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ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 11: Search and rescue forces search through a fallen building for survivors during an exercise on November 11, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Psychology of surviving a crisis This article applies to both the prepper and the un-expecting individual that finds themselves cast in a real life survival situation. I often come across many people that consider themselves preppers due to the fact that they have purchased various goods to assist them in a predicted crisis.

While I believe that it is good practice to acquire and store various necessities as a part of your prepping I consider it one of the least important aspects to surviving a crisis. Merely placing a financial investment into your security will not save you when the time comes. In fact even studying and training for survival situations is not the most important aspect of prepping, although I would consider it the second most important. Studies support the above statements with numerous documented cases of well trained individuals that fail to implement their training and tools at the critical time and die as a result.

It is also well documented that individual with no training at all have managed to survive what would seem hopeless survival situations.

So what is the “KEY” to survival?

The secret to success is primarily reliant on the individual’s ability to act during times of stress and remain hopeful. While extenuating factors do play a role they pale in comparison to the importance of a stable mind. It’s very easy during times of duress to throw in the flag and quit; unfortunately in a survival situation that decision is very often a matter of life and death. As soon as one gives up hope the quick descent to helplessness and death is quick to arrive at their door. So how can we remain hopeful in a crisis? This question has a very extensive and subjective answer, however for this article I will share some of the tips I consider most important.

First and foremost I consider a trust in Christ the greatest preemptive action you can take. I don’t merely say this as a Christian (though I am), but I also base it on the documented deaths of numerous New Testament authors. They were tortured and killed and all they had to do to stop it was renounce this new theology they were advocating. Yet none of them did. If that is not a testament of mental strength and courage I apparently don’t know what is. Beyond having your spiritual life under control another critical aspect in mental preparedness is mitigating shock response. This is done by situation rehearsals. Cutting through the ten dollar words this means that you run through various survival situations in your head and predetermine your actions. This takes away the need to ‘figure out’ what to do should the event actually transpire. You can take this to the next level by actually running through physical drills; however merely mentally addressing the situation ahead of time will exponentially increase your chances of making desirable decisions at the time of crisis. This basic principal is why you see schools do fire drills or police do react to fire training etc.. You rehearse to the point that you are merely reacting rather than thinking during the initial shock of the crisis. If you take the above steps in preparing yourself mentally you will have already made great progress in your steps to enduring a crisis. In a future article I’ll get more into the weeds and discuss the coping techniques you can use to defeat various stressors as well as the natural reactions you may experience during a high stress crisis.

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Shane Blevins
Shane Blevins retired from the US Army at 20 years of service. During his career he served in Special Operations and the US Army SERE School. He is currently a senior program developer for OGC and operates an online entrepreneurial network. He is happily married to his wife Jennifer and has 5 children.