Saturday, June 07, 2008

Control that Aggression

If you have ever felt restless over not finishing something as fast or as perfect as you would have liked to.

If you frequently find fault with and criticize other people. If you perceive life’s little aggravations as personal threats. If you come unhinged just thinking about the plumber’s next visit. If you frequently feel like taking a cricket bat and breaking someone’s windshield when their car gets too close to yours, you must read on. Chances are that you belong to the Type A personality and there are also chances that you are more prone to coronary heart diseases (CHD) due to the extra tension that you put on yourself.

Type A personalities are very hurried, impatient and rigid. They become irritated by others’ differing line of thinking. Type A’s are very competitive, and tend to be tense and edgy when it comes to work. They have poor impulse control and feel that they always need to be hyperactive in something or the other. When it comes to expressing emotions they express their anger with outburst and verbal comments, display strong emotional reactions, can be unpredictable with emotional consistency, and experience negative emotions. They may let their guard down only for business prospects and meetings.

Ask yourself if you display two or more of these behavioural traits
l If you are not multitasking, you think you are wasting time?
l Do you eat fast and leave the dinner table immediately
l Does it bother you a lot to wait in line or to be seated in a restaurant?
l Do you find that you are often highly alert, mentally as well as physically?
l Do you try to control and change situations and people according to how you want them to be?
l Do you always rush to finish tasks?
l Do you find it difficult, if not impossible, to relax, even on scheduled downtime?
l Does the car-driving errors of other drivers, the indifference of other people, or the tardiness of mail delivery upset you significantly?

The Type B personality, in contrast, is patient, relaxed, and easy-going. There is also a Type AB mixed profile for people who cannot be clearly categorized and have a combination of both types of personality. They know how to react and when to retract in certain situations.

What makes a person a Type A personality?
A variety of social, biological, psychological and behavioural factors influence the development of our character. Scientists agree that a largely genetic personal chemistry, or in-born temperament, influences a person to react to its environment in ways that can be assertive or shy. Such tendencies are further influenced by experiences. The combination of inheritance and experience form an individual's characteristic way of behaving, feeling and thinking — his/her personality.

Negative Effects of Type A Behaviour:
Over the years, the type of extra stress that most ‘Type A’ people experience takes a toll on one’s health and lifestyle. The following are some of the negative effects that are common among those exhibiting TAB:

l Hypertension: High blood pressure is common among “Type A” personalities, and has been to be as much as 84% more of a risk among those with Type A characteristics..
l Heart Problems: Some experts predict that, for those exhibiting Type A personality, are more prone to heart attacks.
l Occupation Stress: ‘Type A’ people usually find themselves in stressful, demanding jobs (and sometimes the jobs create the Type A behaviour!), which lead to metabolic syndrome and other health problems.
l Social Isolation: Those with TAB often alienate others, or spend too much time on work and focus too little on relationships, putting them at risk for social isolation and the increased stress that comes with it.

Dealing with your personality
Identify what makes you stressful and uneasy. Making a list of your stressful experiences is useful. Immediately deal with the issues that you can change, for instance delegating tasks in case you are taking responsibility for everything. Trying to be king of the hill is OK so long as it remains a game. When it becomes a stressful, obsessive and competitive desire to win no matter the cost, you’ve got a problem in your personality.

We sometimes catastophize every bump along life’s highway and anticipate the worst. Don’t paralyze yourself by magnifying your fears of the unknown and the uncontrollable. Give yourself a license to be imperfect.
Put the “vacate” in your vacation. Remember to get away from the ties to your stress and work. Put companionship, laughter, reflection and freedom into the vacation plans.

Follow your grandma's advice: healthy food and a good night’s sleep, backed up with regular exercise, is nature’s best prescription to combat a stressful lifestyle. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine, which actually increase your body’s stress reaction. When it comes to exercise, 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity is best, but anything that works for you-meditation, yoga, or even just going for a walk-is a step in the right direction.

Mental imagery relaxation, or guided imagery, is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in your mind -- a "mental escape." Identify your self-talk, that is, what you are saying to yourself about what is going on with you situation. It is important to identify negative self-talk and develop healthy, positive self-talk. By making positive affirmations, you can counteract negative thoughts and emotions.

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