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How well can you handle a crisis?

When something dreadful happens, like your wife announces she wants a divorce, or you lose your job, is your mind clear, focused and alert? Or are you quickly in a tailspin, assuming the worst and paralyses with worry? Most people feel confused in a crisis and just wait to see what happens. A few get extremely anxious and can’t think rationally at all. But around 15 per cent of us tackle calamities calmly, quickly pull themselves together and start making plans.

How do they do that? It isn’t that they’re luckier or tougher than the rest of us: they’ve developed a set of crisis survival skills that work for everything from minor troubles to deadly disasters. And they’re skills we can all learn. Step one’s getting past the initial shock. Probably your thoughts go into overdrive as a crisis strikes. Wondering how you messed up, missed the signs or whatever. Your brain can only process so much at a time, so when you face a threat, it shuts everything else down.

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