On the last track we discussed Type A Personalities. Five characteristics of the Type A Personality that we discussed on this track were competitiveness, impatience, perfectionism, polyphasic behavior, and hostility.
On this track... and the next track we will discuss how to be a Type B. Would you agree that once a Type A, always a Type A? Probably, but can your male workaholic client learn some survival techniques from Type B, or low-stress, personalities? This track will cover three strategies for fostering type B behavior. These three strategies are make physical and mental health a priority, getting to know yourself as you are, and reexamine your sense of time urgency. As you listen to this track, you might consider how these strategies apply to your client. Could playing this track in an upcoming session help?
Do you remember Tyler from the last track? Tyler asked, "Why would I want to be a Type B?" How might you have responded to Tyler? I stated, "The Type B doesn’t tap his foot compulsively or finish sentences for others. The Type B doesn’t clench his jaw in jealousy, or critically reevaluate himself when others show off their successes. The Type B doesn’t feel his heart race when the traffic doesn’t."
The Type B Personality
"Although the goals of a Type B man are usually more realistic and less demanding than those of a Type A, Type B behavior is not incompatible with hard work and achievement. What is missing from the Type B profile is not motivation, but time urgency, hostility, and insecurity. This leaves the Type B more free time each day, and probably also means he will have more days.
Of course, Type A’s and Type B’s are merely profiles on paper; no one is a perfect Type A or B. The more the Type B profile fits, however, the lower the risk for cardiovascular trouble, according to most research." Think of your Tyler. How could your client acquire Type B behavior? I have often told my clients that Type B behavior is a gift.
I stated to Tyler, "It can be given to you by your parents when you are growing up, or you can give it to yourself as a present now. If this was not your parental legacy, today is the day to begin parenting yourself in a Type B way. It took years of practice for you to perfect your Type A behavior, so don’t expect to be a B overnight. But don’t think your behavior can’t be changed, either." If your male stress client is similar to Tyler, perhaps the techniques on this track may be helpful.
Strategies #1 - #3 for Fostering Type B Behavior
#1 Make Physical and Mental Health a Priority
One of the first ways Tyler tried to become a Type B was to make physical and mental health a priority. I stated to Tyler, "Don’t use yourself as cheap labor. Don’t abuse yourself by depriving yourself of your emotional needs. Don’t practice mental cruelty toward yourself by expecting that you can carry on at all costs - the cost is often too steep. If you begin to take care of yourself as conscientiously as you like to be taken care of, much of your Type A behavior will begin to change." Think of your Tyler. How could making physical and mental health a priority benefit your client regarding behavior type changes?
#2 Get to Know Yourself as You Are
Next, I stated, "Let’s discuss getting to know yourself as you are. We all know who we think we should be, and some of us know who we would like to be; few of us know who we actually are. Sit down today and start a self-description list. Add only one item to the list each day. Live that entire day with a heightened awareness of the aspect of yourself that you have added to the list.
"If, for example, the first item is "I am competitive," spend a day noticing what situations trigger your competitive reactions, how useful or realistic these reactions are, and how frequently you react this way. Gathering this information gives you a starting point for modification. You may want to avoid some triggering situations, or try out other reactions instead. Criticizing yourself and berating your competitiveness will not lead to self-esteem or positive change; self-knowledge can lead to both." How might your Tyler get to know himself better?
#3 Reexamine Your Sense of Time Urgency
In addition to mental and physical health priorities and the client getting to know himself better, a third method for fostering type B behavior is for the client to reexamine his sense of time urgency. As you know, type A personalities typically attribute much of whatever success they have achieved to their pattern of making every moment count.
They feel that they accomplish double by doing two things at once, or by doing two things in the time needed for just the first project. In fact, according to Meyer Friedman and coauthor Diane Ulmer,
now at the Clinical Institute of Behavioral Medicine in Berkeley, California, they accomplish no more than Type B personalities accomplish. This is because the Type A workaholic "hurry sickness" produces impatience, irritation, aggravation, and anger as its side effects.
Remember the British study that found Type A’s working against a deadline had blood pressure readings that were twice as high as those who worked at their own pace. Ironically, the self-paced group completed the task in the same amount of time as those who hurried to meet the deadline! In this case, too, impatience, irritation, aggravation, and anger complicated the task at hand. These four emotions interfere with efficiency and leave Type A’s falling further and further behind their own quota levels. The alternative? In their book Treating Type A Behavior and Your Heart, Friedman and Ulmer suggest that Type A personalities reexamine their achievements in order to identify the real reasons for their success.
Tyler identified his reasons for success as creativity, organization, and determination. Once Tyler identified the real reason or reasons for his success, he began to dare to give up his constant sense of time urgency. Could your client benefit from reexamining his sense of urgency in the same way as Tyler?
On this track... we discussed how to be a Type B. This track covered the first three strategies for fostering type B behavior. These three strategies are make physical and mental health a priority, getting to know yourself as you are, and reexamine your sense of time urgency.
On the next track we will continue to discuss how to be a Type B. Additional strategies for fostering type B behavior that we will discuss on the next track are giving yourself permission to play, shifting your focus, and Friedman’s drills to modify behavior
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Cooney, J. L., & Zeichner, A. (1985). Selective attention to negative feedback in Type A and Type B individuals. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 94(1), 110–112.
Judge, T. A., Simon, L. S., Hurst, C., & Kelley, K. (2014). What I experienced yesterday is who I am today: Relationship of work motivations and behaviors to within-individual variation in the five-factor model of personality. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(2), 199–221.
Schwartz, D. P., Burish, T. G., O'Rourke, D. F., & Holmes, D. S. (1986). Influence of personal and universal failure on the subsequent performance of persons with Type A and Type B behavior patterns. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(2), 459–462.
What are three strategies for fostering type B behavior in a male stress client?
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