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Type A Worriers

By Dr. Linda Sapadink

Are you a Type A Worrier? Not sure? To find out, answer these questions:

Do you have difficulty relaxing?
Do you think about all the horrible things that could happen to you (or a loved one) if.....?
Do you have a can't-get-to-sleep/ get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night personality?
Do you beat-yourself-up for every little infraction you make?
Do you worry about things that haven't happened yet, and may never happen at all?
Do you hear a cacophony of voices in your head telling you what you should do? And do you try to listen to them all?
Do you easily become impatient with yourself?
Do you have a secret stash of worries marinating in your mind, even though you appear composed to others?
Do you become easily agitated when change is thrust upon you?

Okay, how did you do?

If you answered "Yes" to at least three of these questions, it's likely that your worrying has intensified since you took the test.

Relax. Worrying is not a fatal disease, though it does make life more difficult and not so pleasant. But you already know that. So what can you do about it? Here are some guidelines for you to follow:

Take three deep breaths - inhaling slowly, exhaling slowing. As you do, say to yourself, "relax and let go; there's nothing I need to take care of at this very moment." If you worry when flying, tell yourself it's okay to relax; under no circumstances will the pilot be calling on you for help in landing the plane. Then use the time to read, play a game or doze off.

Treat the worrying part of yourself like a troublesome toddler whose attention needs to be redirected. Yes, worrying is troublesome. So what else could you pay attention to? Try anything that begins with mmm, mmm, good: how about music, movies, muscles, marriage? Doesn't work for you? Pick another letter of the alphabet and see what pops into your mind.

Limit your worrying. Allow yourself 20 minutes, max. After that, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on to something else. No, not another worry. Another activity. You do have something else to do, don't you? Besides chomp, chomp, nervously feeding your face, chomp, chomp or downing another drink.

If you've tried these guidelines and your worrying has not disappeared, relax. Be kind to yourself. Change takes time. Continue to put these ideas into practice. Seek help in discovering other ways to overcome worry. And soon you'll discover that temperament is a trend, not a destiny.

Copyright 2010, Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her at or visit her website at

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