Surviving a dangerous situation starts with one thing, your survival attitude.

It’s not about tactics.

It’s not about the latest tactical helmet. (Even though it can help a great deal.)

It’s not about making your house bulletproof.

It’s about one thing.


The Survival Mindset

Everything starts with your attitude for survival and mindset. In this post, we go through the psychology of survival. What a survivor’s mindset looks like and what we can do to develop it.

Here’s an overview of this article:

  • The Survival Mindset
  • Survival Psychology Definitions
  • Mental Survival Skills
  • Survival Mindset Books

We’re going to start at the beginning with the most important. The thing that comes first before any survival skill or tactical gadget could help us. The thing that’s crucial to develop first before doing anything else.

You could be more prepared and skilled than any other prepper in your community. But without the right mind, it will all be essentially pointless.

Survival is a mindset, without the optimal mindset for long-term sustainable survival. We’re doomed.

Survival Psychology Definitions

Let’s start by defining the few common terms we hear on this topic.

Mental Survival and Survival Mindset Definition

Essentially these are the two of the same definitions. We’ll define them both with the same. I hear many describe it with terms like being mentally tough, being prepared, learning and developing survival skills. I would agree. But here is my definition of the survival mindset.

The survival mindset is a state of mind in which you are actively prepared and able to survive for possible negative scenarios.

[bctt tweet=”The survival mindset is a state of mind in which you are actively prepared and able to survive for possible negative scenarios.” username=”thesurvivaljournl”]

Being a prepper means much more than that of course, but it’s a decent general overview of what the mindset entails.

What will a survival mindset help an individual to become

The possibilities are nearly endless for why it’s crucial to take a more serious approach to develop this kind of mindset of yourself.

Survival Mindset Qualities

There are a few key mindset qualities that will make up the bulk of a proper mindset to help you survive.

Here are some mindset qualities you want to have to be prepared to survive anything.

Optimism vs Pessimism

Thinking in more of a glass is half fuller manner tends to lead to the best results and overall well being. Being able to make a decision quickly. Not overthinking.

Be Confident

If you’re not confident. You’ll hesitate when there is no time to hesitate. And those seconds you spend hesitating can be the difference between you surviving and not.

Be Prepared

You prepare by learning what to do to prepare for the emergency that is likely to occur for you. Depending on where you live. Then you take action on what you learn and prepare. That’s part of the mindset.

So when you find you in that emergency, you’re prepped and ready with the knowledge and the tools you need to take action immediately. To do what needs to be done and get to safety.

Mental Survival Skills

One of the keys to developing a survival mindset is identifying and then developing foundational and practical mental survival skills.

According to Outdoor Life, they list 5 attributes you need for a survivors mindset:

  1. Positive attitude
  2. Mental Toughness
  3. Motivation
  4. Work Ethic
  5. Adaptability

I’d agree with all those. Mental Toughness and adaptability are the two most important I’d say. We need to be tough in emergencies. If we hesitate, get scared, or one of a dozen other things due to not being psychologically prepared, it could mean the difference between surviving and not.

Survival Mindset Books

If you’re interested in an entire book on the psychology of survival.

Here are two excellent reads on it

Deep Survival
By Laurence Gonzales

This book by was surprisingly good.

The author talks about the mindset of survival in interesting ways. The stories he talks about are powerful. If you want to go deep into the topic of this mindset, this book is a good choice.

survival mindset


Let’s recap for what the psychology of survival is.

Psychology and mindset come first. Long before any disaster or emergency occurs. Without it, all the skills and gear don’t mean much. Being prepared in your mind is first and most important. That leads to everything else.

What kinds of things have you done to develop your survival mindset? Let us know below in the comments.

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Prepper’s Mindset: Master The Psychology of Survival
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