There are many factors of either prevailing or perishing in a crisis, some of which are in our control and others that are not. One of the most powerful factors that are 100% in our control is the survival mindset.
For instance, survival mindset is mental stability under pressure, handling situations with strength and intelligence and making good, tactical decisions. In addition, when properly trained, our brain can adapt to almost any circumstance. The appropriate mindset can be the difference between a survivor and a victim, and even life and death.
Survival mindset wires rational thought while our emotions are being flooded with fear, stress, anger, and frustration. However, when a crisis happens without warning or when we are faced with a horrific situation, some people will crack under the pressure. Others will remain calm. Survival mindset feeds an unbreakable faith that the situation is survivable, and triggers the brain to take charge.
Survival Mindset vs. Victim Mentality
The opposite of the survival mindset is victim mentality (“Why is this happening to me?). This is often the initial reaction to a traumatic event. The danger of this mindset is that if sustained, it leads away from survival. Therefore the person becomes paralyzed by fear and cannot react in a way that will help them towards safety.
As with any skill, survival mindset needs to be developed over time. Here are six ways to become mentally prepared for the emotional and psychological stress encountered in a crisis:
1. Practice Situational Awareness – know your surroundings
2. Take Responsibility – you are in charge of your situation
3. Believe in Yourself – channel an unbreakable faith
4. Be Decisive – commit to action
5. Be Adaptable – look for alternative solutions
6. Be Resilient – refuse to give up
We are capable of extraordinary strength and physical feats to protect ourselves, loved ones and even strangers when we are in a crisis. There are countless stories of unprepared people who survive incredible odds. Why? Above all, some people simply refuse to give up. A mom who lifts a car to save a child underneath? That’s real! Untrained people, who have survived being lost in the wilderness for weeks? It has happened! There is no doubt that panic, chaos, and fear occurs in these situations. However, people with survivor mindset make use of the fear—not ruled by it. They use the fear to FOCUS on survival.
Survival mindset and situational awareness can save your life and the lives of those around you in a crisis. Flex those brain muscles often to empower yourself to be prepared for any situation. In conclusion, your mind can be your biggest asset or your biggest liability…YOU decide!
– Written by Carol Cambridge, Workplace Violence Expert