Personalities can be categorized in a number of ways. Maybe you’ve taken a test based on one of these approaches, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Big Five inventory.

Dividing personalities into type A and type B is one method of describing different personalities, though this categorization can be seen as more of a spectrum, with A and B on opposite ends. It’s common to have a mix of type A and type B traits.

Generally speaking, people with a type A personality are often characterized as being:

  • driven
  • hardworking
  • determined to succeed

They’re often quick and decisive, with a tendency to multitask. They may also experience high levels of stress. This led researchers in the 1950s and 1960s to suggest that people with a type A personality had a higher risk of heart disease, though this was later debunked.

There isn’t a firm definition of what it means to have a type A personality, and traits can vary slightly from person to person.

Generally, if you have a type A personality, you may:

  • have a tendency to multitask
  • be competitive
  • have a lot of ambition
  • be very organized
  • dislike wasting time
  • feel impatient or irritated when delayed
  • spend much of your time focused on work
  • be highly focused on your goals
  • be more likely to experience stress when faced with delays or other challenges that affect success

Having a type A personality often means you find your time very valuable. People might describe you as motivated, impatient, or both. Your thoughts and internal processes likely focus on concrete ideas and the immediate tasks at hand.

A sense of urgency around work may lead you to try tackling multiple things at once, often without a break. You may also be prone to criticizing yourself, especially if you had to leave something undone or feel you didn’t do a good job.

A type B personality is the counterpart to a type A personality. It’s important to keep in mind that these types reflect more of a spectrum. Most people fall somewhere between the two extremes.

People with a type B personality tend to be more laidback. Others might describe people with this personality as being relaxed or easygoing.

If you have a type B personality, you may:

  • spend a lot of time on creative pursuits or philosophical thought
  • feel less rushed when completing assignments or tasks for work or school
  • not feel stressed when you can’t get to everything on your to-do list

Having a type B personality doesn’t mean you never feel stressed. But you may experience less stress when you don’t meet your goals in comparison to people with a type A personality. You may also find it easier to manage stress.

Personality is part of what makes you who you are. There’s no “good” or “bad” personality. Having a type A personality comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Pros

Type A behavior patterns can beneficial, especially at work. If you’re direct and decisive with a strong desire and ability to achieve your goals, you’ll probably do well in leadership roles.

When faced with a challenge, you may prefer to take quick action instead of deliberating for hours. You might also find it easier to push forward when a situation becomes difficult. These qualities can be very valuable both at work and at home.

Cons

Type A behavior is sometimes associated with stress. It may feel natural to juggle several projects at a time, but this can result in stress, even if you prefer to have a lot going on at once.

Other type A traits, such as the tendency to keep working until everything is done, only add to this stress.

While stress is sometimes helpful for pushing you through a tough situation, it can affect your physical and emotional health if left unchecked.

You may also be more inclined to have a short temper. If someone or something slows you down, you may react with impatience, irritation, or hostility. This can lead to problems in your personal and professional relationships.

Remember, having a type A personality isn’t a good or bad thing. If you think you have a type A personality, you don’t need to worry about trying to change it.

However, if you deal with high levels of stress, it may be beneficial to develop some stress-management techniques, especially if you tend to react to stressful situations with anger, irritation, or hostility.

To deal with stress, consider trying some of the following tips:

  • Find your triggers. Everyone has different stress triggers. Simply identifying them before they become an issue can help you find ways to get around them or minimize your exposure to them.
  • Take breaks. Even if it isn’t possible to avoid a stressful situation entirely, you can give yourself at least 15 minutes to breathe, talk to a friend, or enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Allowing yourself some time to collect yourself can help you face a challenge with more positivity.
  • Make time for exercise. Taking 15 or 20 minutes every day for activity that gets your heart rate up can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Walking or biking to work instead of driving can help you avoid rush-hour traffic and start your day with increased energy.
  • Practice self-care. It’s important to take care of yourself, especially when you’re stressed. Self-care can include eating nutritious foods, being active, and getting enough sleep, as well as taking time to enjoy hobbies, be alone, and relax.
  • Learn new relaxation techniques. Meditation, breath work, yoga, and other similar activities can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reducing stress hormones and helping you feel calmer.
  • Talk to a therapist. If it’s hard to deal with stress on your own, a trained mental health professional can help you identify sources of stress and support you in learning how to deal with them.