Mental preparedness: How to think like a survivalist

Sunday, February 11, 2018 by

If you don’t have the presence of mind when a disaster strikes, all of your tools and plans will be next to useless.

Survivalists know that your mind is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, as long as you know how to use it properly. A survival mindset can help you survive even if you don’t have access to any equipment. (h/t to

A survival mindset is made up of many factors, most of which involve being mentally flexible. Here are some exercises that can help you do just that:

  • Sit in cold water for as long as you can – Try to fight the urge to leave the water. Distance your mind from the cold. Keep doing this, and you will soon notice that you can beat your record as your dissociation skills improve.
  • Do repetitive exercises – Try do long sets of exercises that involve monotonous repetition like sit-ups or push-ups. Once you start feeling tired, keep doing the exercises and use dissociation so your mind can focus on other things. Doing this can help you deal calmly with fear and panic.
  • Imagine your happy place – Your happy place can help you focus on positive emotions and let go of any “pent-up stress.” This place can be any place you want it to be such as the beach or your childhood home, as long as it “makes you feel happy and at peace.”
  • Think of positive thoughts when you’re feeling down – “Fear, panic, and other negative emotions can lead to negative thoughts,” and these can lead to your downfall in a survival situation. Think of all the things that lift your mood when you are having negative thoughts.
  • Think of your team or family members when you feel fear or panic – Thinking of people you can depend on will give you a reason to keep going no matter what.
  • Leave your comfort zone – Try to set goals that challenge you in different ways. Putting yourself in unfamiliar situations means you will experience “some of the stress reactions that survival will entail.” This can teach you how to deal with these reactions positively before you are forced to do so in a survival situation, so you know “what fear, panic, and other stress responses feel like.”
  • Use visualization and guided imagery to practice for a survival scenario – Trying to imagine how you will deal with a disaster can help you determine the right course of action before it happens in real life.

How to be a flexible survivalist

Mental flexibility is a must if you want to survive any situation. If you lack this flexibility, you could be one of the casualties when society collapses. (Related: Ready to survive? Make sure to avoid these common prepping mistakes and pitfalls – Part I.)

If you are mentally flexible, you can:

  1. Accept the uncertainty that comes chaotic situations.
  2. Adapt to change when your initial plan falls through.
  3. Be willing to take risks when necessary.
  4. Come up with “creative and innovative ways to solve problems” when traditional solutions aren’t applicable.
  5. Learn from your mistakes.
  6. View your current situation from different perspectives.

If you hold on to a false sense of security, you might become a victim or put your survival at risk. When SHTF, you need to accept the fact that no one, not even the government, will be there to rescue you. As a survivalist, you must learn to save yourself.

Attitude is everything

Despite years of practice, negative thoughts can weigh down anyone with a weak will. Having a “will to survive and a degree of stubbornness” helps make up “the survival attitude that will get you through almost anything.”

Likewise, if you’re a beginner, try not be overwhelmed. Just breathe deeply, and take small steps. Try to get into the survival mindset as you begin your journey. Read some helpful articles online, and ask around for tips from experienced survivalists.

Be realistic about your situation, but hold onto hope for the future. With mental toughness, you can keep going even things seem like they have taken a turn for the worst. Focus on the positive aspect of things, so you don’t dwell on the negatives.

Stop thinking “I can’t do this,” and tell yourself “I can do this, I am strong, and I will be a survivor.”

Never give in to guilt or anger. Blaming yourself or feeling angry when a disaster strike is useless, and you need to “banish” these negative emotions from your “mental toolbox” once you start feeling them.

Bad things will always happen, but remember that a bad situation is only temporary. Always try to find a silver lining.

A survival mindset will help you stay alive in any life or death situation. Keep these tips in mind as you walk your path as a survivalist!

You can read more articles about how you can sharpen your mental acuity as a survivalist at


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