Column 18 - Type A or Type B

Original publication date: January 4, 1984

New Year's resolutions. Changes to make you a better person. Changes to make you a healthier person. Changes just for the sake of change. Some resolutions won't work out and you'll disregard them. Others will be things you sincerely want to change so you'll persevere.

A resolution that should be added to everyone's list is this - do nothing everyday for 365 days of the year.

With holiday time over you'll find you'll have less worries, you won't have to worry about the Christmas shopping and whether the presents will be well received. The baking and the decoration making and the fussing over the turkey are over with for another year. You'll have more time to relax and just do nothing.

You may not to though. If you're energetic, hardworking, competitive, quick-actioned and always racing the clock, like 50 per cent of the population, you may never have learned how important relaxation is, or how to do it. You could be classified as type A. Type B is the kind of person who is calm and relaxed without any undue cause for worrying about time or quick action. About 40 per cent of the population falls into this category with the remaining 10 per cent somewhere in between.

Type A people are most admired in business and industry. Their energy and incessant hurrying helps them to attain goals far faster than someone who is a type B. They could however, be hurrying themselves into a heart attack.

According to a study done by two American cardiologists, Meyer Friedman and Ray H. Rosenman, a type A person is three times more likely to develop heart disease than a R e i type B person. Under stress, a type A person produces higher levels of hormones that could lead to a weakened heart. A type A person, under stress, produces 40 per cent more cortisol than a type B person and adrenaline levels which are three times higher. Both hormones at an increased level cause higher levels of fat to be released into the blood- stream.

Not only does stress play an important part in heart disease, it is a leading factor in cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver, and in suicides - six of the leading causes of death in North America.

Daily exercise is beneficial as a means to release stress. Anything from racquetball to vacuuming can be used to vent frustrations. Some people, however, do not know how to use exercise as a stress release. It may just get them more wound up until they feel they may explode.

If you're uptight at the office or wherever you work, instead of taking a coffee break (which increases the tension with the caffeine) take a relaxing break. Sit in your favorite spot at work, preferably a quiet one, and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply until you feel yourself unwinding. Pay careful attention to your muscle sensations. Where is the tension concentrated? Ease it out. Try to think of nothing for several minutes. Now stand up and stretch luxuriously like a cat, inhaling deeply as you do. Exhale completely and then continue with your day. This practice of doing nothing produces stress reduction. The heart rate and blood pressure are reduced, and the nervous system and breathing are slowed down.

Doing nothing is doing something.

Copyright 2021 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.