Without knowledge, there’s no chance of survival during a disaster. There are plenty of survival stories where survivalists managed to survive despite not having any type of gear nor resources. No cutting tools, no medications, no food, sometimes not even proper clothing. And yet they managed to survive, and history recorded them as heroes. Which, without a doubt, they are.
We are all aware that survival isn’t about owning the most sophisticated gear.
We can’t deny the advantages of wearing a Goretex jacket when dealing with miserable weather, and it surely helps a lot having one when dealing with inclement weather. Nonetheless, survival is more a state of deprivation.
As a matter of fact, once we are deprived of our comfort, energy, sleep, food, water, and, ultimately, even shelter, we are pretty much inside an SHTF situation.
From a psychological perspective, we have just two options when dealing with the unknown: fight or flight.
And these two options pop up in every dangerous context when threats become real. No matter if they are represented by a feral predator who is on our tracks or by an ill-intentioned individual whose desire is to hurt us.
Or, again, it could simply be a sudden change in weather, which may catch us off guard.
The range of possible threats is, as a sheer fact, endless. Individual or multiple. Temporary or long-term.
Reacting is mandatory, but we have to learn how to discipline our reactions. Without a proper approach, in fact, we may go… “too big.”
Over-reactions, in fact, are pretty much common in a survival scenario. Unfortunately, they have a lot of cons. They have a lot to do with a loss of long-lasting focus, an abrupt reduction of energy, and, eventually, an unavoidable personal crisis.
In this article, we will learn how to train our reactions, how to deal with overreactions, and how to put into action the best tactics to refresh our survival skills, especially if we are alone during our ordeal.
How to control our actions
“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
In order to learn to control our actions if caught up in a disaster situation, we need to start working on ourselves on a regular daily basis.
The triggering point, in fact, is to learn more about ourselves.
If we know ourselves intimately, we can understand how we can react to various threats. The best way to start with this is to have patience and try to get a detached, sincere perspective on ourselves in the following situations:
- when we get nervous
- when we overthink
- when we feel overwhelmed by daily routine
- when we feel exhausted from a sudden rise of a problem
- when we have an argument with somebody
Surely it isn’t easy at all. Acquiring a brand-new standpoint on ourselves requires a lot of time, dedication, and patience.
We can be our best allies or our worst enemies. This is absolutely true. Far from being rocket science, survival is 90% psychology. The remaining 10% are skills, endeavors, and even luck.
- the will to live
In a few words, if we already worked on ourselves on minor issues like small arguments, slip-ups, and so on, we can predict how we can react in a real dangerous situation.
How does it work in practical terms?
Let’s figure it out.
The first step is to observe yourself in a stressful situation. Try to get an out-of-the-body sort of thing view of yourself, like you were another person. Observe your muscle and veins begin to stiffen. Don’t judge yourself. Not now, perhaps. On the opposite, you can start asking yourself:
- Is this a real problem?
- Am I overthinking this thing?
- Am I really getting frustrated with the situation?
- Does the context really worth my stress, or even me panicking?
You might have exaggerated your reactions about what you were living at that very moment. If so, you just need to step back and, as simple as it may sound, just breathe. You can even use, for example, the tactical breathing technique. Inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, release for four seconds. And repeat.
You can eventually repeat the whole process and try to look at yourself from another different perspective. The more you will work on yourself, the more benefits you will obtain.
This will also work with your fears. In my personal case, it was successful in helping me fix my problem related to vertigo. I am not saying I can actually climb the Himalayas right now, but surely I achieved some successes on a personal level; I wouldn’t even imagine being possible a few years ago.
To sum it up, if you learn how to observe yourself, to “know yourself” at a personal, mental level, you will learn how to predict your reactions and how to control them.
How to deal with overreactions
“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”
Overreactions are the natural result of the flow of too much energy.
It is pretty much common to overreact to fear, to stress, and to panic. In fact, in an attempt to face a negative situation in the best way we can, we tend not to caliber our considerations in a proper way.
Long story short, we literally rush into a series of actions without thinking things through.
In case of a sudden change in weather, we rush into looking for a safe place to spend the night out. If we know how to caliber our knowledge with common sense, we will be able to make a safe shelter in a safe area, far away from any potential flash flood, and, most importantly, we will do all of this in a way that will help us save and conserve energy.
Overreactions, in fact, can be lethal in terms of wasting energy. As a matter of fact, they steal from us precious vigor, which we actually need when things really get desperate. That being said, try to be as clever and prudent as possible. Do the essential. Avoid over-reacting and, consequentially, overdoing things.
How to refresh your survival skills
That 10% still counts a lot in an emergency situation. The best way to take advantage of our knowledge is, simply, to refresh it on a regular basis.
In my case, as I am mostly dedicated to tracking skills, I set four or five days per month to dedicate entirely dedicated to the most valuable skills you need to trust when SHTF strikes.
For someone reading a map and using a compass is like breathing. For other people may happen to be a little bit insidious! If you find yourself in the second category, get used to frequently refreshing your abilities, especially when it’s dark, and you are starting to feel mental fatigue.
Using cutting tools
Knowing how to handle and sharpening cutting tools is mandatory in any outdoor scenario. Safety comes first, especially if you are overwhelmed by things you need to do (making a fire, setting up a shelter, etc.). Remember, it all relies upon muscle memory.
Starting a fire
Awareness, common sense, and plant identification play a huge role in collecting the right tinder. This is more than true with poor weather conditions or when darkness starts to sets in.
Again, muscular memory will pave you the way:
- to make correct knots
- to set a proper and well-mounted shelter
Observation and risk analysis will do the previous job, about detecting the correct location where to set the camp.
Patience, dedication, and curiosity are the ingredients to turn yourself into a good Tracker! No matter if you need to track small/big game or if you are checking if the area has recently been crossed by someone.
You can definitely practice by yourself
- how to use the Israeli bandage using just one arm
- how to correctly put on yourself (arms and legs) a tourniquet
- how to make a sapping
The more you practice, the faster you will become in providing first aid when the situation requires you to do so. Be accurate, take your time, and, if possible, ask a pro to monitor your first attempts. Better be safe than sorry!
Far from being an easy task to accomplish, plant identification may save your life one day. In fact, if you are able to identify the most useful plants of your area (edible or medicinal), the more self-reliant you will become in a SHTF scenario.
By creating a list with the skills, you need to refresh; there will be no risks in skipping any of them. With a systematic approach and accuracy, you will become more confident, faster, and more proficient in a considerably short amount of time.
Kyt Lyn Walken has written this article for Prepper’s Will.