The Psychology of Survival, Part 1, “Survival Begins in the Mind”
There is more to surviving than having material preparations. Survival actually begins within your involuntary nervous system. Within us, we have automatic responses which automatically trigger when we are in danger. It is often referred to as “the fight or flight” response. The automatic systems in our bodies prepare us to either engage in direct confrontation with, or to flee, danger. These responses within us take over independently. This is what causes a crowd to disperse and run, often accompanied by screaming, upon a life threatening event. That is the “flight” reaction. It is also what you see when you see a small person lift up a massive log which has pinned down their child. That is the “fight” reaction. These immediate reactions to threats to survival are guided and enabled by involuntary systems within us.
These God-given automatic responses are designed to enable us for protective instantaneous reaction. You might have experienced this by pulling your hand from a heat source without having first felt the heat.
It is an error in one’s approach to disaster preparedness to rely on materials and defense weapons. In a catastrophic event or disaster, your survival may more depend on your thoughts, your perceptions, your beliefs, and your abilities to make appropriate decisions than upon your material assets.
There is a psychology of survival. It is a compilation of your ability to perceive accurately, your mastery of your normal emotions, your capability to think appropriately in the midst of a disorienting and potentially lethal circumstance, and your ability to act.
People in law enforcement, emergency medical services, and the military are trained to function effectively in an environment of disorder and danger.That is why you hear news stories of one individual intervening strategically in the midst of a sudden disaster when others are unable to think or act. Those with preparation are the ones who give directives to the group of helpless people, which then saves the lives of those who follow.
The civilian public does not have training or practice in effectively functioning in the midst of a catastrophic event. However, you are able to prepare yourselves in this crucial life-dependent area of knowledge and skill. This is where your survival preparation should begin, because survival begins in your mind.