When it comes to effective stress management, eating an order of cheese enchiladas from Pappasito’s Restaurant seems to do the trick for me. Of course, after I’ve finished the meal that included a basket of chips and salsa, I temporarily feel better. I then remember that the salad without dressing or anything else that was good had been my original plan. You know what they say about the road to weight loss not being paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions without the fortitude to follow through don’t lead to the outcome I’d prefer. Thus the cycle continues.
A lot of people in my circle of friends tend to have the characteristics of a “Type A” personality. I guess you could say that birds of a feather flock together. Most of us who line up in that parade seemingly think: “A comes before B” so we are at an advantage. Maybe that is true, but it could be faulty thinking.
The primary problem with “Type A” personality people is that they generally want to call all of the shots and have things done their way. I know what you’re thinking? You’d be better served to let it go. What you’re thinking is: “What’s wrong with that?” Despite what you think, “Type A” personality people have a blemish or two.
Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, a Presbyterian minister, equated “Type A” people with racehorse behavior. He referenced that term from the work of Dr. Hans Selye. Hans Selye was a physician known for his research related to stress and the medical impact stress represents for people.
A “Type A” personality may not be your best friend. Before you pat yourself on the back and say: “I’m glad I’ve got it”, it might serve you well to realize that impatience, frustration, insecurity and the need for recognition along with accomplishment doesn’t always play itself out well. Folks in that corner of the universe also have the inability to say “No” and their schedule is always abundantly full.
You may have heard that busy people are “happy people”. That concept may or may not be true. They could simply be tired. Busy people are often dissatisfied. Since we’re the folks wanting to direct the band, we soon discover that not nearly enough people are marching to the music we are directing. Some people don’t like the tempo or timing we try to establish. Consequently, it doesn’t play out in four-point harmony.
In contrast, “Type B” people are less demanding of themselves and others. They prefer to live at a slower pace and seemingly are unbothered by the slow progress others seem to half-heartedly pursue. More often than not, working closely with those folks drives me crazy. Some would say it is a short trip. Reportedly, about 40% of the population falls into this category. Olgivie describes “Type B” folks as turtles. That, too, is a term used by Dr. Hans Selye. The other 10 percent of the population falls in the “Type C” category which is an alternate blending of “Type A” and “Type B”.
Selye found that racehorse people seemingly thrive on a fast-paced life. At face value they are highly motived, competitive, aggressive, and often long for challenges, adventure, and even danger. Long story short – racehorses want everything yesterday. In contrast, turtle people have a tendency to get in the way. They move slowly, require peace and quiet, and are cautious and careful. I hate to admit it, but their written profile seems like a positive characteristic. It hurts me to make that observation because when I’m surrounded by turtles, it feels like I’ve been linked to a ball and chain.
The downside of stress is the toll it seems to take on contentment. So how do we counteract its effects? I’m careful not to pray for patience. Every time I do, I invariably find myself in a sea of turtles. I then find myself asking: “Lord, What am I supposed to learn from this?” However, patience seems like a good antidote to minimizing the negative impact of stress.
So how do I manage? Obviously, lunch at Pappasito’s is my automatic default. Unfortunately, that eventually leads to more stress. Subsequently, thinking of myself as Esau who traded his birthright for a bowl of soup isn’t a feel-good experience. Consequently, I try to replace that behavior by doing things that make me feel good.
Obviously, you’ve already figured this out about me, but I like to write. I find it calming. Maybe it is the process of letting my brain focus on areas that don’t propel me in a stress response that does the trick. Consequently, I will cheat sleep to carve out the time to write. I find it settling.
Writing is also a lot like painting a room. Once you’ve finished, you have something to show for the investment of your time. Writing is one of the things that begins with a thought and ends with a paragraph or two. The process sometimes leads me to additional thoughts I’ve never considered before. Consequently, I learn during the process. In addition, once I hit the send button on my blog, my work related to the process is done. It may be a very small step, but in the process I’ve accomplished something rather than left it in limbo.
I also reduce stress by walking, going outside, visiting with friends, listening to music, meditating and spending time with God and choosing laughter as a signature series to wrap it all together. The process of laughter carries with it a healing balm. Don’t leave home without it.
All My Best!