If you’re Type A like me you might wonder what you can do to prevent stress and the negative consequences which contribute to disease and illness.
In my previous post, Why Your Type A Personality Puts You At Risk for Illness, I shared what a Type A personality is and how it can contribute to chronic illness and disease.
It is possible to get your Type A personality to chill out so that you can avoid the negative health impact that it causes. Maybe you’ve already suffered the consequences and you want to heal from an illness that may have been brought on by the stress in your life.
It’s possible to learn new thought patterns and new behaviors that will take you out of the high-risk Type A category?
While being Type A may be your natural tendency or makeup, you do not have to allow the negative aspects of this personality type to control you or to increase your stress level.
Type A’s are wonderful in many ways, they’re responsible, dependable, hard working and ambitious. They are consistent and stick to their word but Type As are also easily stressed out, they hold the world on their shoulders and have a tendency to be angry and impatient.
We all want to avoid the negative character qualities that create stress and have a negative impact on our health. There are things you can do to implement change no matter what the change is.
With any change, we need first to identify the areas that are the most negative or detrimental. Is it anger? Is it working too hard and too long without ever taking breaks or getting the rest you need?
Once you have those areas identified then create a plan. You cannot rid something negative from your life without replacing it with something positive. Make a list of the opposite character qualities, for example, if you’re quick to get angry, write down the opposite which would be to exhibit patience. Next, make a detailed list of examples of how you can implement your goals.
Once you have your list, begin to put your plan into action! What will you do when you begin to feel angry? How can you create an atmosphere where you’re not tempted to get angry? What does being patient look like to you? How can you practice patience on a consistent basis? Do you need accountability?
What about that overwhelming feeling that everything HAS to be done and it’s ALL up to you?
I know those feelings all too well because I am a Type A and I have always put so many demands on myself both when I was working and as a stay-at-home mom. For a long time, I didn’t realize that I was the only one putting these expectations on myself. No one else expected me to push myself as hard as I was, not my boss and not my husband or children. I wanted to be the best, work the hardest and be as dependable as I could.
I worked hard to be a Pinterest Mom before Pinterest even existed.
Then I got sick! My health suffered in ways that I would never have imagined. The irony of it all is that once I got sick, no one could depend on me. I wasn’t able to do anything. As I’ve healed I’ve learned that my Type A personality probably put me at a higher risk for getting sick from tick-borne infections. If having a Type A personality increases your risk for cardiovascular disease it can most certainly compromise your immune system and put you at risk for Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses.
I’ve learned that I’m not a captive of the negative aspects of Type A behavior. In the early days and months of my illness, I watched as a very strange and wonderful thing happened, others stepped in to help and do the work I was doing. They didn’t do it the way I would have or even when I wanted it done but eventually, those things got done. Even as I healed and began to get back into my normal routine I realized that my internal to-do list was not nearly as important as I was making it out to be. No one really cared if I made big beautiful meals every single night, they just wanted to eat something that was relatively healthy and tasty. They didn’t care if I had it all together every day, they just wanted me to feel well and spend time with them.Type A behavior increases your risk of illness, but you're not a captive. Click To Tweet
My family and friends were gracious to me and many times they did and still do give me permission to rest. I have consistently tried to work on living in grace and chilling out a bit more with my Type A tendencies.
Here are a few of my tips:
- Each evening, prepare to have a great next day.
- Brainstorm all of the things that are weighing on you and then mark up your list with the level of urgency each item holds.
- Write down your top 3 things to do for the next day.
- Decide what you can delegate.
- Begin to think of ways you can streamline or make your tasks and jobs easier.
- Let go of things that really don’t matter.
- Limit what you schedule each day and each week so that you allow yourself time for rest and enjoyment.
- Wake up each day with gratitude.
- Choose to view your tasks with an attitude of, “I get to” instead of “I have to”.
- Change your perspective about resting.
- Plan enjoyable things to do on a regular basis.
- Try to be spontaneous and do something fun.
- Take the time to really enjoy your children before they’re all grown up and off to college.
- If someone in your life expects more from you than you can give, explain to them what you’re willing to do. Next, help them come up with solutions for how they can accomplish those things that you cannot do.
- Live in grace! Forgive yourself, forgive others and make loving yourself and others a priority.
When we live a life of gratitude, grace, forgiveness, and love we are able to live a healthy lifestyle. Reducing stress, enjoying life and being grateful are necessary for good health, preventing illness and healing.