Survival is Instinctive but it needs a little help

Survival is an intrinsic a part of our human spirit. We are wired to survive. We have a fight or flight response to situations and when disaster hits, we go into memory mode if we have rehearsed a specific situation. There is an amazing area of our brain that rises to action when disaster happens. This part of the brain calls you to action and immediately takes you to what you know, or rehearsed in order to help you survive whatever is happening.


As a silly example but one that explains it well, I often think about various scenario’s and consciously think about the best way to react to that situation. It calms me IN the situation. I had already played out a scenario in my head if I was ever rear ended by someone on the road. One day, I was the last car in a row of cars stuck in the early morning school run. I heard screeching brakes and in my rear view mirror I saw this big white truck coming straight at me. I instinctively pressed my foot hard on my brakes so that I wouldn’t be pushed into the vehicle in front of me, I closed my eyes and braced. I don’t even remember the impact but as I numbly moved my vehicle off the road onto the sidewalk, I remembered how I had told myself to react in that situation. Nobody has an accident on purpose, we are all human and we make mistakes. The other driver thought I was going to be deeply angry so he came at me projecting how he thought I would react, shouting (even though it was his fault). I put my arms around him and pulled him into a hug and said “It’s ok- nobody wanted this to happen today”. It completely disarmed him; he calmed down immediately, started apologizing profusely and asked if I needed anything.


Rehearsing something is an important part of wellbeing in a survival situation.


I thought it would be good to give you a list of things you could rehearse now, for later recall. Let’s look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and contemplate each one of them. Although a “Hierarchy” can seem a bit academic, we can easily leave that word out and say that this is an important list of needs for our survival, actually, in no particular order. Journaling is a great idea, and just in case you haven’t thought about any of this yet, here are some questions to contemplate:





What food will I pack? How much will we need? Do my children know how to cook a basic meal?



What kind of supply will I need for at least 72 hours? Where will my water supply come from? How will I store it?



What if there isn’t time to grab everything I need for warmth and comfort? What will help that I can have ready packed?



For my sanity and wellbeing, I will need rest. What will I need to get that rest? Ear plugs, mattress, shelter?





Do we have some accessible money set aside for emergency purposes? How would I get to it and where would I keep it?



What could I do to improve on my health and feeling of wellbeing right now, for later? Diet, exercise?


Injury Safety

What does my first aid kit look like? Is it organized? What do I need in it and do I know what to do with the contents? If you haven’t found your perfect kit yet, have a look at this survival kit or this 72 hour survival backpack that literally has most of what you’ll need in it already:




We were made for community – the only thing that stops us from experiencing great community is our own weaknesses and insecurities. So it would be a great time to begin asking yourself who my community is and how I can do community better. When the stuff hits the fan, we need other people whether we like it or not.




It goes without saying that we like to be liked and we like to do things well and be recognized for it. Maybe we can go a little deeper here and think about our self esteem, is it low, is it good and what do I need to improve in this area of my life. At the end of the day, literally, you gonna need your mojo and your get go, this is all part of being prepared.




You’re probably thinking: What on earth has this got to do with preparedness and survival? I would say everything! When we KNOW what we can do and what we’re capable of we will learn to play to each other’s strengths. Team is formidable because there is nothing like a team that includes individuals who know their strengths and appreciate other’s strengths without insecurities getting in the way. That team will survive.


As Gloria Gaynor said: At first I was afraid, I was petrified … (and then she realized) …I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give, I will survive!


And so my friend, will YOU.

2 Replies to “Survival is Instinctive but it needs a little help

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