Odds are you have become angry or scared at some point in your life. You feel like your heart is beating in your throat and begin to lose focus. Adrenaline floods your body and your fight or flight reaction starts to take over.
It is at this moment that human beings are at their most primal. We are capable of the most brutal acts when our survival is at stake.
Humans are definitely capable of great things and we are incredibly intelligent. However, when times get tough and our minds are clouded with panic we become… incredibly stupid. We are also amazingly stubborn.
When hurricane Katrina was bearing down in Louisiana, even after the evacuation had been made mandatory, there were still many people who refused to leave out of pure stubbornness… How many of them needlessly died?
Protests in Libya and Egypt quickly turned sour as foul words became foul actions and violence beget violence. Do you see the point that I am trying to make?
All of these actions were caused by people who were not thinking clearly; they had lost their mental acuity and acted on instinct alone. The key to being a prepper is having the ability to remain calm under any circumstance.
There are several steps that you can take to remove yourself from the situation no matter how stressful it is. Taking just a few precious moments to organize your thoughts and calm yourself will afford you the peace of mind to know that you are thinking logically and not acting purely on instinct.
-When you feel your pulse begin to quicken, you need to stop for a moment.
-A simple breathing exercise can bring your heart rate down and reduce the adrenaline flow
– Breathe through your nose and out through your mouth. Take the air from your diaphragm (stomach region) and not just from your chest. This will regulate your body's reactions and help you to remain calm.
-Shake or shrug your shoulders to release tension. Exercise in general is a great way to release stress. Simply shake or shrug your shoulders to release the tension. Rolling your shoulders in a back-to-front motion is also a great way to beat the stress.
-Lie down or sit back in a safe place, if you don’t need to take immediate action. Let all the tension in your forehead, neck, and hands fade away slowly. Imagine every part of your body relaxing. Try to be as still as possible
-Pause before reacting and breathing before speaking.
-Be steady and think twice before you do anything in haste.
Calm, steady breathing is a great start but you really need to be prepared to live (if even for a short time) in a world devoid of the normal creature comforts that we take for granted. Below are several steps that you can take to become mentally able to live in a world that no longer caters to convenience.
“You never want to be doing anything for the first time… when you need it to save your life”
This phrase was said in passing by one of my mentors and has stuck with me over the years. Do you really want to rely on what you THINK you know or would you rather rely on what you KNOW you can do?
I cannot stress enough how important mental preparedness in a survival situation. Losing your cool during the stress of a disaster is the first step towards failure. Below are a few tips on how you can hone your mental preparations to help you adapt to just about any survival situation.
-Turn off all electronic devices for 24 hours at a time. This includes cell phones, TV’s air conditioners, etc. Use this as both a preparation for when you do not have power and a conservation technique for if you choose to run a generator so that you can see how to survive on only the essentials.
-Become accustomed to receiving and retaining information from print sources such as books. The internet will not be available in a disaster.
-Spend some nights using only candles and or battery operated lights to illuminate the darkness.
-Begin storing rainwater and spend a few days using only stored water. Be sure to use “grey water” to water your plants or use in your toilet as well.
-Try cooking some of your meals using a solar oven, barbecue, fire pit or any primitive or improvised cooking method
-If you have damaged clothing, practice trying to repair it instead of just throwing it away.
-Take household items and write down creative ways you can use them. My rule is if an object doesn’t have at least 3 uses I will not carry it with me.
-Take a short walk and collect anything (non-hazardous,) you find on the ground and ask yourself, what can I use this for?
-If you plan to shelter in place, become intimately familiar with every street, landmark, trees, houses, etc. within 2 miles of your home, walk the area often.
-See what it is like to have only enough water and food to sustain you. Try to survive a couple of days on bare minimum supplies.
-Start a “rat’s nest” by saving up every spare part; screw, spring, nails, etc. Then use those parts to fix something only using what you have stored.
-If you plan on “getting out of dodge”: Drive or walk all your “escape routes” beforehand under varying conditions and calculate times to reach each place.
The truly “ready” survivalist will constantly train themselves to be prepared to adapt and adjust to anything that the world has to throw at them and not rely solely on their gear.
The final step requires actual training, whether it is done on your own or through a survival class.
Any gear that you have will break over time or can be taken from you, but skills that you have learned can never be taken away and can only be passed on to others.
Having the right skill set is much more valuable than having the sharpest knife, more bullets than everyone else, or the lion’s share of food storage.