Today: Jul 14, 2024

Calm down: for Type A personalities


Generally speaking, people can be classified into two personality categories. Some are naturally calm and relaxed—those known with a Type B personality; while others are stressed and high-strung, often referred to as those with Type A personality.

When you undergo an event that is perceived as difficult, I believe that is when you discover your “real” self, or your innate personality.

If you have a Type B personality, I’m assuming you’re the person that people look to when they are in stressful situations. If you have a Type A personality, like me, you may be the person that gets frightened easily, overreacts and unintentionally riles up your friends due to your involuntary tendency to imagine the worst that will happen. However, I believe with deep reflection, a person can review his or her mistakes and take steps to prevent “meltdowns,” often experienced by me and my fellow Type A-ers.

Over spring break, my friend and I went hiking at Sleeping Giant. Now, while we are not professional hikers, we are not novice hikers either. We hiked often last year and even conquered the dreaded blue blaze trail. However, this was our first hike of the season, so we decided to ease ourselves back into the process.

We arrived at Sleeping Giant around 5 p.m., which was mistake No. 1. Due to our inability to make decisions, we could not pick a trail right away—mistake No. 2. After walking on a trail for a short while, we decided to switch course in attempt to find a trail that had a stream and a picturesque view—mistake No. 3. Once we finally decided on a trail, we stuck to it. Occasionally we stopped along the way to take pictures and take in the view—mistake number four.

After walking for quite a while, we thought it was strange because the map indicated the hike was only a little over two miles. Due to my complete lack of spatial awareness and map-illiteracy, I was of no help trying to determine where we went wrong. A few minutes went by and I realized that we were in fact lost.

I called to let my family know where we were in the mountain and that we were trying to find our way out. My family informed me we may need to call the police because it was going to get dark soon. We did not take into account that we normally hike in the summer when the days are longer. I was starting to get nervous.

When I attempted to help my friend decipher the map, which seemed much like ancient hieroglyphics, I realized that we were at the opposite end of the mountain (nowhere near the entrance where our car was parked). Now, my heart was racing profusely.

We were forced to switch our course and made our way to a deserted road with no lighting, and it was pitch black. I was thinking we would die out there and no one would find us. All the while my friend was trying to calm me down and stay positive. When we finally make it to a main road, I became even more panicked thinking we would get hit by a car because of the low visibility, or we were going to get taken by a crazy person. Luckily, I had a family member on the phone who was trying to find us on the road. But at that point, I was screaming and thinking the worst possible things. I was almost on the verge of tears. Eventually, my family members found us and drove us back to the entrance.

Now I can laugh at this difficult event. However, while I was going through it, I really felt that we were going to die. I could not calm myself down, or stay positive. One of my worst fears had come true. I got lost in a mountain in the dark, without flashlights, with no protection against wild animals or psycho killers that lurk in the mountains. Reflecting on this situation, I realize I should have done things differently. For all you Type A-ers, if you are in a difficult situation, my advice is:

● Call for help immediately; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

● Remember to breathe deeply from your diaphragm

● If you’re with another person, talk about only positive things. Letting your imagination run wild intensifies the situation.

● Always plan what you are going to do, where you will go, who will be with you ahead of time, and tell someone where you are going

A wise professor once told me that you need to look at life in terms of the bigger picture and say if x (you fill in the blank) happens, will your life really be over? Too often people, including myself, think that certain things will lead to our lives being over. How many times have you or your friends said things similar to: If I fail this test, I’ll die. If we break up, my life will be over. Specifically for me: If I get lost, I’ll die. But in reality that is not the case.

Next time you find yourself in a seemingly difficult situation, the most important thing is to stay calm and think about things rationally. I know that this is easier said than done, but try it and work on replacing your maladaptive thoughts with positive ones.

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