who handles stress differently? Here’s how to support each other.
  • 38:00: Chris explains what happens in HIS brain and body when he’s stressed.
  • 42:30: Holy mackerel, I just realized I never stopped to do this in my stress episode.
  • 46:00: This is a tool our couple’s therapist gave us that really helps us to see each other.

Resources and go deeper:

  • For Closed Captions: Watch on YouTube and turn on “CC.” For instructions to turn on closed captions, click here.

Want more episodes with me and Chris together? Check these out:

The One Science-Backed Habit You Need This Year

One Powerful Hack to Live a Meaningful Life

Resources:

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