If you were washed up on a desert island and desperate to survive, I wonder what survival technique would serve you best? No matter how fit and strong you were, if you weren’t mentally strong you would find it difficult to keep going. Bulging muscles and gym enhanced fitness might help you bounce around the sand for a while but without mental fitness, you would soon start to panic or go into ‘freeze’ mode. You would only be able to run around searching for ships on the horizon, and an immediate solution, for so long. While it is certainly good to keep physically fit, there is much more to survival than that. Often the person with hidden strengths survives against the odds.
Just as we would find it hard to cope alone on a desert island, there are times we may feel we need to go into survival mode, and that has been very true in the current challenging times. We may not be lost on that desert island but we may feel just as stranded and panicked.
The strongest survival skill comes from managing the mind. Everything you do and experience comes from your mind after all. It is hard at times I know, but there are some basic tips to help you settle your mind and feel more in control. Just as when trapped on that island, if you worry too much you may panic in stressful situations. In times like this just STOP. Stop and find a quiet space and take a breather.
If you were stranded somewhere you would probably make yourself a base camp – somewhere where you felt safe and could shelter from the storm. In the same way, so it is also needed in normal life – make sure your surroundings at home are peaceful and comfortable – create a haven and your own ‘go to’ place or corner. Escape to this place from time to time and especially during frantic days, and feel the calmness there. Keep your own space uncluttered but keep a favourite photo on your desk of loved ones or have a framed positive quote that you like. Have a little area that is just yours and rest your eyes on a scene that is tranquil.
Make a plan – in the desert you would formulate a plan so that you could attract help and the possibility of rescue. Do the same in your mind to help you ease your worries. Think of who may be able to help you in your current situation, whatever it may be. Be open to advice. Put out feelers – you will be surprised where help may come from.
Work out your everyday survival techniques. Have an imaginary compass in your mind – picture it pointing you in the right direction – the calm and happy direction. If you have a problem that is really worrying you, picture your compass rotating until it points you to a place where you can work out your problems. Picture it pointing you to a friend who is ready to receive you with kind and open arms. Imagine it sending you towards your own personal North Star where peace and contentment abounds. It is amazing how this can help you find a way forward and calm your mind.
Every time you leave your own particular safe place, your ‘base camp’, and venture out in a calm and peaceful way and can cope with what ever is outside you will be building confidence and more able to take control of different and even anxious feelings. Also, knowing you have a place to retreat to and recharge your batteries will help, even if you just go there in your mind when you are in a chaotic place.
So next time you feel you are anxious or jittery, put your mind to survival and find the path you lost.