Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who you calling Type A?

Published March 30, 2008
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I've been studying the negative impact of chronic stress in one college class this week. As part of a lecture on the topic, my professor handed out a quick test designed to determine whether or not each student has a Type A (competitive, hard-driving, impatient, and anger-prone) or Type B (easy going and relaxed) personality.

The news is not great. According to this test, I am a "definite Type A." I'm not a moderate A. I'm DEFINITE...dun dun duuuuunnnnnnn! I'm hard core. According to my textbook, Type A people are much more likely to die a painful, stress related death from heart disease or stroke.

Great. I'm all stressed out now. Faced with a death sentence like this, I initially did what any Type A person would do. I argued!

Who came up with this test, anyway? What credentials do these people have? Why should I, an intelligent, educated woman, accept this label without a fight. It's an outrage, I tell you, an outrage! Lets take a look at some of the so-called Type A behaviors from the test.

-"I thrive on challenging situations." This makes me Type A? What is life, if not a challenging situation? Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right? Anyone ever heard of the refiner's fire?

-"I've often been asked to be an officer in some groups." Can I help it if people like me to lead them? I think that says more about those people.

-"I hate giving up before I'm absolutely sure I'm licked." I see nothing wrong with this. This is the same kind of sheer will upon which this country was founded. Ever hear, "Give me liberty or give me death?" Patrick Henry...Type A.

-"When I'm in the express lane at the grocery store, I count the items in other people's carts and comment if they have too many." I count. I do not comment...not loudly, anyway.

Okay, so I'm a little stressed. So, sometimes I can become so overwhelmed that I get heart palpitations. So, I refuse to take any kind of anti-anxiety medication because of my control issues. Does that make me Type A? Why are you all nodding your heads?

Actually, I realized I was overly stressed about three years ago and I've done quite a bit since then to reduce my workload and stress level. I take time to breathe. I exercise. I meditate for hours on rocks in the middle of nowhere. (This is not a joke. No, really! Stop laughing! I rock sit and I'm proud). Sometimes, I just kind of fall off the Born Again Type B wagon.

Getting back on is not as easy as it seems, either. I checked out my to-do list list for today and found the following stressed out orders, scrawled frantically in bold, capital letters: READ SCRIPTURES! PRAY! GRATITUDE JOURNAL! MEDITATE MEDITATE MEDITATE!!!! Geez...even my attempt at reducing my stress level stresses me out.

I'm willing to concede that I have Type A tendencies, but as someone with those tendencies who is trying hard to get back to a Type B level, I know that ultimately, I'll be fine. Do you know why? Because I've made a goal and I'm going to follow through. All I need is the will...the determination...the killer drive. It's hard work--very hard work--but hard work I can do! I thrive on challenging situations! I'm a leader! And I won't give up before I'm absolutely sure I'm licked!

As long as I stay away from express checkout lanes, I'll be fine.