Is Being Type A Bad For Your Health?

TYPE A AND TYPE B PERSONALITIES

Say there's a mountain. One person takes the "Because it's there" initiative and furiously climbs it as fast as possible, annoyed at anything that gets in their way, and takes little joy in the accomplishment.

Another person sees the mountain and just makes themselves comfortable at the bottom of it, leaning against its first slopes. Why? "Because it's there." This person is calm, self-reflective, and less stressed.

That first person is someone with a Type A personality, someone who is competitive, has an urgency of time, and tends to be hostile or aggressive. The second person has a Type B personality, someone who is relaxed, tends to take one thing at a time, and expresses their feelings.

THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF TYPE A PERSONALITY

Know any Type As out there? Guilty as charged? Well, this isn't just a fun personality test to take, but a health concern that can significantly affect your heart.

Being Type A puts you more at risk for heart disease than smoking, being overweight, or having high cholesterol! Part of a strategy for reducing stress in Type A people is surrounding yourself with calming imagery. Naturescapes anyone?

If you work in a doctor's office or hospital, your patients could really benefit from the introduction of nature imagery, proven to reduce stress and positively affect recovery. (Check out the Evidence-Based Art page for more information!)

THE DISCOVERY OF TYPE A: THE WAITING ROOM

In fact, Type A personality was discovered in a doctor's office waiting room. A cardiologist's office needed reupholstering for their waiting room chairs every month. After awhile, the regular upholsterer was on vacation and the substitute came in. He was shocked. The front and arms of the chairs were totally worn out since last month?  What is the deal with your patients?

The two cardiologists, doctors Friedman & Rosenman, dismissed him, only to realize years later that there was in fact a connection between those patient's personalities, their hearts, and those chairs. So tense and stressed were those patients that they literally rubbed the chairs raw. The doctors labelled it 'Type A personality'.

That substitute upholsterer is to this day unknown.

Check out this hilarious clip of neurologist Robert Sapolsky pointing out the absurdity of this very discovery.  Then get some nature imagery - it'll make you healthier, whatever Type you are!