Probably the single most important survival skill is the ability to not panic, to stay calm in the face of danger, adversity, and intense stress. No amount of other skills, gear, supplies, cash, gold, silver, or guns & ammo will save us if we panic when we face a true SHTF event. Panic, and all our preparations are for naught.
So, the most important preparedness question we can ask ourselves becomes How can I remain calm and regain control when under extreme pressure? Although we can never be certain what our reaction to extreme pressure will be until we face it, there are things we can do, and practice, to increase our odds of remaining calm and in control.
A Navy Seal Technique: Box Breathing
You should practice Box Breathing often under normal conditions so you'll be able to remember the technique under pressure, which won't be as easy as you may think. Instructions for Box Breathing:
- Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath (lungs full) for 4 seconds
- Exhale for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath (lungs empty) for 4 seconds
- Repeat as needed
Know, Practice, Memorize What To Do In a Crisis
Not knowing what to do, or not remembering what to do, in a crisis can be a cause of panic for many people. Learn now, practice now, and memorize now, what to do in a crisis, and what your priorities should be. I am emphasizing the word now because this is a skill you can learn, but you must learn it before a crisis hits. Its not a skill you can learn "on the fly" during a crisis.
Two things that are important to learn are the STOP Plan and a set of ordered priorities for any emergency. I've written about both of these in an earlier article, DISASTER!! Tips & priorities for dealing with emergencies. Please read that article for more details, but for now, here are the basics:
The STOP plan (Stop. Think. Observe. Plan.) has been around the emergency preparedness field for a couple of decades now. It is an effective and easy-to-remember method for getting people to think through any emergency situation they are facing, rather than just reacting emotionally.
>>>Stop. Don't panic. Stay calm. This is a good time to use the Box Breathing method.
>>>Think. Take a moment think about what is happening. You need to make rational decisions, and not react emotionally.
>>>Observe. Look around. What is your situation? What are the threats you face? What resources do you have available to deal with those threats?
>>>Plan. Decide how you are going to deal with the crisis. Make a plan, share your plan with others with you, and stick to the plan, making changes only in relation to changing circumstances.
Depending on the circumstances, you may have only seconds to do the above. Or you may have hours, days, or even longer. Do the best you can do in the time you have. Thinking through possible scenarios ahead of time helps.
Knowing the order of priorities in any emergency allows you to focus one step at a time on what is really important, rather than just being overwhelmed by everything at once. Here is a suggested order of priorities:
1) Safety. Quickly remove yourself and others out of the path of immediate danger.
2) Address serious medical concerns. Here is the basic order of concern for most injuries and conditions:
- Make sure the person can breathe.
- Stop any major bleeding.
- Immobilize the neck/back if there is an injury to those regions.
- Treat shock, hypothermia, hyperthermia, and/or heart attack.
- Treat dehydration.
- Treat broken bones (immobilize/splint).
- Treat lesser injuries.
4) Water. Clean water is a must in any situation, emergency or not.
5) Food. Last on the list, you can go longer without food than anything else on this list.
A number of people will roll their eyes at this bit of advice. Yet, I know this: My own relationship with God gives me great peace, comfort, and courage, especially in difficult times, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my priorities should be. I've adopted Joshua 1:9, "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go," as my personal motto. And, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles.
I encourage everyone to "get right with God." This won't guarantee you'll never panic, but you'll be surprised how much it does help you face the obstacles and dangers of life. Pray and read the Bible daily. Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings. Keep the Sabbath and join with others in worship on a regular basis.
Not Sure About God? Please talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts.
The Bottom Line
This article has given you a set of four very important tools to help you deal with any emergency or crisis without panicking.Please read the two other articles linked in this article for even more details, and practice, practice, practice...
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