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How Mentally Strong People Survive Stressful Situations Without Emotional Breakdowns

How Mentally Strong People Survive Stressful Situations Without Emotional Breakdowns

Have you ever had an emotional breakdown?

I had. It was about two years ago. At this time I worked in a job I absolutely hated and I accidentally deleted a document that I worked on for more than five hours when it happened.

The moment I deleted the file, my hands started to shake, I sweated all over my body and the only thing that I wanted to do was to cry and to throw my freaking laptop out of the window. The only reason why my boss didn’t call the ambulance was because I was able to hold back my tears until I was on the toilet.

In case you think that five wasted hours are not a reason for a meltdown, you are already mentally stronger than I have been at this time. If you, however, understand the pain I felt, you most likely don’t handle stressful situations the way mentally strong people handle them.

Don’t worry. I had to read countless personal development books until I was finally able to survive stressful situations without bruises, strokes and heart attacks. After reading all those books and studying psychology at the university, I realized that mentally strong people who have no problem with stressful situations have ten things in common.

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They don’t see things worse than they are

Whereas people who are very bad at handling stressful situations regard every problem as a reason why the world could end tomorrow, mentally strong people don’t make a problem bigger than it is. I am sure you know those people who freak out as soon something doesn’t work the way they want.

A person who is good at handling stressful situations would never see things worse than they are. A certain dose of realism is way better than too much pessimism.

They are better at accepting reality

The biggest problem that I had when I had my emotional breakdown was that I was still in denial about what happened. I refused to accept the fact that five hours of work got flushed down the toilet by clicking on the wrong button.

If I would have simply accepted what happened, I would have been able to move on within seconds, instead of regretting what I did for the next couple of hours.

They know that stress can be positive

During my psychology studies, I learned that stress can be an extremely positive state of mind. The big problem is that people who can’t deal with stressful situations interpret every indication of stress as a negative condition that should be avoided at all cost, without seeing its benefits.

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Mentally strong people know that stress can be a huge motivating power that can lead to more motivation and a higher level of success. If I wouldn’t put myself under stress by setting a deadline for this article, you wouldn’t be able to read this now.

They interpret stressful situations as opportunities to learn

For most people, stressful situations are a pain in the ass. They fear them, they try to avoid them and they try to put an end to the stress as soon as it arises. This behavior is great if you don’t want to leave your comfort zone, but it is terrible if you want to grow and learn.

The reason why you end up being in a stressful situation is most likely attributed to a mistake you made. A mentally strong person knows that the situation in which he maneuvered himself into offers a great opportunity to learn from mistakes, and to grow as a person as well.

They enjoy the process of becoming stress-resilient

In the same way as you become more confident around men or women, the more of them that you approach, the more likely you are to become more stress-resilient, and the more stressful situations you survive.

Whereas a mentally weak person is afraid to go through this hellish process, a mentally strong person knows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that makes him more resilient for the next stressful situation he has to face.

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They use techniques to calm their minds

What do people who are bad at handling stressful situations do when they are faced with one? They freak out, they break down and they cry for their mothers.

What do mentally strong people do in the same situation? They meditate. The reason why some people can deal with stressful situations and others can’t has nothing to do with God-given powers or a genetic predisposition.

They simply have tools and techniques, such as meditation or autogenic training, that help them to cope with situations that other people can’t cope with.

They are not too proud to search for advice

Sometimes the reason for stress is your inability to handle a situation on your own. And do you know what? That’s absolutely fine. We all reach points in our lives where we need help from other people.

Unfortunately, some people are too stubborn and too proud to ask others for help. Thank God there are also people who know that it is easier to deal with a stressful situation if you master it together.

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They know the difference between real problems and ego problems

When I think back to the day when I had my emotional breakdown I have to admit that I wasn’t faced with a real problem. Yes, my document was gone forever and I had worked for five hours without any reward, but was that really such a big problem?

Nobody except me knew it and I was sure that my boss would never fire me because of such a little mistake. The only reason why I suffered so much was because my ego was hurt. While most people think that a stressful situation is a huge problem, mentally strong people detect when it’s only their ego that is a bit hurt.

They are able to read the symptoms

Prevention is better than cure and the reason why mentally strong people can prevent stressful situations from happening is because they can read the symptoms. You need a certain mental and emotional strength in order to develop a high awareness for the signs your body sends out.

You can handle stressful situations way better if you rethink the way you do things as soon as your heart starts to race and your hands start to shake.

They learned to control their emotions

The most important skill that allows mentally strong people to survive stressful situations without emotional breakdowns is that they learned to control their emotions. A lot of people are victims to their own emotion who have no clue how to control them.

If you can learn how to control your emotions, the next stressful situation you will face will feel like a walk in the park.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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