People handle stress differently and many times their reactions to stress are based on their personality styles. Why is it that some people are more vulnerable than others to stress? Some people seem to be permanently on edge whereas others take everything in their stride, even if they have high-pressure jobs with important responsibilities and problems at home as well. One key factor that influences how you cope with stress is your personality type. Some personalities are more prone to suffering from stress than others.
In the 1970’s, two American researchers were working on a coronary prevention project. From their research, Drs Friedman and Rosenman, divided personality types into two groups- “Type A” and “Type B.” The A-Type personalities appear more hurried, driven, and self-motivated. Research on Type A personalities suggests that if these traits become extreme, stress-related illnesses can occur.
The B Type personality exhibits almost opposite traits, seeming to be more relaxed, less time oriented and less self-driven. Type B personalities maintain a more objective perspective and therefore are less prone to being negatively affected by stress. Type A personalities allow stress to have a negative influence. Type B personalities tend to use stress in a positive manner.
To handle stress without the negative effects, learn relaxation techniques that work for your personality. If you are a Type A personality, guard against allowing stress to trigger negative reactions such as anger, hostility, or anxiety.
Both A and B personality types can experience negative effects of long-term stress when they have little control over their environment to remedy the stressors. For example, in the work-place, people who believe they have the least amount of control over their job responsibilities are more likely to suffer from a stress-related illness. Caregivers are another type of occupation that often have difficulty with levels of stress.
Make certain that stress can be a positive energy flow rather than depleting your energy. Handle stress and use stress to your advantage. Determine how you can harness the energy from stress to be productive. Let your life challenges make you better, rather than bitter. The only difference in being better or bitter is the letter, “i.”
If you are challenged by stress, start by identifying the stressors in your life and determining how you can eliminate or reduce these situations. Find ways to become involved with sharing your talents with others so you may not be so focused on things that trigger your stress. In this way, you can be constructive with stress rather than destructive with stress. Find a way to reduce stress and build a more rewarding life.