Psychological Threats to Survival

The physical threats to your survival like temperature loss, dehydration, or starvation are obvious to just about anyone.  But less obvious, and just as dangerous are the psychological factors that can erode your ability, and even your will to survive.  Just as with the physical threats, the psychological threats to your survival can be dealt with if you can identify them and respond appropriately.  These are some of those threats and how you can deal with them.



When you realize that you are facing a life or death situation panic is a natural reaction.  But panic can make an already dangerous situation worse by destroying your judgment and causing you to rush into action without thinking.  Panic can be dealt with by forcing yourself to take time to assess your situation and make a plan of action.  Take it one step at a time and reassure yourself that each step is possible.  If you are with others that are panicking, let them know what your plan is and explain to them details that will give them faith in your knowledge and ability.


Pain may be a physical response, but pain is not physically dangerous.  The danger of pain is that it can cloud your mind or worse, make you give up.  Taking pride in the ability to overcome pain is one way of protecting yourself from the psychological danger of pain.  Visualizing the relief you will get when you make it to safety, like a warm bed, stiff drink, or hot meal, can also cut down on the demoralizing effects of pain.


Especially in prolonged survival scenarios depression can take a toll.  Humor is one of the best ways to cope with depression, even sarcastic humor.  Being able to laugh about your situation will give you a completely different outlook.


Even people who have received training in survival and had equipment on them have died in the wilderness because they were unable to cope with the psychological effects of survival.  Recognize when you are faced with these threats and respond accordingly.

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