A news report is aired several times every year discussing how a motorist, climber or hiker has been lost, and every day somebody in the U.S. is robbed, mugged or taken hostage by somebody who has a deadly weapon. Although all of us see those reports and on a superficial level know that the only difference between ourselves and the victim is place and time, many people fail to really accept that it is quite posible that we could end up in a similar situation at some point in the future. There are people who live in big cities who don’t think it is necessary for them to know anything regarding wilderness survival. They don’t think about the possibility that their annual flight over to the west coast might potentially result in them getting dumped into the wilderness. Although it might not be very likely, I do have to remind people it still isn’t impossible. Personally I would be prepared instead of one day finding out that I had survived being in a plane crash and then die of either hypothermia or dehydration due to the fact that I didn’t ever learn how to make a fire or find water. For survivability purposes it is very important to learn basic survival skills. However, the hope and mental confidence that it provides to the survivor is much more important. These two things can either break or make a survival situation. In this article, I will start with the mental side of surviving criminal, disaster and wilderness situations.
Whenever most individuals get thrown into a situation where it isn’t guaranteed that they will survive, the first thing that they tend to do is deny that situation is even occurring. That type of denial can prove to be deadly. The denial can result in people missing important information that they could potentially use at a later point in time. If you suddenly realize your plane may be going down, looking out the window quickly may give you a good idea of where you are located geographically. You may be able to see a light someplace even at night that will give you a good idea of where you need to go. I am not saying you need to stare out the window each time your plane hits turbulence. If the plane is going to crash then it will crash. Also a robbery is going to take place whether you keep your wits about you or freeze up. The main thing that is important is accepting that it may be occurring and immediately start to think about what can be done. During the first couple of minutes in a situation is when a majority of individuals start panicking, and start losing sight of what is ocurring and begin losing the fight to survive.
Usually the panic that a majority of people feel comes from that initial feeling of being helpless that I previously mentioned (that the plane is going to crash no matter what). What they believe is that given that the plane is about to crash they are unable to change their fate. They wait around for a miracle to occur instead of attempting to prepare themselves for survival. By trying to actively prepare for your own survival, and doing whatever you can think of to get you through, not only will increase your survival chances, but you will decrease your brain’s chance of going into panic mode. During the initial couple of minutes in any situation it will be dreamlike. Things will seem to be happening in slow motion and you will not remember too much after it is over. That’s why actively focusing on doing something is so important and not merely just wathcing what is going on around you. If a robbery happens when you are at the bank in line, count how many robbers there are, what types of weapons they are using, what clothes they are wearing, etc. Those things might help others or yourself in the future.
However, the panic that takes place within a wilderness situation may end up being much deadlier. If panic results in aimlessly running through the woods, it frequently can lead to potential injuries and further confusions. One basic thing you should always do whenever you think you may be lost is use S.T.O.P., which is short for Sit Think Observe Plan.
Another thing that is frequently associated only with wilderness survival, but could end up being deadly is loneliness. Being completely alone in the wilderness can be frightening for anybody, especially somebody who hasn’t spent a lot of time alone in the woods. Many sounds you will be unable to identify and not having anybody to vent and talk to will start to take its toll on you. The best weaspon for you to have in this situation is a fire. Also having a good sense of humor will go a really long way, or invent games so that your mind is distracted from the all of the noises surrounding you. Or make up or sing old songs. In a disaster’s aftermath, this technique is very useful, in addition to keeping up the spirits until a rescue can take place. It might not seem like a lot now, however it can be invaluable during a situation.
Discomfort and pain are the biggest mental obstacles that you might face. Chances are, no matter what type of situation you end up in, it isn’t going to be as comfortable as your own home. You might have injuries that really hurt, and to the point of them being unbearable sometimes. Obviously your mental capacity will be drained and dampen your will for surviving. One good thing for you to remind yourself of is that although it can be hard to muster sometimes, is as long as you are hurting, that means you are living. Pain is actually a sign of being alive. So you should be motiviated by discomofrt to survive and be able to find comfort once again.
One thing that you need to remember at all time is that being able to survive a deadly situation is like a game of chess. Trying to always be thinking two to three moves in advance. Think to yourself, “If I do this, then what may happen, and what should I do if that does occur?