6 Potential Downsides To Living With A Type A Personality Your Whole Life

by Caroline Burke

By the time you're in high school, you usually know whether you have a Type A or Type B personality. It's one of the first ways we're taught to categorize ourselves, and although labeling yourself and compartmentalizing your mental capacities into a tidy little box usually isn't a good idea, knowing your personality type can be really helpful when it comes to monitoring your health. It's crucial to know whether you're Type A or Type B, since Type A personalities are prone to stress, not to mention the side effects of long-term stress, which can include heart disease, higher cholesterol levels, and an increased likelihood of developing depression.

First of all, it's worth noting that the whole "Type A vs. Type B" thing isn't some line in the sand that was created arbitrarily in the playground. According to Simply Psychology, it all began when two doctors started monitoring their patients' behavior in waiting rooms. There was a certain group of people who constantly stood up, walked around, and sat on the edges of their seats. These people were so intense that they actually rubbed off the front parts and armrests of the chairs, instead of the back parts that other people wore out from sitting in a relaxed fashion. This same group of people were also found to be highly successful and driven, and for the same reasons: They don't like slowing down.

Being Type A can be a huge advantage in countless ways. You work hard, you want to make things as good as they can possibly be, and you hold yourself to a high standard. All of these things can lead to immeasurable success. But with that can come difficulties maintaining relationships with others, and even some potentially serious health risks. Here are six downsides you might experience if you have a Type A personality.

You Have Difficulty Relaxing

When you're constantly thinking about goals to accomplish and ways you might improve your life, it can be hard to give yourself the downtime you deserve.

If you're having difficulty relaxing in your free time, it might be a sign that you're going a little overboard with your ambition.

You Probably Hold Stress In Your Body Longer Than Most People

When you're constantly grappling with psychological stress, it's pretty much a given that your body will feel that stress, too.

Long-term stress can have lasting effects on your body, as your system may still pump out stress hormones long after your brain has stopped thinking about whatever it was that caused the tension in the first place. This can lead to serious wear and tear on both your psyche and your physical health.

You May Be More Likely To Develop Heart Problems

Being Type A can lead to wild levels of success, but it can also take a massive toll on your body. According to Simple Psychology, Type A personalities and heart health are directly connected, such that you're twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease compared to someone who has a Type B personality, mostly because of all of the stress lingering in your body.

You Might Hold Your Relationships To An Impossible Standard

It's one thing to hold yourself to an incredibly high standard, but when you start to do the same to family, friends, and romantic partners, things can get hairy.

If your friend is 10 minutes late to lunch and you're about to blow a gasket, it might be time to figure out some stress-relieving strategies to help you chill out a little.

You Probably Don't Sleep That Well, Or Enough

Being a perfectionist basically guarantees you're going to lose sleep from time to time, if not on a daily basis. You don't go to sleep until all of your work is done, and conversely, you stay up even after your work is done, because you're thinking of everything else you have to do.

Studies have demonstrated a connection between perfectionism and chronic insomnia. That sometimes-over-the-top, go-getter attitude common with Type A personalities can lead to fatigue, low moods, and loss of concentration during the day.

So, if you're Type A, you might just be shooting yourself in the foot by staying up late to finish something, instead of getting a good night's sleep and having the full range of your abilities in working condition by the next morning.

You May Be More Likely To Develop Anxiety Or Depression

Research has found correlations between Type A personalities and mental health, such that having this type of personality can lead to psychological disorders like depression or anxiety.

If you're highly competitive, extremely hard on yourself and your performance, or constantly yearn for praise from others (all of which are Type A characteristics), then you may be predisposed to developing symptoms of these mental health issues. If you do see signs of anxiety or depression beginning to build, you should communicate those immediately with a confidant and/or medical professional, so that you can take steps to find a healthier work-life balance for yourself.