Imagine being lost, alone, possibly injured or in pain and having to face a cold night in an unfamiliar or hostile environment. How will you react? What emotions will you experience? Fear is a very common reaction to such a situation. Being in an environment where you have extremely limited control and only partial information can be terrifying. In a survival situation fear easily makes an appearance. Fear of the unknown, fear of discomfort, fear of one’s own limitations, fear of death and interestingly fear of embarrassment.
Fear in turn can lead to confusion, panic, inertia and fatigue. Keeping fear under control is quite critical in a survival situation. While fear in itself can be a good thing and is in fact a fundamental aspect of our survival, in the sense that it alerts us to dangers and prepared us physically for responding to danger , when it takes over it becomes problematic. Being in a hyper-vigilant state for too long only serves to deplete our body’s reserves and hinders complex thinking. Remember the mind doesn’t distinguish between real danger (an imminent attack from a wild animal) and a perceived danger (being alone in a cold, dark forest).
Destructive and negative thoughts eat away at your will to survive and should be viewed as a very significant enemy in any survival situation. So while fear is a normal and even a logical reaction to an adverse situation, it is one you definitely need to control and manage in a survival circumstance. Developing skills for controlling the level of fear and negative thinking is something that needs to be learned and practiced over a period of time. The good news is that even if you never have to use these skills in a survival situation, developing skills in controlling and managing destructive emotions will serve you well in everyday life. So go ahead and sign up for that yoga class or start practicing mindfulness, purchase that meditation DVD or any other relaxation technique that works for you.
In a survival situation there are several things you can do to help you control fear. Don’t make hasty decisions. Recognize fear for what it is. Avoid boredom; keep busy, try to minimize the discomfort of cold, thirst or hunger. A self-confident person is more able to manage feelings of fear and even panic. Having survival knowledge will increase your self-confidence for surviving adverse situation.
Everyone should have basic outdoor survival knowledge, you never know when you might need it!