And The MOST Valuable Survival Tool Is…

You probably don’t even think about it…
The most important survival tool you will depend on in any situation is the three-pound object that rests between your ears. Your brain! It is the foundation of any successful preparedness plan, and yet it’s often overlooked.
Think about it: if you lose your mental edge during a crisis and lapse into panic mode, nothing else you’ve physically prepared will do you much good. Your sense of level-headedness is more valuable than your Swiss army knife, tradable precious metals, or even duct tape!
Fortunately, you can take specific actions to toughen this mental muscle now, before an emergency strikes, and gain greater stability and self-reliance during bad times. You can also use it to enhance your life in good times.
Your emotional response and adaptability to a crisis, whether natural or man-made, affects how you survive and even affects your health years later. For example, a study we read found that a large percentage of young children suffering serious emotional disturbance due to hurricane Katrina continue to suffer from the experience years later as adolescents.
The emotional damage caused by living in high-stress environments can be extreme. However, even moderate stress can be harmful over a long enough period of time.
The sluggish economy and unfolding currency collapse is leading to a rise in stress among a significant portion of the population. What can you do to “keep it together”?
“It’s not that our debt is huge. It’s just hard to make it, month to month,” says teacher’s aide Theresa Telford, who with her husband, a sheriff’s deputy, raises four children. “It seems like everything is going up, but wages aren’t going up.”
Back in 2008, when the housing bubble was quickly deflating, a USA Today article stated,
“The escalating pace of foreclosures and rising fears among some homeowners about keeping up with their mortgages are creating a range of emotional problems, mental-health specialists say. Those include anxiety disorders, depression, and addictive behaviors such as alcoholism and gambling. And, in a few cases, suicide… Crisis hotlines are reporting a surge in calls from frantic homeowners. The American Psychological Association (APA) and other mental-health groups are publishing tips on how to handle the emotional stress triggered by the real-estate meltdown.”

The National Institutes of Mental Health reports suicide is the fourth-most-common cause of death between the ages of 18 and 65.
Keeping it together mentally is critical in good times, fiscally unstable times, and especially in an emergency crisis, no matter the cause.
Here are two methods you can use to strengthen your fierce mental resolve in tough times; and if you’re lucky enough to avoid long-term crisis, then these tips can help you get even more out life.

A Foxhole for Your Mind

One of the best ways to strengthen your mind and emotional response to stressful events is learning to relax. Doing this allows you a safe place of refuge to hide away and rest, even if for a brief moment. When responding to a high-stress situation, many people either freeze up and shut down – or do the opposite… overreact and run around in a panic.
Neither is in your best interests. It’s best to be somewhere in the middle and use cool, clear thinking to find solutions to your problems.
Learning and practicing meditation, yoga, or a similar practice will help you develop calmness and relaxation on demand. It enables you calm your nerves and get centered.
Even in good times, learning and using these relaxation skills helps make you a more productive person, improves your health, and enhances your communication skills with the people you care about most. You can learn these methods by watching DVDs, enrolling in classes in your neighborhood, or joining local groups that practice these exercises.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
on a Regular and Controlled Basis!

No matter your age or condition, you should consider hiring a fitness trainer. Your local YMCA probably has qualified trainers who can work with you to significantly improve your health through controlled exposure to anabolic stress (weight lifting). Remember, weight training isn’t about becoming a muscle head. It’s about conditioning your body and mind for adversity. Including the eventual adversity of old age itself!
The older most people get, the more they tend to seek personal comfort. Resist that instinct for as long as you can, because once it prevails, you are much closer to the end. Getting outside your comfort zone on a regular basis is therefore a must as you get older. Weight training is a great way to do that, especially when it supervised by a qualified person.

Semper Paratus (Ever Ready)

Ben  Bernake and Ron Paul
“Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout motto. Similar mottos have been used by organizations worldwide that value self-reliance, independence, adaptation, prudence, and the ability to think quickly on your feet.
If you’re an experienced “prepper,” or just getting started, knowing the skills that can help you survive without public utilities or modern services, or while exposed in the wilderness, is part of being mentally prepared.
Knowing these skills leads to competence, which gives you confidence and enhances your mental resolve when things get tough. You know you can get through it. The best thing you can do is employ a take-charge approach while developing new crisis and emergency preparedness skills, and share them with the people you care about.
Invest the time to learn, practice, and develop these skills now, while things are still good and relatively stable:
  • Something simple you can do if you have a young son or daughter (even grandson, granddaughter) is become a Boy or Girl Scout leader or assistant and participate with them.
  • If that’s not practical you can buy the Boy Scout handbook, and the Boy Scout Field Guide, from your local Scout office. You can also download pdf versions of the book from the links above.

    Both are quality guides used for decades by capable Scouts. They’re illustrated and show many practical skills such as building shelter, securing food, staying warm and dry in cold weather, how to start a fire, first aid and basic medical care, even how to tie knots.
  • One additional idea for developing these practical skills and getting hands-on experience is joining your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT group) or volunteer fire department or similar volunteer emergency organization.
It’s critical to learn and apply these skills in real life… in a controlled and stress-free environment so you have a chance to develop muscle-memory – first-hand experience that becomes second nature.
The above tips are by no means exhaustive! The most successful “preppers” are those who treat it as a way of life. Your mental preparedness comes first. Then, add new skills for emergencies or a crisis to increase your knowledge, proficiency, and ability to survive and thrive in a crisis.