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It's important for the HSP to realize that even if you cannot control the Type A environment, you do have the power to control your reaction to it. In this chapter you will learn various techniques, such as meditation and following a daily routine, that will help you cope with seemingly untenable situations. You can always take meditation breaks throughout the day and do slow abdominal breathing. Research consistently has shown that people who meditate experience significantly less stress than nonmeditators. In my research of Type A personalities, I observed that meditators had a decreased heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and anxiety level at a statistically significant level compared to a control group of nonmeditators (Zeff 1981).

Besides regular meditation, practicing specific techniques must be implemented to release the time urgency aspect of Type A behavior. In addition to the techniques offered in this book, you may want to try individual or group counseling, attending a Type A reduction class (usually given to post-coronary patients at hospitals), or attending a stress-reduction class. One of the benefits of the HSP's characteristic of being conscientious is the ability to follow through with integrating new techniques into your life to reduce stimulation. By regularly practicing stress-reduction exercises, you will lead a healthier a happier life.

Attitude is Everything

Before you begin learning the techniques that will help you cope more effectively in this Type A world, let's look at how your attitude affects your sense of well being. The HSP's desire to be conscientious and not make mistakes can create stress. When I was studying how to differentiate various personality types with Dr. Ray Rosenman, I remember listening to a recording of a Type A man. He had a relatively simple job with the post office. When asked if there was a lot of pressure in his job, he responded tensely "definitely." He had to put letters into different boxes depending on the zip code. He frequently became upset if he thought that he placed a letter in the wrong box. Throughout the tape as he discussed his job duties, he became more agitated.

Next, I listened to a recording of a man who was the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation. He calmly stated that his job wasn't stressful because he would simply write down his agenda each morning and complete the activities he had time for and delegate the other duties to his subordinates. If he didn't finish a project, he wouldn't worry about it. While certain jobs can create tension, the attitude that we bring to a job is the major factor that determines our level of stress.

These examples illustrate the importance of developing a positive attitude of acceptance rather than worrying if you have completed a job adequately. One HSP student told me that she would become extremely upset if she felt that she made mistake at work. She would agonize for hours about the possible errors she committed. After working with her for several months, she began to slowly change her attitude realizing that she could only do her best and try to let go of her need to complete each task perfectly. In the chapters ahead you will learn techniques to help you come to this level of peace.

I hope reading about our overstimulating world doesn't overwhelm you! Just take a deep, slow breath right now, and realize that you are learning new coping skills so that you can more easily deal with our Type A society.

The Highly Sensitive Person's Survival Guide - Ted Zeff, PH.D. (pg 24-25)


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May 2012

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How to thrive when the world overwhelms you