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 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. You will face many stressors in a survival environment that ultimately will affect your mind. These stressors can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, well-trained person into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive. Thus, you must be aware of and be able to recognize those stressors commonly associated with survival. It is also imperative that you be aware of your reactions to the wide variety of stressors associated with survival. This chapter identifies and explains the nature of stress, the stressors of survival, and those internal reactions that you will naturally experience when faced with the stressors of a real-world survival situation. The knowledge you gain from this chapter and the remainder of this manual, will prepare you to come through the toughest times alive.