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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 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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