So things aren't turning out quite the way you could have hoped for and you know that you are in trouble.
You have that cold clammy feeling in the pit of your stomach, your mouth dries up and your mind and body freeze.
All of the experts recommend DON'T PANIC!!!
Stop, assess your situation, inventory your resources, plan your options and finally take action.
Now when you have trouble coming at you from all sides (especially if it is life-threatening and things are happening quickly), this can be easier said than done. It has been said that no one knows how they are going to react in any particular situation. Now that is true up to a point, but there are a few things you can do that will help and train you in these types of situations.
One of the best things you can do is to prepare and rehearse various scenarios. Our military trains for just this purpose. It teaches our troops instant obedience to orders and our leaders how to think and react under pressure. Various scenarios are presented in the forums and you should at least think about what your reaction might be. It might help to take a pad of paper and list the pros on one side and the cons on the other of any actions you might take. There may be more than one correct action to take depending upon the particular circumstance.
The important thing is to think about it, as this will help train your mind to start following certain thought patterns that may be unfamiliar. And pretty soon these thought patterns will form grooves (however slight) down which your thoughts can follow.
Now if you have never thought about how you may react under difficult circumstances, your thoughts have no place to go and this is one of the primary causes of panic. A thought blockage that causes you to freeze up and allows fear or terror to creep in. And action and decision is usually (but now always) the only way to survive in some of these circumstances. In other words, if you freeze, you're dead.
The majority of the Sheople go about their daily lives asleep with their biggest concern being what are they going to have for dinner tonight or who is going to marry who on the latest soap. The majority have never thought about, much less experienced any type of real survival situation or emergency. So train your mind to think about different and unusual situations, so at least it has a few paths to travel on.
Knowledge and preparedness breed confidence. What actions can you take in this situation? What similar situations have you or others you have heard or read about faced? What did your parents teach you? How can it be applied in this scenario? If you train your mind in this way, you will at least have a starting point to work from and you can go from there.
Next comes the actual experience. You can read and think about a certain skill-set all you want, but when it comes down to it, if you haven't at least tried it, you may as well forget it.
Now, of course if you do have the time it is always best to sit down and have a smoke and use that object on top of your shoulders to take stock; but there are times when this just isn't practicable. No time, no resources and you had better do something and do it quick!
There are certain basic skills, that we as survivalists should know how to perform in any type of emergency situation. In other words, these skills have been so thoroughly trained into our bodies and minds that we can perform them instinctively, without even thinking about it. An action in the outside world causes a survival reaction from us.
When you are trained in such a fashion is is almost impossible for panic to set in; you are taking what is hopefully appropriate action without thinking about it. Even when it isn't quite the right course of action, you are already in motion and it is easier to adjust your actions while moving than from a state of inertia or blind panic.
Now don't get me wrong on this point; if you do have the time, use it wisely. But I would sure rather be in action and doing something, even if it might get you in deeper than taking no action at all. I've seen way to many cases where people did nothing and died from their inaction than cases where people at least did something and ended up winners in the situation.
What survival skills should we be so thoroughly trained in that we can perform them instinctively?
The list could be very long indeed, but these are the ones I have personally come up with:
1. Basic fitness of body and mind; if you aren't in sound physical and mental shape, get there. It will improve your odds 150%! I follow the basic Louie L' Amour fitness plan :) 50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups and 50 squats every morning. 1/2 to 1 hour walk/trot with my deuce gear. It is simple, doesn't take that long and will keep you in tip-top condition. (Disclaimer-this is what I do; before starting any exercise program, consult with your doctor, work up slowly, warm-up good and stop if there is ever any pain).
2. Basic self-defense; defense against punches and kicks; basic escapes from holds and locks; basic marksmanship.
3. Fire starting with whatever material is at hand.
4. Water location and purification methods.
5. Basic navigation by nature and by map and compass.
6. Basic first aid; Start the breathing, stop the bleeding, protect the wound and treat for shock.
7. Basic food procurement; whatever it takes to get those calories so you can keep functioning.
8. Camouflage and concealment; knowing how to hide and keep quiet.
9. Evasion and escape; closely related to above, but more in the lines of bugging out of an area quick without being detained or stopped from either natural or man-made causes.
10. Thinking under pressure; planning several steps ahead while you are on the move.
This is just a basic list, but if you will practice these skills until you know them inside and out and can perform them in your sleep, they will serve you very well indeed.
As you train your mind in running over different survival scenarios, run through this basic list and see how it will help you out in that particular situation. Which if these skills do you need to use and in which order? In reality, they can only be applied one at a time, but it is possible to multi-task and do certain steps very quickly or delegate some tasks to others. Is there a certain skill not on the list that you need to learn (like NBC tactics)? Learn it and use it.
Hopefully this article will serve you well when you need it and help keep that PANIC at bay!