Fortunately, like traits such as optimism or assertiveness, Type A characteristics can be altered. The following are ways to soften Type A characteristics in yourself, if you possesss them:
Fake It Till You Make It:Sometimes you can ‘act’ your way into new habits. Even if you don’t always feel clam and serene, if you make a conscious choice to try to slow yourself down and be more patient with people, that behavior will most likely become more of a habit and begin to come more easily to you. (Note: it’s not recommended that you become completely detached from awareness of your feelings, or that you keep them bottled up until you eventually explode, but if you focus on making some changes in your behavior in conjunction with some of the following emotion-oriented strategies, you should make more progress, more quickly.)
keeping a journal has many proven benefits for your stress level and overall health. It can also be a helpful practice in softening Type A characteristics, especially if done right. The following are the best ways to use your journal as an instrument of change:
- Keep a record of how many times you lose your temper in a day, treat people rudely, or feel overwhelmed by frustration. Becoming more aware of your tendencies and what triggers reactions in you can be a valuable step in changing your patterns.
- Write about your feelings. This helps you to process them, and takes some of the intensity from them, so you’re less overwhelmed by strong emotions.
- Write about solutions. Solving your problems on paper (rather than obsessing about them in your head) can help you to feel less overwhelmed by them. You can also look back through your journal to remember old ideas on solving new problems.
Face Your Fears:This may sound crazy, but a good way to work past Type A tendencies is to give yourself an extra dose of what frustrates you in order to show yourself that it’s not so bad. For example, some therapists would recommend that you pick long lines in the grocery store, just to show yourself that you can survive the frustration of waiting in line for a few extra minutes. (Or, perhaps the threat of having to wait in a longer line will force your subconscious mind to be more patient in one of the shorter lines.)
frustrated on the road, About’s mental health expert recommends that you make a game out of it and “count idiots”. The same can be done for life in general. If you see how many frustrating things you can playfully tally, for example, you’ll almost look forward to people’s quirks.
a few deep, slow breaths can do wonders! Learn these breathing exercises and you’ll have a stress reliever you can use anywhere!
many stress management and health benefits, and can help provide you with the extra calm you need. Walking a dog can be relaxing and social, get you out into nature (or at least out of the office), and gets you exercise as well! Caring for an animal and receiving its unconditional love can get you in touch with the best parts of your own humanity. Even watching aquarium fish has been known to have a measurable affect on blood pressure! Learn more about pets and stress here.
This tension taming tool can reduce overall stress and learn to take it easy a little more, softening your Type A tendencies.
What if you’re not the one with the Type A personality characteristics, but you have to deal with someone else who is? By practicing assertiveness and healthy conflict resolution techniques, you can maintain healthier boundaries and keep yourself from being overrun by a person who exhibits strong Type A personality characteristics.
Sharma, Vijai P., Ph.D. Characteristics of "Type A" Personality. Mind Publications, 1996.
Type A Behavior. Job Stress Network.