What’s the one thing you need to survive in any situation? It’s not food. Not gear. It’s your brain.
A positive mental attitude could be your only lifeline when things go south, and it could save others’ lives, too.
Want to come out of a disaster alive? Here’s all you need to know about building a survival mindset for SHTF.
What Is Survivalism?
This question is often thrown around but with no definitive answer. Survivalism could mean several things to different people.
For preppers like us, survivalism is the practice of preparing and training the mind to keep yourself alive through some crazy-ass situations.
In many instances, a lot of folks choose to overlook this facet of survival. We often read and hear about stockpiling goods and buying boatloads of gear, but what happens when your brain glitches and fails to function?
You just might be setting yourself up for failure, and you wouldn’t want that, do ya?
The Importance of a Survival Mindset
That said, your goal as a prepper is to stay alive when faced with a life-or-death situation. But how exactly do you do that? It’s a hard nut to crack, but we’ve got answers for you.
It’s essential to have a strong survival mindset because:
- Your survival depends on your mental state. Make sure it’s in good shape.
- People who have a healthy survival mindset have a higher chance of coming out of a disaster alive than those who don’t.
- How you mentally respond to an emergency on the scene is just as important as planning for SHTF.
- You must have strength in character, a determined spirit, and a will to live if you wanna survive.
Once you develop a strong survival mindset, you can kick death in the butt. Sweet, huh?
Best Mental Practices to Form a Survival Mindset
When we sense a threat to our survival, our brains immediately decide to fight, flee, or freeze. We’re only human, so our initial reaction when in mortal danger is to panic. No surprise there. But since we’re preppers, you should know by now that we don’t do that around here.
Fighting to survive is easier said than done, but like any skill, this type of mindset needs to be developed little by little.
The trick here is to use your fear to focus on survival. How? Two words: mental practice.
Here are the eight best mental practices to help you develop a strong survival mindset:
The first step to building a survival mindset is to keep calm. You probably saw this one coming because it’s a cardinal rule in survival.
We know disasters can put you in distress, but running around like a headless chicken will only worsen your situation. Keep yourself composed and avoid any negative thoughts.
Here’s how you can stay calm during a stressful situation:
- Practice deep breathing to relieve stress and anxiety. Box breathing is a breathing technique Navy Seals use to keep themselves calm and focused during high-stress situations. Check out the video above to learn more about box breathing.
- Try a quick progressive muscle relaxation exercise to center yourself.
- Create a mental picture of your calming cue and focus your mind on it.
And once you clear your mind, you’ll have complete control of any circumstance. This way, you’ll be able to deal with what’s right in front of you and perform the necessary actions.
Don’t stop believin’ (in yourself)
Journey sure knew what they were singing about.
It’s an overused anthem, but it’s on point. When SHTF, you gotta believe and rely on yourself to get out of sticky situations.
If you’re often reliant on others, here are a few tips you can practice to be more independent:
- Be more self-aware. Take time to assess yourself. How you respond to stress affects the people around you.
- Try looking at things from different perspectives. Open your mind to other possibilities.
- Don’t be a chicken and speak out if you’ve got something to say.
- Take control. The decisions you make will determine your course in life.
- Fend for yourself when the going gets tough.
Survivalists aren’t born quitters. Believing in yourself is a simple mental conditioning exercise that could make a difference in developing a survival mindset. There’s no doubt you’ll prevail when you trust in your capability to take action in an emergency.
We know it sounds like some woo-woo advice, but trust us. These exercises can help you develop self-reliance and resilience—two major traits you need to have if you wanna survive.
Know your surroundings
Being conscious of your surroundings is called situational awareness. It takes discipline to develop, but you’ll thank yourself for it when the unexpected happens.
Here are some examples of how to develop situational awareness:
- Always assess your surroundings. It can be as simple as being mindful of entrance and exit points whenever you’re in a new place or knowing how many people are gathered in a specific area.
- Be swift to recognize potential threats.
- Avoid being too complacent. Always be on the lookout.
- Generate what-if scenarios and make action plans. Having a Plan B and C wouldn’t hurt, either.
- Understand the need to take responsibility when a threat arises.
Another piece of advice: always trust your instincts. Who knows? Your gut feeling might just be your ticket out of the woods.
Your life is in your hands, man. It’s as simple as that.
How you take correct, decisive action will determine your chances of survival, which is why learning how to be more decisive is part of developing a survival mindset. You’re not just the thinker. You’re the mover, too.
We make decisions every single day of our lives, sometimes even wrong ones. But if you’re smart about it, you can use this opportunity to enhance your decision-making for when SHTF. Here’s how:
- Weigh the pros and cons to arrive at the best decision possible.
- Limit your deciding factors for peace of mind. Learn to filter out the noise and focus on the critical things on hand.
- Evaluate the significance of a decision. Will you be the only one dealing with the effects of your decision, or will it affect other people too?
This skill is best practiced when an unprecedented situation occurs. For example, when a natural disaster hits town and you only have minutes to decide whether it’s smarter to bug in or bug out.
The bottom line is you gotta stick to your decisions and run with them. You can even practice your decision-making skills by participating in prepper drills or dry runs.
Channel your inner chameleon
Doomsday can creep up any minute, and there’s no way of telling how it’ll affect your way of life.
Adapting is how the human body responds to a change in the environment. If you fail to adjust to new conditions, this can lead to your untimely demise. And that ain’t good.
Check out these tips on how to boost your adaptability skills:
- Force yourself to take risks.
- Be open to change.
- Always have a contingency plan.
- Learn to move on if things don’t go as planned.
- Power your curiosity through learning.
- Be resourceful.
- Listen to the thoughts and opinions of others.
There will come a time when you’ll be thrown to the wolves, and the possibility of survival is thin. Your only way out will be via channeling your inner chameleon. It means changing your perspective and looking for alternative solutions.
An optimistic attitude could change your fate in more ways than one.
A study on survival psychology reported that people who don’t make it in a catastrophic situation were those who simply gave up despite having an equal chance of survival. In short, they lost their will to live and chose to die. At the same time, survivors who persisted under the same stressful events lived to tell the tale.
The research proves one of the many benefits of positive thinking where resilient people overcome adversity with strength and resolve.
We know focusing on the good when you’re dying sounds crazy, but it can significantly impact your physical and mental health.
The feeling of helplessness happens to the best of us. And there’s no shame in showing you’re temporarily incapacitated.
When that happens, all you need is a change in mindset and positive thinking can be just the remedy.
Develop a personal mantra
Negative thoughts could linger in and out of your mind when you’re in a stressful situation. The secret to driving away bad ideas is to develop a personal mantra you can chant under your breath.
Your mantra could be an impactful word or a motivational phrase as long as it keeps you centered and clears your head. You could go with something like “Nothing lasts forever—not the good, not the bad,” or you can channel your inner John McClane and go “Yippee-ki-yay.” It’s all up to you. Positive reinforcement is your way out of negative thoughts and could prove vital to your survival.
Another essential exercise in forming a survival mindset is setting the right goals. Your main goal here is to stay alive no matter the circumstance. And to do that, you must walk past every obstacle to reach your desired outcome.
A lot can happen in an emergency, and you’re bound to get overwhelmed. But not when you have your goals set straight. When you do, it allows you to take proper action in a particular situation.
Supplies alone won’t keep you on this earth. Your survival also rests on how you mentally handle a situation.
Developing a survival mindset takes practice, and you might wanna brush up on your psychological skills ASAP. Fair warning: Training the mind isn’t as easy as you think, but it pays off when the need arises.
How are you building a survival mindset for SHTF? Let us know in the comments below!