How to Train Your Mind to Prevail when the SHTF
Learn how to train and condition your mind to respond instantly to a crisis situation without leaving the comfort of your recliner
Many of us have the gear, gadgets, and even the know-how to effectively respond to a dangerous situation or crisis but the fact is, without actual experience or realistic training, far too many will hesitate (or worse freeze) when it really hits the fan.
While direct experience and realistic training is certainly most effective in conditioning your body to respond in a certain way, it is not always possible or practical.
There are other options.
Outside of realistic training and direct experience, another very effective way of conditioning your mind and body to respond to crisis is through visualization.
Visualization in a nutshell
Before you think I’ve gone all new-agey on you, let me point out that visualization is not some mystical technique but is in fact a well known tool used by some of the most elite athletes on our planet — some notable examples being Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Mohammed Ali. This isn’t new age mumbo jumbo, it’s science.
What is visualization?
Visualization is a type of mental rehearsal used to create and strengthen brain patterns. Scientific studies have revealed that visualization can actually enhance performance almost as effectively as physical practice.
So how does visualization work?
With each experience, a neural pathway is formed or strengthened. These neural pathways are essentially clusters of neurons in the brain that work together to create a mental instruction or a learned behavior.
What’s interesting is brain studies show that thoughts can form the same mental instructions as actions. When you imagine something, this imagery impacts the same cognitive processes in the brain as a physical action would: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. In other words, during visualization your brain is getting trained for actual performance.
Back to the neural pathways again: When your brain conceives of an act, impulses are generated that prompt neurons to form neural pathways in the brain, essentially programming your body’s actions as if you physically performed the activity.
Athletes use this ability of the brain to “practice” their golf swings, free throws, and dance routines; martial artists use it to better perform in breaking ice blocks or boards; and even doctors will use this to do difficult surgeries in their mind before performing the actual surgery.
Personally I used it with great success when I was a competing in gymnastics. My coach would have me visualize many of the difficult or dangerous moves in my mind until I had an absolute clear “feeling” of the move before performing it in real life. Although it was the first time doing a certain move, in most cases I felt I had done the move already.
With regards to my mind, there really was no separation between the two.
Visualization for preppers
So where does visualization fit in the life of a prepper?
Well, I think it’s a perfect fit for preparing for any type of dangerous or crisis situation we may encounter.
Let me give you some examples:
One example in this category might be visualizing you’re in bed and waking up to the sound of someone breaking into your home or rummaging around in the living room. What would you do? What if the intruder runs away? or runs toward you? Clearly visualize your what your actions and response would be.
Another example may be to imagine being in your home or bug-out location during a period of social unrest. Visualize someone knocking on your door asking for help. Imagine how you would respond during this situation. Play out different scenarios in your mind like little kids coming to the door or a woman who seems to be by herself. Would you respond differently? What if they turned violent?
Some examples in this category might be visualizing what you would do if you were caught in your home during a severe earthquake, tornado or some other type of natural disaster. What if you were at your place of employment? Or on the road when it happened?
In this category, you might imagine the actions you would take if stranded in a rural or urban area that you might frequent. Or mentally practice building a shelter or performing a skill that you are reading from a wilderness/urban survival guide.
These scenarios are just examples. You’ll be able to come up with many more.
How to properly visualize
Now that you know what visualization is and where you can apply it in prepping I want to briefly discuss how to perform effective visualization that will have greatest effect on training and conditioning your mind.
Step 1: Write down list of scenarios
The first step is to write down a list of potentially dangerous or critical situations that would require immediate action. Start with the scenarios that are most likely to happen to you and then work your way down.
Step 2: Choose a scenario to visualize
Now that you have your list it’s time to choose one and focus on that one before moving to the next.
Step 3: Relax your body and mind
If you are preoccupied with something that is stressing you or you are too stimulated, visualization will not be very effective. It’s best to perform visualization techniques when your mind is clear and your body is relaxed.
Step 4: Close your eyes and engage all your senses
Now that your relaxed and you’ve chosen your source of visualization, close your eyes and engage as many of the five senses as you can.
Some helpful questions: What are you feeling in your body? Is there any specific smells in the air? Who are you with? What are you wearing? What do you hear? Are there any bright flashes or loud sounds that would startle you? Visualize you staying in control and relaxed. What emotions are you feeling right now?
The more realistic and vivid you can make it where you can imagine the sights, sounds, feeling, smells of your environment and situation, all the better. The more you do this the stronger your powers of imagination will be — to the point that it is so vivid it feels real.
The benefits of doing these visualization exercises are that they will in many cases expose the holes or flaws in your preps, plans, or
training. You’ll go about visualizing a certain scenario when you say to yourself, “Man, I need to get this piece of gear or learn how to do such and such skill to better be prepared for this.”
It’s an awesome technique and the applications of visualization are really limitless.
For example, besides practicing for crisis situations I personally like to use visualization to learn new edible/medicinal plants. I’ll imagine what they look, feel, taste (in some cases) and smell like. It also helps for me to mentally practice making them into the food/medicine I would use from it.
It’s really amazing but in so many cases I’ve been able to positively identify a plant out in the wild without a field guide because of the visualization practices I’ve done.
So that’s it. I hope you really consider doing these exercises. They are very effective and best of all they can easily be done before going to bed, upon waking up, or any other idle time you find in your day.
As always, if you have any personal experience or questions with visualization I’d love to hear from you so please post a comment below!