The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life
For those of us who find nature to be both aesthetically beautiful and life-sustaining.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Self-Reliance, Preparation and Survival Starts With Mindset

Whether you are an inexperienced novice or and expert in the fields of wilderness survival, prepping, self-reliance and primitive or even off-grid living, it's vital that you know and understand that the most important facet of being safe, being prepared and staying alive is your mindset. The studies of survival mindset are never enough, but always interesting. When I watch survival movies or television programs, or read books about people who have endured things that are beyond horrific and test every ounce of the will to live, I realize the profoundness of the human spirit. But, for most of us the true tests of our will to endure and live are rarely if ever tested. So, how does one truly know if they have what it takes if and when the time comes?

My work, education and experiences have taught me that when faced with life-threatening stimulus, most of us respond in one of three ways. These three ways are fight, flight or freeze. The best way to know which one you are isn't to subject yourself to dangerous situations only to find out that you may not have what it takes. The best way to know or at least have a general idea of which response you are most likely to respond with is to delve into your memory bank. Think back in time and recollect the worst events you have been faced with. These events don't have to be a gun pointed at your head, lost in the Amazon and facing hypothermia, or your entire town wiped out via mother nature, these events can be financial losses, divorce, health issues, job loss, the death of a loved one, a fight and other traumatic life events. But, think about these events and decipher which ones required you to act, make a decision, formulate a plan or a back-up plan or in some other way they required something of you. How did you respond? Did you panic, get depressed and disengage from the problem? did you feel overwhelmed and unable to make a rational decision? Did you ignore the problem or fail to recognize the gravity of the situation? Did you drink, gamble, or choose some other vice to bury the problem? Did you immediately begin trying to problem solve? Did you already have a contingency plan in place before the event even occurred? or, best yet, did you educate yourself, talk to others, explore avenues and options and negotiate the safest path for yourself either through or around the problem?

Using this practice exercise can help us to gain insight into our body and mind connection and our response to threats and dangerous stimulus. If you typically freeze, it's good to know this now. You can overcome that response through planning, practice and preparedness. If you typically respond with flight, again, good to know this. Sometimes flight saves our lives. I once responded with flight to a very dangerous situation when I was a child and because of my response, I am here now to talk about it. If you typically respond with fight, this is great information to know as well. And, although the human spirit to fight is a life-protecting response, fighting may not always be the safest approach depending on the situation.

Regardless of which one you are or even if you have a combined response, being aware of your survival instincts and responses is vital to implementing a preparedness or self-reliant mindset. With knowledge comes power. Self awareness is prime to self-reliance. The self is center stage. Take some time to "know thyself" and then follow up with education, practice and preparedness. Your body wants to survive no matter what, but does your brain really have your back? If not, no problem, there's very little that a little planning, a little preparation and a lot of practice can't resolve.

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