Survival Psychology and the Will to Survive

There have been many cases of people surviving in the most desperate of circumstances who’ve never been prepared, or even given a thought to the prospect of being in such a situation, while others with extensive preparedness knowledge and training have failed to take advantage of their skills and perished.

The Will to Survive

These cases provide evidence to support the popular belief that a person’s attitude – their will to live — plays a significant role in whether he or she becomes a successful survivor. The psychology of survival — the attitude of how to cope with survival — is similar to the mindset of a well-trained soldier; one who is trained not only in equipment usage and combat maneuvers, but prepared mentally for the challenges ahead, and is able to recognize his own reactions to them.

In the life-threatening survival situations that a catastrophic disaster involves, the survivalist who is not trained to recognize the stressors they will inevitably face may, when actually confronted by them, be unable to react. Then the survivalist, who is well-trained in other respects, may become so stressed and unable to cope that they cannot function, cannot carry out the tasks they’ve been trained to do, and might even lose the will to live.

There are many in the survivalist community who believe that survival is 90% mental and 10% skills. Fortunately there are ways to develop your will power, by training and pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Doing competitions like the Tough Mudder and pushing yourself are surefire ways push the boundaries of what you believe you’re capable of.