You’ve prepped for future emergencies by stockpiling and storing food, water, emergency supplies, and a variety of self-reliance gear. You’ve studied first aid books, learned to grow and preserve your own food, and even mapped out every possible escape route from your home and office. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Now, it’s time to move on to another crucial, yet often forgotten step of survival preparation: developing the mindset to handle a crisis. This is perfect way to prepare yourself mentally for what’s to come.
As natural disasters increase around our planet, so does research around the necessary psychology to survive a disaster. Many call this resilience research. In fact, recent research is now suggesting that how you react during and after a disaster could make the most difference in your personal survival! It makes perfect sense. After all, there’s a certain mindset that goes alone with survival. You see this in survivors of cancer and other long-term illnesses. These shared traits of determination, positivity, and resilience is something you, too, can develop over time. Start with working on these four personal development areas to help cultivate your own survivor mindset:
Positive Attitude – Developing a happy and positive attitude may seem daunting, but there are countless ways to get started. If you’re a voracious reader, start by consuming more personal development books or books where people find happiness in the midst of struggle. A quick Google search or trip to your local library will yield a handful of must-reads in this area. Another method is to surround yourself with positive quotes. This may seem silly at first, but there’s a reason millions of motivational quotes and memes exist online. To help aid you in the positive mind training, you need to be constantly subjected to positive and happy messaging. Find quotes that speak to you on a personal level and display them in places where you will see them on a daily basis. Be sure to rotate them out often with updated quotes. If you find this works for you, consider including small notes with positive quotes in your survival supplies. You’ll certainly need a boost of happiness when a crisis occurs. Remember, think happy… be happy! If you need a push to get started here are a few favorites:
- Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. — Thomas A. Edison
- I wake up every morning literally with a smile on my face, grateful for another day I never thought I’d see. — Dick Cheney
- If you are going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill
- If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford
- Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt
Purpose – Find your purpose in life by understanding what drives you as an individual. Is it family? A thirst for knowledge? Recognition from your peers? Look at your everyday life to determine what propels you forward, and what gives you internal strength and determination. Understanding your purpose now will help you determine a new purpose when a crisis hits. You’ll still have the same motivations and drivers, but will need to shift priorities. For example, if you’re driven to success by the need to provide for your family financially. You’ll need to quickly adapt to providing for your family in other ways, such providing nourishment and shelter. Consider that your family unit may also change. Learn to expand on what you consider family now. Do you have an elderly neighbor that could some attention? Now is the time to start practicing caring for others.
Acceptance – Learn how to accept things you cannot change. You don’t have to wait for a crisis to start working on this trait. Is there something a family member or co-worker does that drives you crazy? Instead of letting it bother you, learn how to accept it about them and move on. In a future crisis, don’t waste mental thought wishing things were different, which is detrimental to your mental health. Instead, accept your new reality, but always maintain hope that something better/easier is right around the corner.
Adaptability – Are you naturally able to adapt to any situation? If so, you’re lucky. Most people aren’t. Set aside any stubborn notions that life is great as is and nothing should ever change. In life, and especially during an emergency, survivors must adapt quickly to constant change. Learn to recognize what is worth working hard for, and what should be abandoned. Learning to be adaptable is a skill that will not only help you in a future crisis, but also in your everyday life. Remember, change has always been a natural part of life.
Beyond working on the aforementioned, there are other ways to developing a survivor mindset. For example, practice going without. This can be as simple as skipping your monthly dinner and movie date night. Instead, stay home and learn to entertain yourselves without spending money. Another way to go without is to train your body to requires less food. You can do this in the form of less protein, less carbohydrates, and less sugar. Don’t worry, your body knows how to adjust. Play around with this method and watch in amazement as your body will function and accomplish daily tasks with less food.
And last, but certainly not least. A valuable habit to develop now, is setting aside ten minutes per day to meditate. Meditation is receiving a lot of attention recently, and for good reason. There are scientific studies showing its positive influence on health. Learn how to invest in yourself now by taking time each day to sit quietly and think. If you’ve never meditated before, start with guided meditations. There are numerous smartphone apps that offer free guided meditations, as well as most libraries have guided meditation CDs you can checkout. The goal is to eventually learn to meditate without guidance and to have the skills to drown out any outside noise. Meditation reduces stress levels and alleviates anxiety, which will be incredibly helpful when dealing with any type of future crisis.