We often focus on the Rule of 3’s as more of a guideline on how long you can endure withoutwater, food, contact, etc. However the often overlooked first rule is that without faith and hope you do not have a chance to survive.
Your job in a survival situation is to stay alive. As you can see, you are going to experience an assortment of thoughts and emotions. These can work for you, or they can work to your downfall. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, depression, and loneliness are all possible reactions to the many stresses common to survival. These reactions, when controlled in a healthy way, help to increase a survivor’s likelihood of surviving. They prompt the survivor to pay more attention in training, to fight back fear when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with his fellow survivors, and to strive against large odds.
When you cannot control these reactions in a healthy way, they bring you to a standstill. Instead of rallying your internal resources, you begin to focus on your internal fears. You mess with your own mind. The survivor who loses faith and hope immediately experiences psychological defeat long before you physically succumb. Survival is natural to everyone but getting unexpectedly thrust into the life and death struggle of survival is not. Don’t be afraid of your “natural reactions to this unnatural situation.” Prepare yourself to rule over these reactions so they serve your ultimate interest–staying alive.
Survival looks like an adventure on the television and for some it seems like a natural part of life. In reality it involves preparation to ensure that your reactions in a survival setting are productive, not destructive. Below are a few highlights to help prepare yourself psychologically for survival.
Be honest, most of us think that because we are outdoors allot, went to a few Boy Scout camps, or are avid hikers/hunters, we “live in the woods”. While this is true for some, its not true for most.
We emphasize getting out and training in all conditions, not only to prep you for an unforseen survival event, but as a confidence builder for any situation. Cancer, job loss, death of a loved one all require resiliance.
Using our methodology of “Zone Survival” you are able to have a starting point as well as a point to retreat to when training outdoors. Through the training you do in your Comfort Zone, discover who you are on the inside. Strengthen your stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive. To know more about Zone Survival, sign up for one of our classes at http://www.AdventureIQ.com
You will get scared. Some people have never spent the night in the woods, gone a few days without food, or traveled cross-country using only a map and compass.You will be afraid the first time you are alone in an unknown situation whether it is training or for real. Don’t pretend that you will have no fears. Begin thinking about what would frighten you the most if forced to survive alone. Train in those areas of concern to you. If you are worried that you wouldn’t be able to start a fire in rain, go out to Ft Backyard and turn on the sprinkler and figure out how you will get a fire going while water falls on you. Worried about dressing out game, get with someone who can teach you how to prepare wild game for eating. The goal is not to eliminate the fear, but to build confidence in your ability to function despite your fears.
Survival situations suck at best. Don’t be afraid to make an honest appraisal of situations. See circumstances as they are, not as you want them to be. Keep your hopes and expectations within the estimate of the situation. When I was without water in the Chiuauan Desert and days from water, I sized up the situation, realized I could die, and devised a plan to get back, even if it was to only get back closer to rescue. When you go into a survival setting with unrealistic expectations, you may be laying the groundwork for bitter disappointment. Follow the adage, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” It is much easier to adjust to pleasant surprises about one’s unexpected good fortunes than to be upset by one’s unexpected harsh circumstances.
Adopt a Positive Attitude
During my own situation, I made up my mind that I was going to live. You can survive three days without water, but only three seconds without faith and hope. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). Rescue should be a sweet interruption to your survival. In other words, get so good at it that when rescue occurs it is a welcome surprise. Learn to see the potential good in everything. Looking for the good not only boosts morale, it also is excellent for exercising your imagination and creativity.
Remind Yourself What Is at Stake
Its when we realize that we are going to possibly die that we need to remind that if we don’t make it back we are going to be missed. Remember, failure to prepare yourself psychologically to cope with survival leads to reactions such as depression, carelessness, inattention, loss of confidence, poor decision-making, and giving up before the body gives in. At stake is your life and the lives of others who are depending on you to do your share.
I spend hours perfecting small parts of my craft. Building bow drill fires, hunting game with a slingshot, making natural shelters, and attending classes like wild edibles are just a sample of how I keep my brain and my “can-do” spirit in shape.
Through survival training and life experiences, begin today to prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival. Demonstrating your skills in training will give you the confidence to call upon them should the need arise. Remember, the more realistic the training, the less overwhelming an actual survival setting will be. Training in realistic conditions when its wet, cold, you’re hungry, your injured, or a combination of any of these will prepare you when everything goes south.
Learn Stress Management Techniques
In every real situation we have to quickly understand what we can control and what we can influence, all the other stuff we have to let it go. If you don’t learn to take it down a notch you’re likely to get into more trouble. People under stress have a potential to panic if they are not well-trained and not prepared psychologically to face whatever the circumstances may be. Many lost people run when they realize they don’t know where they are. Its an survival response inorder to get large muscles moving and create a rythmic state that calms.
While we often cannot control the survival circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is within our ability to control our response to those circumstances. Learning stress management techniques can enhance significantly your capability to remain calm and focused as you work to keep yourself and others alive. A few good techniques to develop include relaxation skills, time management skills, assertiveness skills, and cognitive restructuring skills (the ability to control how you view a situation).
Remember, “the will to survive” can also be considered to be “the refusal to give up.”