In my last few blog posts, I have discussed not only corporate wellness programs, but also the importance of individuals taking mental health into their own hands. Mental health involves managing stress, because stress is not caused by events themselves but rather how we interpret events. On my Developing the Mindset of a Champion website, I also discussed how stress impacts your physical health. Individuals should focus on stress reduction because it can improve both their mental AND physical health.
When I work with financial advisors, corporations, and industry groups (for example, the California Trucking Association), I promote mental wellness by sharing the secrets of psychology that will help make your life happier, less stressful and even extend your life. One of the main goals is to change how people interpret events, thus lowering or eliminating the stress they feel.
That said, psychology is also full of stress mastery tips specific to different personalities. Here are a couple examples.
Stress Mastery Tips for the Type A Personality
I’m sure many of you have heard of the Type A personality. These are the sort of people who are high functioning in work, even to the point of being obsessed with work. They are perfectionists and easily become agitated when they don’t have control over things. To make it clear, stress mastery for the Type A personality does NOT mean changing the person’s personality. However, there are ways these people can modify their behavior to better deal with stress.
One thing that can dramatically reduce stress for a Type A personality is getting in touch with their anger and hostility. Type A’s often don’t even realize they are behaving in an angry or hostile manner – it often takes people around them to tell them they are acting like that. I once consulted with a surgeon who told me that people say he is angry but he doesn’t feel that way. Their evidence showed that he was, in fact, prone to angry responses and hostile encounters.
For Type A personalities, the biggest stress reducer is coming to terms with anger and hostility so they can change their responses and behaviors. By teaching Type As how to deal with anger, they can reduce that anger quickly and experience less stress.
Stress Mastery Tips for the People-Pleasing Personality
Another personality type that is prone to stress is what I like to call the People Pleasers. These are people who will do anything they can so others do not get upset with them. They avoid confrontations to a fault and often let themselves get manipulated because they want to be liked. Although the People Pleaser does his or her best to accommodate others and to remain liked, these situations often weigh on them and build up their stress level.
Once again, there are ways to help People Pleasers reinterpret situations in their lives and change their behaviors to avoid stress. More specifically, People Pleasers often benefit from assertiveness training. They need to learn how to stand up to others – but to do so in a way that doesn’t offend the other person. This accommodates their need to be peaceful and liked with their need to stand up for themselves. They also need to learn how to recognize when others are trying to manipulate them so they can avoid these stressful experiences.
As these examples show, stress mastery may vary a little depending on what kind of personality type you are – but we ALL have the capacity to change how we interpret events and respond to them, thus reducing the amount of stress we feel. In my next blog post, I will talk about a more general stress mastery tip that works for everyone in just about every situation imaginable – the importance of active listening.