The personality of an individual also affects their reaction to stress. Friedman and Rosenman ( two psychologists) undertook a study in the 1970’s.They found that individuals can be classified into two types. Type A individuals being characterised by highly competitive behaviour, inability to relax or switch off after work, impatience, restlessness and a tendency to do everything in a hurry. Type B individuals are more relaxed, calmer and have a less anxious approach to life. Clinical experience shows that low levels of assertiveness; difficulties in expressing personal feelings, unrealistically high expectations of self and others, often accompanied by a strong perfectionist streak, can lead to high levels of stress.

Stress can be viewed as a dynamic process which has a negative effect on an on an
individual’s lifestyle and can seriously impair their ability to function at an optimal level

There are two types of Personality – A and  B. Type A is more likely to experience stress than B. Which are you?

Focuses on Results Focuses on Process
Achiever Not preoccupied with achievement
Fast Worker Steady worker
Aggressive Enjoys fun
Impatient Seldom impatient
Restless Easy going
Hyper-alert (can’t relax) Relaxed
Explosive speech Speaks calmly
Always feels pressured In control

Most of us recognise that we are often a mixture of both types, depending on circumstances, but if you show predominant   Type A characteristics, then you need to learn to relax more and understand your personal stressors in order to stay on top and prevent stress related illness.

Personal stressors are the things, people, circumstances or events which trigger the stress response. We all have a natural inclination to move away from anything that causes pain or upset, much preferring the fun and pleasurable things that life has to offer but in this real world we need to find a balance.

Pressure at work, school, college, exams, tests, competitiveness, failures, harsh words, negative critisism, family upsets, money worries, keeping up with technology, new or broken friendships/relationships, peer pressure, arguments, having to make difficult decisions, fights, divorce, bereavement – we all respond differently according to our own attitudes, beliefs and values

Most people can cope with short periods of  pressure or mild stress, and it can often be relieved by  deep breathing, taking time out to relax, going for a walk,  discussing things  with friends, or having a good night’s sleep. Chronic (long-term, continuous) stress is much harder to deal with, and can be psychologically and emotionally damaging, both for an individual and for friends and family.