Virtually any situation can lead to stress and regardless of the situation the effects on your mind and body will usually be the same. Often, events that cause stress occur simultaneously. The event is not stress, but the event that produces the stress is called a stressor.
Your Response to an Emergency Is Often Times Fight or Flight
You have a split second to decide whether standing and fighting is the best way to survive or whether getting away as quickly as possible is the smart move. If you have not anticipated this reaction, you may not even be aware of it happening, but deep in the brain something is triggered and your feet and hands will be operating essentially on their own.
To deal with stressors you have to anticipate them and then have a strategy to deal with them.
The types of stressors you may encounter are as follows.
1.) Possibility of death, Injury or Illness
Any one of these is a real possibility in a survival situation and the fact you are alone and imagining you may die because you are injured or ill only exacerbates the stress factor. If you survive the crisis that put you in the survival situation unscathed, then you still have the worry of dying, becoming injured or becoming ill before being rescued.
Lack of skills, and never having been in this type of situation only increases the stress, and in some cases, people cannot do the simplest of tasks, let alone the tasks required to survive the ordeal, because of stress.
2.) Not Having Control and Levels of Uncertainly (No Confidence)
You are out of your comfort zone, operating in a setting where nothing is certain, and so the lack of control for some is debilitating. Lack of training, skills and lacking a positive mental attitude only adds to the confusion and uncertainty.
3.) The Environment You Find Yourself In
You may have survived a crash of some sort, whether it is a plane, boat or vehicle accident you are likely in an unknown environment. You have no idea of the dangers that may be lurking in the area such as wild animals, humans, insects, and reptiles. Additionally, the weather is a concern and in some cases, you must provide yourself with shelter within hours to survive.
4.) Thirst and Hunger are always lurking In the Shadows
Almost immediately your mind turns to food, but your body needs hydration first, and the stress caused by lack of food or limited food is in some cases, overwhelming for some people. Failure to hydrate properly will lead to death in a matter of days. While starvation can take weeks the reduced energy levels caused by limited to no food along with the psychological impact is real and it will create tremendous stress.
Stress along with lack of food and water will of course cause fatigue, which can cause sleep deprivation. Even though the body is worn out sleep may not come. This means you will not be able to make sound decisions, or be able to complete many of the tasks needed. Your physical strength will be limited. You will not be able to aid in your own rescue if you cannot overcome the fatigue factor.
Humans are social creatures and whether you believe this about yourself or not, people have a greater sense of security when others are around, others they may or may not know. Having others with you means you have help with problems.
Establish Priorities and a Routine
Every survival situation has its own unique aspects to it, but there are general guidelines that can help you in any situation. First, establish priorities and set up time tables. You have to assume you are going to be in your current situation for at least 24 hours so start there.
In reality if you can survive the first 24 hours you are well on your way to surviving the next 24 hours, and so on, until rescued or until you can self rescue.
Evaluate and treat yourself
Do you need to go into a self defense posture and this means using what weapons you have on you or finding/creating weapons that can be used?
Is the terrain hospitable enough to establish a base camp, or do you need to extract yourself from the area to a more hospitable terrain? If you survived a plane crash and end up on a cold, snowy, and windy mountainside, for example, relocating may be a priority.
Do you need shelter from the cold or rain immediately?
Look for resources that are an immediate concern such as water, natural shelter, and materials for shelters and possible food sources for later.
In Most Situations You Would
Secure a shelter
Create a fire
Begin signaling for help or establish a plan to self rescue by hiking out
This article is just the first in a series. The articles will take you through the steps, and describe what you can expect to be feeling if you do find yourself lost or stranded, or in any survival situation. It is important that you understand what your mind and body will be going through.
Read this first in a series of articles carefully, and think about how you might react. Future articles will discuss just what you actually need to survive. No gimmicks, bells, or whistles involved.
To survive you must have the ability to focus and have the tools and materials available that can be used while under stress. If you have to put the owner’s manual to a piece of gear in your survival kit just in case you need to refer to it, you are better off leaving the gear behind. When your fingers are numb or possibly injured and your mind is racing and on the verge of panic you want uncomplicated measures. You want real, and you do not want to be fumbling around for some manual to figure out how to use something.