The Emotional Life of the INFP – Anxiety

In a previous post, I discussed several emotions of the INFP and how, what, and why the INFP feels. As most of it was a brief overview of how the INFP feels and what triggers emotion, I decided to go more in depth and discuss a few specific emotions of the INFP. We INFPs feel things more deeply than most personality types, and it definitely reaffirms my personality and comforts me to know that other people feel the same way I do, so I hope this post is helpful.


INFPs are very prone to feelings of stress, anxiety, and worry. I find myself facing feelings of stress very often in a single day.

INFPs easily feel emotions via Introverted Sensing and Introverted Feeling. While they don’t purely live on the “inside” and could care less about the external world or reality, INFPs are always picking up on their inner selves whether it be biological (pain), mental (memories, ideas), or emotional. INFPs are hypersensitive to emotion, so any emotions we have matter a lot to us in comparison to other types.

We also possess Extraverted Intuition. Because of this, we have wild imaginations and often find ourselves either daydreaming often or suddenly thinking of a number of possible situations that could spawn from a single moment we’re currently in.

Due to all of this, INFPs often find themselves stressed out about future events, due to conscious or subconscious perceptions of what could happen. If anything stressful or harmful could happen, whether or not the INFP imagines it, the INFP picks up on it and begins to get anxious and worry.

I’m often stressed out about a lot of things in a given day, and while I try to find every means of releasing stress (fidgeting, eating comfort food, being in familiar places or around friends), I’m often always anxious.

It isn’t until after or during the event that I’m no longer stressed, but if this event is frequent, like getting stressed out because I’m about to work a long shift, I’m still anxious and never learn that the event itself isn’t as “harmful” as I worry it will be.

I can’t help it. I get worried that impossible things will take place. I often wish I could just sit in the back of class and be an extra in the play of life, just someone who manages not to affect the atmosphere of anything going on. Having to give a speech, work a shift, or read aloud in class stresses me out, and while I’ve done them all countless times and find myself enjoying a few of them, I’m always anxious.

The feelings are often overwhelming. Some days the worry is just a sickness in my stomach. I know everything will be okay, but my gut tells me otherwise. Other days the worry is a quiet mantra voiced over and over in my head. It’s annoying.

It relieves me a little to hear that other INFPs struggle with insecurities, worry, anxiety, etc. While I myself don’t suffer from panic attacks, I’m not surprised to hear that some INFPs struggle from them.

Feeling so deeply is both a blessing and curse.

In Developmental Psychology class, we learned about how adolescents possess a rather egocentric frame of mind. Most infants and toddlers are already egocentric, believing that everyone else sees the world the same way they do. For instance, in one study, if shown a box of crayons that actually has candles inside of it (called the Deceptive Container), the toddler will believe that a bystander who never saw the contents of the box also thinks that there’s obviously candles in a box for crayons.

Adolescents also have a form of egocentrism, called an Invisible Audience. They believe that everyone will judge them based on their looks or how they act. They become so socially aware that they think that one wrong thing about them will cause other people to dislike them.

While still as adults we do superficially judge people on looks and behavior whether or not we want to or think we do, the world isn’t that harsh, and if it is, who wants to be around people that superficial?

I believe that most adults have realized this and then they have let go of their egocentrism. Sure, maybe their hair is crazy today, but no one really cares honestly.

However, unfortunately, I feel that I still possess this Invisible Audience state of mind. I worry a lot. My imagination runs wild. Any minor detail that I deem unattractive or might cause people to dislike me like “Oh he wore those pants yesterday” causes me to think everyone is looking and judging me. I try to convince myself that no one really cares or even notices but I can’t get it out of my head.

I just want to be liked. I worry that I won’t be. If a friend fails to respond to a text after 24 hours, I get worried that I’ve said something wrong and they’ve banished me from their lives or that something terrible has happened to them.

I’m most comfortable in familiarity. With friends, family, or being in comfortable places, I can rest and be at ease. No worries. No anxiety. Perhaps this is where “Si” comes in. I’m in the most predictable place around people I love and care about who care about me.

I read somewhere (from Personality Junkie I believe), that Perceivers or NPs hate not being in control. They wish they could control the circumstance in the external world and not being able to often causes them a lot of stress. Often, because of this, they retreat and seek to control what they can, their inner selves, their memories, their “Fi”.

I overthink things too often. I worry that I said something stupid that threw off a friend, and they won’t want my company anymore. I worry that something terrible might happen today only because the thought of something terrible possibly happening popped into my head. I worry that I forgot something even though I checked my backpack a dozen times. I worry that I’ll be late. I worry that I look like a monster or abnormal human being. I worry a lot. New social events and meeting new people, especially as an introvert, stress me out. Having to make a phone call or having to physically walk or drive to an obscure event stress me out as well.

Oh well. If there are other INFPs out there who struggle with stress and anxiety as deeply or as often as I do, I wish I could tell you there’s ways to combat the stress, or I wish that others could tell me likewise.

As a Psych major, it’s easy to quickly get into a habit of thinking and worry (ironic), “Oh I’m often always anxious, I must have some Anxiety Disorder” and then search WebMD and become convinced that I have it.

Of course, while that is all together possible, especially for other INFPs, such emotional stress doesn’t affect my life to the point of it being hindering. I can live with the stress. It’s just there. People with Anxiety Disorder who experience panic attacks often and live under constant stress do struggle with anxiety, but on a much bigger scale than I do.

It isn’t a hindering stress that gives me panic attacks. I’ve never had a panic attack and greatly respect and empathize with people who have. The stress is just there, existing, for me.

I don’t think there’s a possible “happy ending” to this post, besides that, hey, if you struggle with anxiety, well I do to. There’s some comfort in that.

I wish I was more relaxed, but this is the way I am. I don’t know if I’ll be this way the rest of my life, and maybe other personality types deal with this same level of stress. It’s easy to think I’m the only one or the only personality type who has to deal with this level of stress, but I doubt that’s true.

Anyways, I hope this helps. Do comment if you struggle with the same level of stress and if you’ve found ways to relieve it a little.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. xarolehta says:

    sorry if this sounds lame to you, you don’t have to approve my comment if you don’t want to, but tbh if i didn’t have my faith i’d be 90% more stressed out, fearful, anxious, critical & full of angst. i know the difference is that stark cause i tried doing life without it & absolutely lost every ounce of chill i thought i had. one INFP to another, swearing on everything i will ever love, Jesus completely ruins your life in the best way possible, all the crap you feel melts away, you have no idea

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This definitely helps, hearing from another INFP of faith . Lately (as I’m still growing in the faith), I’ve been able to trust Jesus more and more everyday which does lend to less anxiety in life. I definitely agree that without Jesus and without my faith in Him I would be way more stressed out, having no sense of direction in life. Everyday I’m still struggling to cast my worries to Him, and while that’s easier said than done, especially emotionally, I know that in the past I’ve tried to live somewhat without Him and that doesn’t work at all. Thank you for this, I think this helps me definitely realize yet again that often in situations like this worldly or Earthly help isn’t out there but looking for help from the best possible being to get help out there, Jesus. It’s good to hear that you’ve been able to lose a massive amount of that anxiety because of Him, and that shows I can too if I strive to trust in Him more everyday.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I needed this article. This week has been horrendous. I didn’t even know you were a believer! Everything said is so true. Using God’s strength instead of trying to use our own weak strength is always the better option. I know for sure that my life would have no purpose without Him.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Ioan says:

      Kinda makes me want to believe in him


      1. xarolehta says:

        if you really mean that, then please block out every word you’ve ever heard about Jesus & research what he was about with a blank slate. for every authentic christian out there we’ve got three fundamentalist crazies making an out-of-context perverted mockery of what we believe in 🤦‍♀️ listening to speakers like Judah Smith & Carl Lentz are a great place to start; there’s a reason all these celebrities, who have literally everything they could ever want, look to them for answers that money, fame, relationships and success can’t offer


  2. MBTI MANIA says:

    Yes! This is all so true. I’ve seen his help so many times in my life! Praying really helps.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Spice says:

      Same here! Another INFP of faith. In fact, I’m an INFP-T.
      I’m honestly not sure if I actually have anxiety disorder or if it’s the natural INFPness in combination with the Turbulent part. In any case, I’m on no medication for anxiety (nor my ADHD or Tourette’s). I walk by faith and faith alone. I always thought it was ironic that the Bible says “be anxious for nothing” because that’s exactly what happens haha Being an INFP (and especially having AD) is just a long series of being anxious for nothing, and you know it’s nothing, but you can’t stop it. Prayer is really the only thing that helps me. Prayer and the Word of course.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The anxiety/worry thing is so true.It eats me up 😥


  4. LA says:

    I also find that I am confused, lost, and depressed most days out of the week. It is exhausting to constantly battle both your own emotions and the stress of everyday life. I do agree that it is truly a blessing to have God in your life. Just remember that no matter what you are feeling about yourself, God loves you unconditionally. He will always be looking out for you and giving you the strength to make it through another day.

    Thank you for the great post and all the other encouraging comments!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. zalstin says:

    I think the anxiety is both learned and systemic, due to conflicts with how other, more extroverted, types operate.
    I prefer the four temperaments perspective on the INFP (melancholic) because it suggests a systemic problem in how we experience the world. Essentially we are not easily excited by external and internal stimuli (relative to others) and yet we form long-lasting impressions (again relative to others).

    Being less excitable means we can feel a little “slow on the uptake” compared to more extroverted people, which can lead to us being criticised and having attention drawn to our mistakes or failure to appreciate what everyone else is tuning in to. And then because of our long-lasting impressions, these “mistakes” or criticisms stay with us for a long time.

    Another way to put it is that we don’t really care about the things that motivate other people in an extroverted way, but we do care about being singled out and criticised or mocked for failing to “keep up” with others in common social domains. Thus the sense of being different and maybe somehow “deficient” begins to grow.

    In MBTI terms, Fi is indeed slower and deeper, and of course more sensitive. Society does not esteem Fi, and the pace of life and learning is more heavily influenced by quicker, more extroverted functions.

    We develop an expectation that we might make a mistake, or draw criticism for failing to accomplish or exhibit behaviours that others expect of us. For failing the test of “normalcy”, and lacking the ability to self-correct.

    I did a couple of posts on how I’m using Big 5 in correspondence with MBTI

    I need to update it, because I think I made a couple of mistakes. My thinking at the moment is that INFPs should score high in openness (to ideas) low in conscientiousness, low in extroversion, high in agreeableness, and…..high in neuroticism, with the caveat that neurotic symptoms (like anxiety) are exacerbated by operating against our other traits.

    For me, trying to be conscientious when I’m actually disorganised is a big cause of anxiety. Accepting my naturally disorganised state helps me relax. I suspect the second major culprit is extroversion – trying to be more extroverted when I’m really very introverted puts huge demands on my body and mind, leaving me more prone to neurotic states of mind.

    Yet conscientiousness and extroversion are socially prized in many cultures. I think I internalised the esteem given to these qualities, and depreciated my actual traits, with the cost of increased anxiety and depression.

    The answer, which I’m learning to practice, is to accept my disorganised and introverted qualities, reclaim them, and defend them as part of my unique way of being.

    I really liked your other posts on INFP functional dynamics. I feel like I’m rediscovering how to use Fi, after many years promoting Te, Si, and even Ne.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! Just discovered your blog about half an hour ago ; )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rachel says:

    ” I worry that I look like a monster or abnormal human being.” i laughed very hard, because i absolutely relate lol

    Liked by 2 people

  7. MJ says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PUTTING THESE WORDS WHERE MY INFP-T a$$ could read them. If often tried to figure out how to explain some aspects of my INFP-Tness and end up making things a confusing MESS to the ones I’m trying to explain to.

    When life throws me “go be social” curve balls…my anxiety kicks into SUPER overdrive and I simply…go. to. sleep. [[for ungodly amounts of time…zzzzzzz]]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Robert says:

    This is exactly what i experience everyday, i feel bad and cry many days because my mind just drives me crazy. I wonder sometimes if I need to ask for help from a professional but also know that it isnt possible since my parents would be against it. Is it necessary? I expressed how i feel like to my parents when we go thru immigration or when they make me order something. They see it as a weakness and they tell me to change. But it isnt easy.


  9. All the time I felt as if I’ve written this or someone else is writing for me…

    Thank you for this supporting post…

    Atleast it’s good to know that I’m not alone who feel this way…


  10. Justin Lane says:

    Thank you for this, it’s refreshing to know that I am not the only one who does these things. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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