Fear is a mind killer: How to stay calm when SHTF

When SHTF, the last thing you should do is lose all your cool.

Remember, “fear is the mind killer,” especially during unexpected and traumatic events. Mental survival is an important skill to have because if you can keep calm and collected, you can survive almost any disaster scenario. During a disaster scenario, at least 80 percent of people will simply freeze. This is also called “the fainting-goat effect,” a severe form of panic. Meanwhile, 10 percent of people will panic, and only 10 percent of people can keep calm and take proper action. (h/t to Survivopedia.com.)

What happens in your brain when you panic

Why do most people react with fear and panic during stressful situations?

To learn how to control your mental processes, keep in mind that when you are stressed, the body produces various hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause the “flight or fight response.”

As the body produces adrenaline and cortisol, your energy level and stamina gets a significant boost. But then when these hormones wear off, you’ll face both mental and physical fatigue. Cortisol is also a stress hormone that makes the brain’s prefrontal cortex and hippocampus slow down. This makes fear the mind killer. During stressful conditions, you can sometimes be “literally mentally impaired.”

In a “flight or fight” situation, the amygdala/reptilian brain takes over the frontal cortex. This means during a crisis, your actions will mostly be determined by emotions rather than logic and reason. This is why people who panic often make the wrong decisions.

When SHTF, your mental state will usually decide if you live or die. Even if you’re physically fit, your strength will be useless if you can’t keep your cool as everyone else panics. (Related: Training to survive: Do you know what your priorities are?)

At its core, survival is a state of mind, especially since your brain is the best survival ‘tool.’ To ensure your survival when SHTF, understand one crucial requirement for survival: the proper frame of mind.

Tips to stay calm

Follow the tips below to stay calm when SHTF:

  1. Don’t play “the blame game” — Blaming yourself won’t do you any good. When SHTF, you need to stay focused so you can figure out how to escape tough situations.
  2. Reaffirm yourself — Focus on a mantra, or a certain phrase in your head, that can keep your spirits up during a disaster. Repeat something like “I can do this” or “Keep going” so you can have a positive mindset. Staying positive is more helpful during a survival situation, unlike a negative mindset that can even endanger the rest of your group.
  3. Accept your emotions — Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean faking your emotions. You must accept them so you can handle and overcome them before you can move on to the next task at hand.
  4. Keep your mind busy — When SHTF, you must stay busy so your mind doesn’t wander and obsess over things you can’t control. Study your survival plan or fortify your shelter.
  5. Stay positive — It might be hard to stay positive when SHTF, but this is easier to do if your body is healthy. Get enough rest, eat and drink, and try to stay in good shape. You can keep calm if you think positive thoughts.
  6. Focus on your breathing — Try the breathing system called the 4-7-8 method. Start by exhaling completely through your mouth and making a “whoosh” sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, then make a whoosh sound to a count of eight. Do all of this in one breath. Then inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

When SHTF, the best way to ensure your safety is always to be mentally and physically prepared. Head as far away from the danger as you can, check for any injuries, and head to a rendezvous point.

Before a dangerous situation occurs, practice your survival skills and prepare your gear and supplies. Always stay alert in a moment of crisis so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe, no matter what.

Read other articles with tips on how to stay calm when SHTF at Disaster.news.

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