Your mind can be the most powerful survival tool that you have at your disposal when used properly. A survival mindset will help you survive even when you have no tools, equipment, or other supplies.
Some refer to this as a will to live but a survival mindset is much more than just this single factor. Read the following article to find out!
You will need to overcome fear and panic, deal with boredom and high levels of physical and mental stress, be mentally flexible and ready to adapt no matter what is thrown at you, learn to be a predator instead of prey, recognize danger instantly, and have a can do attitude that will keep you going no matter how bad things get.
- Practice dissociation when you perform long sets of exercises that involve monotonous repetition, such as sit ups, push, ups, and other simple exercises that can be grueling over the long haul. Try to do 100 sit ups in a single setting, and when you start to get uncomfortable use dissociation to focus your mind elsewhere while your body continues to push on. This will help you train for dealing with fear and panic when these negative responses occur.
- Try sitting in cold water for as long as possible. Cold water is uncomfortable and it can cause your mind to try and cave if you let it. After a few minutes all you want to do is get out and get warm. Instead of giving in to this impulse stay in the water as long as possible and try to refocus or distance your mind from the physical cold sensations. Over time you should notice that your time keeps increasing as your dissociation skills improve.
- When you experience fear or panic try to focus on people who depend on you instead of these emotions, whether this is your family, your team, or your co-workers. These people are relying on you to keep going and not give up, and this can be the mental focus that you need to push fear and panic responses into the background or keep fighting to overcome any obstacles in the way of survival.
- Find your happy place. This is a place in your mind which causes you to experience positive emotions and releases pent up stress that we all carry around. Your own happy place could be a beach, your childhood home, a favorite event, or even Buckingham Palace if that is a place or event that makes you feel happy and at peace.
- Step outside of your comfort zone and set goals that challenge you in new ways. When you put yourself in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations you will experience some of the stress reactions that survival will entail. This gives you an opportunity to learn how to deal with these reactions in a positive way before your life depends on it, and experience first hand what fear, panic, and other stress responses feel like.
- Counter negative thoughts with positive ones. Fear, panic, and other negative emotions can lead to negative thoughts, and these can become contagious. When you have a negative thought immediately replace it with something positive instead.
- Use visualization and guided imagery in order to practice for a real life survival scenario. If you go over situations in your mind in full detail then you will be better prepared when they play out in real life and less likely to react out of fear and panic. Your brain defines reality, and research studies have shown that there was little difference between real life situations and realistic visualizations of the same scenario.
Are You Flexible Enough?
In order to survive any type of situation you will need mental flexibility, and you must be able to adapt to changing situations and circumstances. If you can not do this then you will perish fairly soon after society collapses.
There will be different situations that must be handled in different ways, with a range of new and complex problems popping up that will need to be addressed and solved in order to stay alive.
When you have mental flexibility you are like a willow compared to a large old oak tree in a strong wind. The oak may break from the strength of the wind but the willow will just bend and
will not break.
Mental flexibility allows you to bend so that you do not break, to adapt so that you do not become extinct. When you are mentally flexible you will be able to:
- See your current situation from a variety of different perspectives.
- Adapt to change when your first plan is no longer possible or the situation and circumstances change.
- Learn from your mistakes and do better in the future.
- Use creative and innovative ways to solve problems when traditional solutions do not apply.
- Willingly take risks when this is necessary.
- Tolerate the uncertainty that comes with any chaotic situation.
When things turn sideways and there is no rhyme or reason anymore you need to understand and accept that there is no safe place, and that the government is not going to swoop in and save you. It is up to you.
Holding out an unrealistic hope that there is a safe place or that others will take care of you will cause you to perish. Crowded areas and military outposts, if these even exist, will be fraught with danger and could become high interest targets.
No matter where you are or where you go in any type of chaotic situation where your life is on the line safety is just an illusion while everything is out of control, and feeling safe causes you to let your guard down. This makes you vulnerable and could leave you open to attack or lower your defenses so that you could be victimized in another way.
Don’t become a victim or put your survival at risk with a false sense of security.
Attitude Raises You Up and Breaks You Down to Pieces
Attribute even the most grueling physical training and truckloads of supplies will not be enough when things go sideways and the civilized society that we know doesn’t exist anymore. Negativity will quickly wear you down and harm your mental health.
The will to survive and a degree of stubbornness is just one part of the survival attitude that will get you through almost anything. You also need to be realistic about your situation while still maintaining some hope for the future, something that can be difficult to do in this type of setting and circumstances.
Mental toughness allows you to keep going even when it seems like all is lost, and looking at the positive aspects of any situation will help you avoid dwelling on the negatives,
Recognize negative emotions and thought patterns when these occur, and address them immediately before they can take hold and grow.
Replace each negative thought or emotion with one that is more positive. If you think “I can’t do this” then flip the script and tell yourself “I can do this, I am strong, and I will be a survivor.”
Don’t let guilt or anger get the best of you. It is easy to blame yourself or to get angry when the world seems to turn upside down or it seems like everything has gone haywire, but these negative emotions have no place in your mental toolbox and they need to be banished as soon as they start.
Keep telling yourself that you are not to blame, and that getting angry will not help you but it could work against you and keep you from surviving. Remember that things happen, and we all have a bad day or experience unpleasant situations.
Keep a positive mental outlook on any situation and you are more likely to stay alive. One way you can do this is to imagine a bad situation, and then try to find a silver lining.
Even the worst catastrophic events will have something positive that can be associated with them, and you need to look for the bright ray of light in even the darkest situations and most dire circumstances.
A survival mindset is key if you want to stay alive in any life or death situation, whether this is a zombie apocalypse, a natural disaster, or government gone wrong.
Work on yourself to get yours!
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This article has been written by John Gilmore for Survivopedia.