Mind Over Matter – A Mental Survival Kit

| September 18, 2013 |

mental survival kit

Think about the countless news reports and stories you’ve read about everyday people surviving unthinkable emergency situations: Young women escaping from the dungeons of sexual predators.  Ship captains surviving ordeals with modern-day pirates.  Innocent drivers struck and plunged into frigid waters, or stranded on snow-covered wilderness roads.  The chances that these individuals are carrying a bug-out-bag or emergency kit when disaster strikes are slim to none–and even slimmer that they can access it or make efficient use of its contents.  The fortunate times when these brave men and women live to tell their tales, the story is that of their will to survive.

Possessing proper survival skills and equipment and training yourself for emergency situations will always give you an edge over the unprepared.  But gear and physical routines will only get you so far–especially if you’re left stranded without them or faced with a situation that you haven’t trained for.  Fortunately, you can start making changes to your behavior, situational awareness, and mental attitude so that you will feel ready for a disaster even before it strikes (you can’t start making changes in the middle of an emergency after all).  The most common factor reported by real world survivors is their unwavering certainty that they will make it through their ordeal no matter how bad the going gets.

Mental Survival Kit

Consider the amount of time, money, and preparation that you’ve put into you’ve own disaster survival kit.  You probably have a sturdy blade, a fire starter, first aid kit, and maybe some random supplies for making shelter and catching food.  These tools will be great if you can wait conveniently by an endless supply of fresh water and fish and wait for rescue.  But true survivors use their mental skills and emotional strength to foster an endless determination to get out alive completely on their own.  Below are some skills and attributes you should consider adopting as a “mental survival kit” so you are prepared in advance of an emergency.

Learn to adapt.  Being faced with a survival situation is all about learning to adjust to your surroundings and discovering new skills on the fly.  Learn to use your environment to your advantage: cover your skin in mud to repel mosquitos, follow birds and game trails to water sources–little things that could mean the difference between life and death.

Remain positive.  An incredibly important factor in survival is maintaining a positive attitude.  An emergency survival situation will likely leave you alone without anyone or anything to help you.  You must accept the fact that your fate is in your hands and start implementing and executing a plan to survive.  It could help to think of family and friends waiting for you back home, or singing songs around your campfire to keep your spirits up–a poor attitude is a death sentence in the wild.

Strengthen your resolve.  Mental stamina must endure in order to overcome a survival situation.  You can start by following through with mundane everyday tasks in your life that you may otherwise pass over: instead of deciding whatever you needed in that stuck kitchen drawer wasn’t that important and move on, stick with it until its unstuck.  This will both strengthen your mind’s resolve and reinforce your will NOT to give up (and to make the next person’s life who uses that drawer much easier).  In a wilderness survival situation, persistence and determination will play a large role in overcoming inevitable obstacles.

Set and stick to goals.  Overcoming the larger picture of surviving an emergency situation is often credited with an individual’s ability to set attainable goals and break tasks down into manageable steps.  This sometimes means doing something simple like tending to a fire just to keep the mind occupied and fixed on a goal.  The more you force your brain to think sequentially, both in everyday life and times of crisis, the more likely your resolve will remain strong and you will make the necessary progress to get out alive.

Conserve your resources.  The human body and brain only have but so much capacity to do work, both require regular rest in order to handle the tasks we require of them.  Learn how to conserve your energy and recognize signs of fatigue in your body (and mind).  Adrenaline and sheer determination to survive can often overshadow the body’s cries of pain and demand for rest.  Take proper time to rest, sleep, and calm the mind as often as possible.

Manage fear, avoid panic.  Fear is a natural response when a person is faced with an unusual or uncomfortable situation.  It can be triggered by almost anything and there is no way of knowing how someone will react until to his or her fears.  Learn how to recognize the onset of fear and learn how to control its effects.  The worst thing you can do in the wild is panic–this is when people start thinking irrationally and making the wrong choices.  Manage your fear by staying occupied and keeping a positive outlook on the situation.

The above skills can make an enormous difference in whether or not you will endure and survive an emergency situation.  The true test begins when they have to be applied in reality, but you must learn to adopt them well in advance and hope that no emergency will ever warrant their use.  But no matter how much gear you have stockpiled or how practiced you are in primitive skills and self-defense, you are much more likely to survive if you are mentally prepared.





Category: Mental Preperation

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