AN INTERVIEW WITH DR AILEEN ALEGADO
Infinite ideas run through my head. They all must be perfectly literate on the paper first go. Deadlines loom! Everything must be perfect; even one mistake is not good enough. Compromise is not an option. I need to ensure the standard that I set upon myself is achieved. These are the common thoughts that run through the minds of professionals with an ‘A-type’ personality.
Although A-type personalities are commonly associated with workaholics and perfectionists, the trait can hold numerous benefits and downfalls that with the right mindset and skills can define how you utilise this trait. It is a trait that many of us may have, and as such, have the power to conquer.
“A-type personality is a term used to describe people who are driven, competitive, ambitious, highly organised, impatient and at times aggressive,” says Dr Aileen.
Dr Aileen Alegado, the Director and primary clinician at Mindset Consulting Psychology, believes that A-type personalities can reduce the chance of burning out by slowing down.
“Because A-types are typically seen as ‘workaholics’ they need to take time to consciously slow down (a practice of mindfulness) and take breaks during the day/ week to reduce one’s risk of burning out,” says Dr Aileen.
Through engaging in exercise and participating in calming activities, A-type personalities can learn to mitigate the symptoms commonly associated with this trait.
“Exercise and a balance of connecting with people is also positive in creating a routine that has flexibility and balance for A-types,” Says Dr Aileen.
“Engaging in other behaviours that trigger our parasympathetic nervous system, commonly known as the “calming’ system, such as meditation, writing down your thoughts and feelings (journaling) and self-care.”
With a better understanding of your thoughts, you will be able to identify and alter your critical thinking to minimise stress.
“Often A-types have thinking patterns that can be all or nothing, perfectionistic or critical so learning to reframe thinking to a more compassionate stance often helps reduce stress placed on oneself,” says Dr Aileen.
Without the correct mindset, the pressure and ambition of A-type personalities can lead to severe downfalls, especially with their health.
“A-type personalities have been found to be at higher risk of Cardiovascular disease, anxiety conditions and other stress related conditions, ie. High blood pressure and IBS,” says Dr Aileen.
Linked to workaholics and perfectionists, A-type personalities are subject to a higher risk of burnout and chronic fatigue. Further, A-types can misread situations and struggle to form effective working relationships.
“Their stubbornness may lead to rigid or inflexible way of thinking; persisting to get something done even if the odds are not in his or her favour,” says Dr Aileen.
“In our current climate and subsequent pandemic and recession , their impatience can lead to despair if new business ventures are taking off slower than anticipated, leading to feelings of failure.”
Although A-types may have downfalls associated with this trait, they also have many benefits which if utilised correctly can help someone benefit in even the most unpredictable and inconvenient of circumstances.
“Type – A’s appreciate money, opportunities, freedom, challenges, and leadership, which during a pandemic can be very useful traits,” says Dr Aileen.
“Their ability to spot new opportunities in the current market can lead to great new ventures and job prospects.”
A-types’ perseverance, determination and organisation skills allow for them to continue to work productively and with an entrepreneurial spirit. As with all personality traits, it has its benefits and downfalls. However, the good news is that if you are an A-type with the right training and understanding, your future in the corporate world is bright.