It takes much more than the knowledge and skills to build shelters, get food, make fires and travel without the aid of standard navigational devices to live successfully through a survival situation. Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is the mental attitude of the individual(s) involved. Having survival skills is important; having the will to survive is essential. Without a desire to survive, acquired skills serve little purpose and invaluable knowledge goes to waste.
There is a psychology to survival. The person in a survival environment faces many stresses that ultimately impact his mind. These stresses can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, well-trained adult into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive. Thus, everyone must be aware of and be able to recognize those stresses commonly associated with survival. Additionally, it is imperative that you be aware of your reactions to the wide variety of stresses associated with survival. This chapter will identify and explain the nature of stress, the stresses of survival and those internal reactions you will naturally experience when faced with the stresses of a real-world survival situation. The knowledge you gain from this chapter and other chapters in this manual will prepare you to come through the toughest times alive.