There are a number of ways of tackling this and they all take time to learn and practise; there is no quick way to unlearn or modify what has taken years to learn.
As a start, set yourself drills aimed to make you do the opposite to what you normally do. For example, if you get impatient whilst waiting then your drill would be to find a queue and practise waiting without getting impatient. Keep with you a paperback to read or a pack of postcards to write to friends or to make notes or plans for a DIY project. You might say avoiding queues is the best answer. Yes but, being realistic, you cannot get through life these days without queueing at some time or another. If you travel by car you will certainly get caught in traffic jams. In this case take the opportunity to relax; put the gear in neutral, handbrake on, feet on floor, breathe deeply and slowly, and recall a pleasant memory.
Review your driving habits – do you drive fast? Race the red light? Do a Grand Prix start on green? Overtake and weave in and out of traffic? If so, then set yourself drills such as driving mainly in the slow lane and keeping to one lane.
Make a list of your Type A behaviours using the description of Type A we provided earlier (see pages 86-7) then make a diary of drills appropriate for your treatment. For example:
Monday: Speak more slowly
Tuesday: Tackle one task/thing at a time (instead of polyphasing)
Wednesday: Keep mainly in the left-hand traffic lane (instead of weaving from one lane to another to get in the fastest moving lane)
Thursday: Walk more slowly
Friday: Linger at the table (instead of rushing away as soon as you finish eating)
Saturday: Seek a long queue and practise waiting patiently (instead of getting impatient and irritated)
Sunday: Leave your watch off and practise being less time urgent (instead of letting time dictate your day)
Each day, concentrate on the specified drill. So for Monday, concentrate on speaking more slowly; for Tuesday do only one task at a time, and so on. Gradually, with regular drilling, you replace your old Type A behaviours with new Type B behaviours. After a while these will become a habit in just the same way as you learned your Type A behaviours which formed your old habits. Without noticing, you will soon be practising Type B behaviours each day of the week and not only on your specified drill day.
Accept that your change from Type A towards Type B will take a long time to achieve. You will find it useful to construct a drill diary for each day of the year. Here is a list of suggested drills to assign randomly to each day of the year. You will need to use each one several times along with your own drills.
Walk more slowly
Speak more slowly
Say … Maybe I’m wrong
Leave your watch off
Listen to music for 15 minutes
Linger at the table after a meal
Recall pleasant memories for 10 minutes
Buy a small gift for a friend, partner or family member
Drive in the slow lane
Practise listening during conversations
Notice objects around you: trees, flowers
Practise eradicating hostile grimaces
Stop fist clenches and knee jiggles
Verbalize affection for your partner and children
Observe facial expression (your own and others)
Ask a friend about themselves
Set aside 30 minutes for yourself
Eat more slowly
Seek a long queue and wait patiently
Read for 30 minutes
Alter one of your usual habits or ways of doing things
Substitute understanding for anger
Soak in a bath for 15 minutes
Practise anger control
Visit a museum, art gallery or park
Contact an old friend -someone with a job or profession different from yours
Refer to yourself less often in conversations
These drills are aimed at alleviating your sense of time urgency and easily aroused anger and hostility.
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