Prepper psychology: Coping mechanisms that will help you survive stressful situations
10/23/2020 // Virgilio Marin // Views

Prepping for a disaster requires a holistic approach, in addition to being physically prepared, you also need to be mentally prepared for survival situations. All of your prepping tools, supplies and skills will be for naught if you’re not ready to face the grueling world that will result when SHTF. Your life as you know it will not be the same, and that could be depressing. To help you with that, here are some coping strategies for weathering stressful situations. (h/t to

Take action

Research shows that parachutists feel most stressed out before the jump. But once the go-signal has been given and the person is fully committed to take the leap, stress levels plummet. This is because uncertainty and doubt are removed once you’ve made a decision.

Choosing to take action gives you a sense of control over the situation. It doesn’t matter if the action in question bears little weight to a survival situation. You can gather firewood, construct a windbreak or make an inventory of resources.

In addition, your body is in a high state of arousal when you’re in a fight-or-flight situation. You’re generating a lot of energy, which is put to good use when you act.

Set your priorities

You’ll be faced with a lot of predicaments in an emergency situation. The key is not to solve all of them at once. Identify what needs to be addressed first and deal with them one by one.

In triage, for example, responders prioritize “in-between” patients who are seriously injured over those who are slightly injured or are in extremely critical condition. This cold pragmatism is tough to swallow, but it’s important to remember that your resources are limited in an emergency scenario.


Focus on the task

After establishing your priorities, focus on whatever task you need to do immediately. Avoid worrying about past or future events. Strategic long-term planning comes at another time – that is another task in itself and an important one.

Sometimes you’ll fail but you shouldn’t let that get the best of you. The ideal course of action is to analyze where you fell short and figure out what can you learn from it.

Establish routines

Ordered life will collapse once SHTF. Your previous routines will be gone, replaced by an overwhelming sense of doom and chaos. That said, it’s up to you to pick up the rubble and re-establish a sense of order. Do that by making new routines.

Parenting tips will come in handy in this case. Consider the following requisites for building structure:

  1. Consistency – Do the same thing every time.
  2. Predictability – Establish what's supposed to happen next.
  3. Follow-through – Enforce a consequence when you deviate from your routines.

Switch off

Switching off, or zoning out will help take your mind off stressful situations. Focus on pleasurable experiences and shut out your immediate environment. This can bring temporary relief and allow your mind and body to recover. It may even bring spiritual release if you practice meditation.

However, you should only switch off if you're in a safe place as you are also turning off your survival mode.

Maintain a sense of humor

Humor is a powerful tool when used appropriately. It can light up a distressing situation and uplift your mood. Research also shows that it may decrease stress and allow you to think of new ways about a stressful situation.

However, finding reasons to laugh about won't come easy when SHTF. Even if you find something funny, other survivors may not share the same reaction. Therefore, it's important to find some common ground or bug out with someone with the same sense of humor as you.

When disaster hits, you'll have to grapple with the crippling loneliness or the lack of order on top of the physical threats. Prep yourself for those stressful scenarios with these coping mechanisms.

Learn more ways to cope with stress at

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