To help you modify your Type A Behaviour use self-adhesive red hearts available from Stresswise (see page 209) which remind you to practise your drills. As an alternative to the hearts you can use small self-adhesive coloured paper dots available from stationers. Place one in the centre of your watch glass as a reminder to rid yourself of your chronic sense of time urgency. Every time you glance at your watch remember your drills. Place a heart on your steering wheel or dashboard as a reminder to rid yourself of Type A driving habits. Place one on the telephone to act as a cue to tackle one task at a time and not to polyphase whilst speaking. How about one on your placemat at the dinner table reminding you to eat more slowly and to linger at the table?
A heart paperclip (also available from Stresswise) can be used as a cue in your diary. It will remind you to slow down, not to clutter your day with appointments, to avoid creating unnecessary deadlines and to leave some time in the day for yourself.
We deliberately use hearts as cueing devices because of the associations between Type A Behaviour and the heart. Many participants in our stress management programmes find that this association, together with their awareness of the stress response and Type A Behaviour, motivates them more than anything else to modify their behaviour. As a typical example of this, a man related to us his experience whilst driving at the start of his counselling programme. I was sitting in the traffic jam staying in the slow lane but I could feel my noradrenaline start to flow. I looked at the heart on the steering wheel and reminded myself that the way I was feeling could allow noradrenaline to strike at my heart. A traffic jam is not worth dying for so I turned my cassette on, sat back and relaxed. It was interesting watching those ignorant of this fact gambling with their life in more ways than one!
Regular drilling takes a great deal of will-power. You will find it helpful to ask family and friends to act as monitors. Explain to them what you are doing and ask them to monitor your progress. They can remind you to drill if you lapse into your old Type A ways. The wife of a man on our programme hummed the television show A Team’ theme tune each time her husband lapsed into his Type A ways. Your monitors may also suggest drills for Type A Behaviours you are unaware you possess; Type As are often blind to their own behaviour. Ask your monitors to read the section on Type A Behaviour and invite their comments on the way you behave. Be prepared to listen carefully to your monitor’s observations. They can provide you with support and at the same time help themselves to modify their own Type A Behaviour.