Getting Stress Relief for Type A Personalities

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People with "Type A" personality traits can experience greater-than-average levels of stress. Being time-conscious, competitive, and impatient, as many Type A people are can create stress in relationships, jobs, and other areas of life. 

Type A traits can also create obstacles to stress management. Some of the more effective stress management techniques can feel frustrating for someone who has a more intense personality. For example, the quiet stillness of meditation can be difficult and even frustrating to achieve for those who are impatient, competitive, and used to making every second count at work.

However, certain techniques can work quite well for those with a Type A personality, and other techniques require just a few adjustments to work well for Type A stress relief. While it might be nice to soften some of the sharper edges of the Type A personality, it's not necessary to change who you are before you can start managing your stress.

The following Type A stress relievers can work particularly well for those with Type A personalities and can be wonderfully effective stress relievers for others as well.

Use Music

Listening to music is a simple Type A stress relief trick that takes little effort. When you’re driving, put on some of your favorite music (instead of catching up on phone calls) and you can enjoy the ride (no more road rage) and arrive feeling relaxed.

If you need to slow down, play slower-paced music; if you need to energize, play more upbeat tunes.

Get Exercise

Those experiencing Type A stress may find it difficult to slow down for stress relief—so why not speed up? Exercise carries many health and stress management benefits. It’s perfect for those with Type A traits because it offers a paradigm where the more you rush (on a treadmill, for example), the less stressed you'll feel.

Specific exercise regimens like martial arts, running, or even dancing can provide a great aerobic workout and a sense of accomplishment. Exercise classes can offer social connection as well as a little positive peer pressure to push you to stay on track.

Try Expressive Writing

If you have a Type A personality, you probably like to be more active than passive. An active way to examine and express your thoughts is to start a journaling practice or start expressive writing regularly. Writing about your feelings—especially if they're intense and it’s done in a time-limited way—can help you to get them out of your head.

Writing about your plans to fix a situation can also help you feel less stressed and more able to let go of worries. Writing in a gratitude journal can help you to maintain a greater focus on the positive events that happen throughout your day. There are several ways to use writing for stress relief, and they can be helpful for relieving Type A stress.

Take Time for Hobbies

One issue that Type A people run into is the difficulty of balancing work with the rest of their life. It can be difficult scheduling in time to just relax, but scheduling enjoyable activities can be a way around the tendency to over-schedule to the point of being over-stressed and lacking in balance.

Scheduling activities you find relaxing can, out of necessity, require letting some things go, so this can be another route toward forcing yourself to cut out things in your life that don’t serve you. If you tie your hobbies into a group structure, it will be more difficult to decide at the last minute that you're "too busy" to take the time for your hobbies. Start a knitting circle, take a painting class, or join a band. Make hobbies part of your plan.

Stay Connected

Being Type A can mean you're so busy with work that you don't have as much time to enjoy the people in your life. But being socially isolated can cause stress, and having a few supportive people in your life can sometimes work wonders. Making it a point to stay connected with people doesn't have to take a lot of time, and having people "there for you" when you need it is well worth the time invested.

For those with Type A traits, sometimes being connected means working on communication skills and remembering the value of relationships. It can also mean just taking the time to meet up with friends, or reminding yourself to take a few minutes to say hi to the people around you. This is a stress relief technique that may not feel like one, but it's an area to focus on that can really help.

Do Some Yoga

If you really do like the idea of meditation, but just can’t bring yourself to sit quietly for that long without feeling stressed from all your thoughts and you need to stay active, try yoga.

Yoga brings many great health benefits, and can incorporate some meditation features (as well as breathing exercises) but may provide enough activity and focus that it feels calming and quieting, but without the type of silence that feels deafening.

Going to a yoga studio provides a group environment that may make it easier for you to stay focused and continue making time in your schedule to attend regularly.

Find More Stress Management Help

Having a wide variety of stress management techniques available can help you to find more strategies that work well for you. Experts encourage people to have a wide variety of stress management techniques available so they can pull from these when needed. In different situations, different techniques may work better. A full stress management toolbox allows you to grab the right tools for the right situation whenever you may need them.

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.