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Coping With Fear

November 1, 2010 by  

Coping With Fear

It doesn’t take a major catastrophe or terrorist attack to put you in a survival situation. It could be as simple an incident as stepping off a hiking trail, losing you way on a hunting trip or taking a wrong turn in your car. Before you know it, you’re lost or stuck and on your own.

If that happens, there is one danger that presents more of an immediate threat to your well-being than thirst, cold or hunger. That danger is fear.

Many studies have been conducted that document the body’s response to fear. And while the response can be helpful in some situations, it can be equally as harmful in others.

Writing in his book, 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive!, Cody Lundin says that when the brain perceives a threat to survival, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) kicks into overdrive and releases stress hormones — called adrenaline or epinephrine — that affect the body in several ways.

The SNS response is automatic and uncontrollable. Your heart rate increases (from 70 beats per minute to as many as 200 in less than a second), cardiac output increases, blood pressure rises and your blood sugar increases. Blood is diverted from organs to the larger muscle groups (to reinforce in case flight or fight is necessary) and strength is increased. Your breathing rate accelerates to transport more oxygen to the muscles, sweating increases to cool the working muscles and minor blood vessels in the arms and legs constrict to reduce bleeding should an injury occur.

Pupils dilate, reducing depth perception, and the function of axillary muscles decreases, which creates blurred vision. The field of sight narrows and produces tunnel vision. These things combine to create the sensation that time is standing still, which allows for increased reaction time to the emergency.

Unfortunately, all of this also leads to an inability to think clearly and a reduction in fine motor skill and makes simple tasks extremely difficult. It is because of this that you can’t allow fear to take over in times of crisis.

Lundin writes that physiological responses to stress can be broken down into four crucial factors for the survivor:

  1. Fear inhibits your metabolic process. You body produces heat by digesting the calories in the foods you eat. If this is impaired, your body has a harder time of regulating core temperature in cold weather. Thus, the onset of hypothermia can manifest much more rapidly. By metabolizing food, your body creates energy that can be used to create shelter, signal for rescue or make a fire.
  2. Fear impairs your circulation. Basic first-aid training stresses the importance of the ABCs (airway, breathing and circulation). Your circulatory system is how your body feeds itself, delivers oxygen to cells, eliminates waste products and keeps itself warm and cool. In cold weather, blood flow is the primary means by which your body maintains its peripheral temperature, which is automatically restricted by the SNS’s response to stress! Compromising circulation puts your odds for living into a serious tailspin in both hot and cold climates. In addition, the chances are good that your circulatory system will already be impaired due to dehydration.
  3. Fear impairs your good judgment. Good judgment is your number-one tool for preventing or dealing with a survival predicament in the first place. Poor judgment calls, without a doubt, are the hallmark of every single outdoor fatality. Occurrences such as auditory exclusion, tunnel vision, irrational behavior, freezing in place, and the inability to think clearly have been observed as by-products of survival stress. Do what you can to chill out and calm yourself, redirecting your energies away from the fear factors.
  4. Fear impairs your fine and complex motor skills. Although these phenomena have been observed and documented for hundreds of years, and formally studied since the 1800s, there is very little understanding by researchers as to why stress deteriorates performance.

So, if the response is automatic and involuntary, what can you do to overcome it? Lundin’s book has 13 steps to help you control your fear, and six more to help you to control fear in others. To control your own fear:

  1. Be prepared. Accept the fact that a survival situation could, in fact, happen to you, and plan accordingly. Aside from physical practice, being prepared involves advanced planning, mental and physical conditioning, discipline, and an intimate understanding of the emergency gear you propose to carry.
  2. Train! Accepting that a deadly scenario could happen is not enough. Learn all that you can about survival and what your body can endure, and recognize and understand what your reactions to fear will be. Practicing skills builds confidence and strengthens a “can-do” attitude regarding your ability to survive.
  3. Don’t run from fear? When you’re afraid, take a step back from the fear and just notice it. Ignore the urge to analyze, judge, criticize, evaluate, or try to figure it out. Stepping back provides emotional space and reduces much of the charge around the fear energy.
  4. Stay aware of your surroundings. Learn to recognize the early warning signs of dangerous situations. Gain knowledge to reduce the perceived threat of the unknown.
  5. Stay constructively busy. Conserving energy as a survivor is key, yet do all that you can to make your situation more comfortable, reducing difficulties that encourage fear. Staying busy keeps the mind off fearful circumstances and gives you a sense that you’re in control of your destiny.
  6. Keep your imagination in check. Stick to known facts by separating the real from the imagined.
  7. Adapt to your surroundings. Prepare yourself to think and act like an animal without judgment over your actions. In a sense, if you can’t beat fear, join it. Formulate plans B, C, and D before they’re needed.
  8. Discipline yourself to think positively. Even when talking to yourself, strive to use positive, “I AM” statements such as, “I AM going to make it out of here” and “I AM going to be rescued.”
  9. Adopt a positive survival attitude. Keep things in perspective and focus your attention firmly upon the goal of getting rescued.
  10. Use proper breathing exercises to lower the heart rate and reduce stress.
  11. Ask for help. Whether you’re currently walking upon a spiritual path or not, it’s never too late to start.
  12. Use humor. Kind humor transforms crummy attitudes.
  13. In summary, Party On!

To control fear in others:

  1. Be a positive example. Maintain a calm presence and keep control, even if you feel out of control; inspire courage, hope, and the willingness to keep trying.
  2. Maintain discipline. Work toward finding and maintaining order and harmony within the group in a gentle, yet firm manner. Search out people’s strengths and assign them focused tasks to assist the group. Giving people things to do lessens the feelings of helplessness, and takes their mind away from the current situation, while giving them a sense of control regarding their destiny.
  3. Exercise positive leadership. Be firm, determined, confident, compassionate, decisive, honest, and humorous.
  4. Stay alert for early signs of fear in others, and, when recognized, deal with them immediately. Knowing how the people in your group react to and deal with stress is priceless. Be intuitive to the needs of others and offer whatever support you can. Remember that one rotten apple can spoil the bunch.
  5. Cultivate teamwork and mutual support early on. Perhaps no other experience on Earth will require such a tightly knit and supportive group for success than the survival situation. The group that initiates and maintains a positive mental and emotional outlook, putting all of its efforts and concerns into the welfare of the entire tribe, is an extremely powerful force for staying alive.
  6. In summary, Party On!

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • s c

    Bob, your list of points could also serve as functional ways to cope with the devastating effects of generations of career politicians. Americans need to get into the habit of viewing career politicians with utter contempt. We’re lucky to get roughly 1 in 100 who can claim to have done something positive for us while they were in Washington.
    It’s not realistic to expect to get leaders who can rival Washington or Jefferson. At the same time, we deserve better than Ponzis, Chamberlains, Quislings, Benedict Arnolds or wannabe Hitlers.
    Some readers might even expand your many points, Bob, but what you have is a good start in coping with ‘fear’ OR elected, useful idiots.

    • eddie47d

      sc and Dan; In Cody Lundin’s book it mentions “tunnel vision” and try to “keep your imagination in check”. You got the first one right but you’re imagination is always running wild.

      • Craig

        So says the completely clueless.

        • Think Again

          Conservatives are afraid of everything. Oh noooooooooo Jesus is coming! Heeeellllllpppppppp! be afraidddddddddddddddd!

    • refuse2lose

      The recent “terrorist”attack was an inside job. Remember that Bush played this game every time elections came around. Nothing to be afraid of.

  • Dan az

    That kinda explains why the libs and progs here are sometimes incoherent with the thoughts of having to go to work shortly they seem to misplace there thinking ability for reasoning.Fear can sometimes be beneficial we all have survival instincts Like those in DC they know there heads are on the chopping block and they have no other means of survival kinda like libs and progs that live off of others income.Its kinda funny watch them squirm isnt it?

  • Vigilant

    s c & Dan,

    I think you guys are getting a little off track. (:-)

  • Angel Wannabe

    Good article!__Sounds like what I’ve lived most of my life. With a very sick family especially my Mother,(Rhemitoid arthritic from the time she was 11)_ a simple cold for her could turn into triple pnumonia in the matter of hours.__ We lived our lives for many years on the edge of our seat. All Actions countered with a re-action. My Mothers been dead now for 14 years, but I’ll tell ya what, it has taken me at least the better part of ten years to not live my life in that kind of survival mode.__On the other hand, Living life by the seat of your pants has it’s advantages, because your ready for anything._( but you do, have to be careful, and temper your reaction, for situations that don’t warrant it).__I’d go for months on end getting phone calls 2,3,4 in the morning, where we had to rush my Mother to the hospital, until I moved her in with us. And your right, humor is and effective medicine, laughing in the face of fear._-back in 1990, I remmber the night our house caught fire and we realized it was too big for us too handle_after calling the fire company, a friend and fire fighter came over and gave me a hug__I said to him, “this is a hell-of-a time to stop in for a beer!”__We’ve often laughed over that_–While ya gotta stay focused while in survival mode, laughter and the ability to keep it light, is probably just as important survival itself.

  • TIME

    Fear your Government, they are the real monsters.

    • Al Sieber

      TIME, you hit the nail on the head. that’s real scary.

      • Robert S

        Don’t forget Wall Street and International Bankers.

        • Al Sieber

          Robert S, that’s where our problems began.

        • s c

          And, don’t forget career criminals in Washington, ‘Democrats,’ libs, progressives, socialists, communists, fascists, RINOs, most ‘moderates,’ fence-sitters, dead voters from around the country, media whores, intellectual prostitutes who pose as professors and everyone else who hates freedom, common sense and the one country in the world that is man’s last hope for FREEDOM.
          You simply refuse to get it, don’t you, comrade? You must have been a real ‘treat’ when you wasted time and space in grade and high school(s) – assuming that you got that far in the vain pursuit of an education.

          • (WIA) Wild Indian in Action

            Who needs governments, they’re all BROKE.

          • Dick Gazinia

            We must be careful of ALL media whores, left AND right. Speaking of posing as professors, Glen Beck’s “university” and his aggressive rewriting of history is as dangerous as lefty nut jobs like Rachel Maddow.

            All these clowns serve themselves and the hidden masters that pay their salaries. You will find little truth from any of these so-called pundits.

            Thinks for yourselves… rationally.

          • 45caliber

            Dick:

            Years ago, during the Central High School desegrigation, I noted some things the TV was saying were wrong. So I hunted up the REAL truth. I’ve done it ever since. I have more history books than any library, including the college, in this area. There are a LOT of differeces between truth and what the normal history books say. It is changed daily. Everyone should try to determine just what is really true.

          • Robert S

            SC How many real Conservatives are there in Washington? From both paties.

          • http://?? Joe H.

            WIA,
            That’s the problem, the government isn’t broke till we are!!!

      • Angel Wannabe

        Scary and true_AL

  • LiarsMustBeDefeated

    Excellent remarks. Now, let’s vote and put some ethical leaders in position, if at all possible!!!

  • Disabled Veteran Brian

    I have been shot twice, once in the head, once in the leg…have gone through the ice and spent a very cold minute trying to find the hole back out to air, have been lost in very tall grass while hunting that was twelve feet high, survived two hurricanes, and several different tornadoes…keep your head, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and trust in God….watch out for unexpected danger, keep alert, be prepared to act quickly. Watch out for others in your group…and be praying they will also watch out for you….if the boat goes down, its not the fastest swimmer that lives, but the one that is still swimming, floating, or treading water when help arrives….take a first aid course….get and learn compass and chart use….camp out in cool weather, just to try it…and for God’s sake, carry an emergency pack with you in every vehicle own. God helps them who help themselves….and others.

    • Al Sieber

      Disabled Vet, I agree with you. lucky for me I grew up in a family of hunters and guides and was taught how to live off the land and survive,the most important thing is not to panic. on the other hand I’m scared to death of cities, the nearest town from me is 8 miles, pop. about 80 people and I don’t even like to go in there to check my mail. since I screwed up my mail in ballot I have to go in and vote.

      • Dan az

        Hey Al the same goes for me I feel like a fish out of water when I go to the city.Just cant do it anymore.you mailed didnt you? Thats ok I did the same thing I just hope that they will let me vote with out being on some list.

        • Al Sieber

          Dan, I forgot to sign it and they sent it back and said take it in to your polling place, so I’m not missing this election.

  • Disabled Veteran Brian

    Please vote tomorrow, pick some new leaders, and there may be less need for emergency skills and gear…

    • Don

      Votists have been trained to think of themselves as herd members and therefore must be led, much like draft animals.

      Today’s politicians are happy to oblige and then some.

      If you vote, you deserve what you get.

      • 45caliber

        And if you DON’T vote you REALLY deserve what you get!

  • eddie47d

    Fear can grip all of us and at the oddest places.Fortunately it’s rare and temporary. (if someone slams on their brakes in front of you). When I was in Vietnam and on perimeter duty out in the boonies when I first arrived your mind imagined V.C. everywhere. There were these huge bugs that lit up (like fireflies) and it looked like an army coming at you. Which is absurd after you think about it for why would the V.C. be carrying flashlights. It made for some tense nights until you got use to it.

  • Teresa

    I will tell you something about fear…I never heard our President this weekend while the terrorist threats were going on regarding the bombs being found on TV comforting the American citizens..
    I like the article…but I think our Leader should have instilled faith in our country instead of out feeding more lies to the public for political gain and his campaigning. We wonder why we are so divided and angry.
    Name one other President who would NOT have been on TV and tried to comfort the nation!

    • eddie47d

      Why would they make an urgent issue out of it when they had it under control? If a business is threatened then they should be alerted and precautions taken.Beyond that we don’t need any terror alerts or comforting.

    • Craig

      Obumbles is no leader. He hasn’t the brain power or class too be able to comfort anybody.

  • http://www.itakecareofme.com TSR

    Your article is interested but disperses the basic facts and an easy solution. Fear triggers the release of an abundance of noradrenaline which puts us in the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, the “thinking” side of our brain is incapacitated in favor of our “physical” side, hence the fight or flight term as opposed to “analyze” and respond.

    This is the same mechanism which kicks in when you are caught off guard and can’t remember someone’s name at a party or can’t remember your lines in a play.

    Meanwhile, this “caveman” response has fewer and fewer applications in our more sophisticated environment. But there is an easy solution.
    There is a simple mechanism to “turn off” the production of that noradrenalin. And I thank Yul Brynner for sharing it with me. He used it to overcome his debilitating stage fright.

    Simply, when you are afraid or even angry, you can duplicate the pressure created when blowing up a very narrow balloon like those skinny balloons used to make animal shapes at your kids birthday party. You don’t need the actual balloon, but I don’t have the time to describe the technique now.

    Try it. The pressure you create internally in the process of trying to blow up one of those balloons STOPS the production of noradrenaline in about 5 minutes. You can even use the technique PRIOR to stressful situations like giving a speech or going to a job interview. Wouldn’t have loved to know this when you were in school? It should to be taught in school like many other tools that are sadly admitted. If you want to know how to replicate the technique without the balloon, let me know by going

  • http://www.itakecareofme.com TSR

    Your article is interesting but disperses the basic facts and an easy solution. Fear triggers the release of an abundance of noradrenaline which puts us in the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, the “thinking” side of our brain is incapacitated in favor of our “physical” side, hence the fight or flight term as opposed to “analyze” and respond.

    This is the same mechanism which kicks in when you are caught off guard and can’t remember someone’s name at a party or can’t remember your lines in a play.

    Meanwhile, this “caveman” response has fewer and fewer applications in our more sophisticated environment. But there is an easy solution.
    There is a simple mechanism to “turn off” the production of that noradrenalin. And I thank Yul Brynner for sharing it with me. He used it to overcome his debilitating stage fright.

    Simply, when you are afraid or even angry, you can duplicate the pressure created when blowing up a very narrow balloon like those skinny balloons used to make animal shapes at your kids birthday party. You don’t need the actual balloon, but I don’t have the time to describe the technique now.

    Try it. The pressure you create internally in the process of trying to blow up one of those balloons STOPS the production of noradrenaline in about 5 minutes. You can even use the technique PRIOR to stressful situations like giving a speech or going to a job interview. Wouldn’t have loved to know this when you were in school? It should to be taught in school like many other tools that are sadly admitted. If you want to know how to replicate the technique without the balloon, let me know by going

  • 45caliber

    On getting lost in the woods, always go DOWNHILL. Sooner or later you’ll come to water and can follow it downstream. Sooner or later you will find a road or a house. You can’t truly get lost anywhere in the world by following this simple rule.

    • Angel Wannabe

      yep 45, my Dad always told me that too!

      • 45caliber

        I grew up in a national forest. I would go for hikes by myself, just to see what I could find. And several times I had to unlose myself. It might mean travelling a little further than you intended but it works!

        • Angel Wannabe

          45, my Dad got lost on his last trip deer hunting in the Mountains. He was hunting in unknown territory. It was getting dark and he wasn’t home yet, so we rallied 3 carloads of friends and went to look for him, iun about 20 minutes, we found him on the dirt road up above the the cabin about 4 miles away, he did the same, came down the mountain and followed the crick.

  • jopa

    The Bush administrations whole goal was to instill fear into the American public so they could go on and become war profiteers under the pretense of the boogey man is going to come and get you.You should realize by now it was only a farce and come out of your shells and start to smell the coffee.They did a great job, (Karlos Rover) and company, in fooling better than half the nation.Most of you are old enough to realize your only fear is in your mind so come out and get a life.

    • Vigilant

      jopa,

      “The Bush administrations [sic] whole goal was to instill fear into the American public so they could go on and become war profiteers under the pretense of the boogey man is going to come and get you.”

      When did you last have an Elvis sighting?

      • 45caliber

        Good reply.

      • Angel Wannabe

        Vigilant_ last Saturday night, but he was impersonator!_ lol

      • http://gunner689 gunner689

        Would that be the same “imaginary boogey men” who hijacked 3 airplanes and flew them into buildings killing 3,000 people ? the same ones who are trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons to blow up Israel and the United States ? The same silly little pests who are trying to start WW111 ? Damn Bush for waking us up to them and making us pay attention; we might miss Dancing with the Stars.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          gunner689,
          nah, I don’t like dancing with the stars!! But they better not start anything when Jersey Girls is on!!!!

        • Yankee Will

          I was thinking the same thing…good answer.

  • http://Thisone Judgementday

    This article will become meaningful to many in the next few months.
    Our nation has put its trust in the arm of mankind which sooner or later will always disappoint.
    I have learned in my 70 years that to have peace is to come to an understanding of our Heavenly Father and His plan for us.
    November 2, 2010, 1/2 of Americans are in one way or another for a godless form of government and the other 1/2 is more prone to believe that God is the answer.
    The question is:
    Who’s on the Lords side?
    Who?

    • Angel Wannabe

      Judgement Day, I’ve been on the Lords side for many a year, ain’t about to quit now.__God Bless

      • independant thinker

        I have always counted myuself on his side as well.

      • 45caliber

        Me too. I’ve always felt that the ones who speak loudest about there not being God are actually terrified there is one. I think they just hope that if enough people will deny God, that God will have to change His laws and take them after all.

        • Angel Wannabe

          45__ someone has a good response for not believing in God, but I don’t remember who wrote it, I received in an email one time__ it says, “that I rather live my life believing in God, that dying an unbeliever and finding out too late that he does exist.”__ I truly can’t even imagine my life without him. I’ve seen so many prayers answered and my share of miracles__ the miracles I’ve seen were NOT just for myself either.

    • Christin

      Judgement Day,
      You are right about this article. I almost skipped over this one as my time is limited on the computer, but I am glad I got to read it. We will ALL need these strategies to cope with the coming Godlessness of this administration in the coming months.

      I have been stating for months that people are either for those who want Freedom, Liberty and Rights given by God as stated in the Founding Documents and American Constitution… the faithful on God’s side …OR… those people that are for Loss of Freedoms, Limited Rights, Over Bearing Government Regulations and Godless Marxism… the radical Progressives on satan’s side.

      I am on the Lord’s side!
      Godspeed.

  • Marilyn K

    Humans can only feel one emotion at a time. Fear can be replaced by anger or any other emotion at any given time. Those with “mixed emotions” are bouncing between like/dislike, fear/anger, etc. As for our leader of our country who seems to like to instill fear through intimidation, he knows exactly what he is doing. Obama may be a campaign wonder but as president, he first dealt us intimidation which made us fearful but now, we feel anger. Anger that Obama is not doing his job to bring back some kind of normalcy. Many of you may think that Obama was handed a platter full of problems from the past presidents. Righty so. But what did he do with that platter that even he helped to create? He was Senator if you recall. We will “owe our souls to the Company Store” and that makes me angry, not fearful!

    • http://gunner689 gunner689

      Our anger is wasted if not directed into action.

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Marilyn K,
      Let someone threaten my family and you will see two emotions out of me at the same time Anger at the one that threatens them and love for my family!!

  • jopa

    Vigilant; I actually made a trip to Graceland about a month ago, Elvis was home but we could not get within six feet of him.Long live the King.

  • Mr. P

    We hear a lot today about the fear that we are in danger of being herded into Socialism. We are not. Socialism defined: ” A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned collectively and political power is exercised by the whole community.”
    (Excerpted from American Heritage Talking Dictionary)
    You can see the problem. We are not in danger of having our political power exercised by the whole community. We are in danger of having our political power being exercised by an elitist minority – i.e., Communism (large C). Everything Obama and his administration does, with the help of select elitist Democratic Congressmen/women, is right out of the Marxist handbook. If educated, thinking Americans don’t stop this madness tomorrow and in 2012, America as we have known it will disappear completely, replaced by the “one world government,” run by the U.N. God help us.

    • Christin

      Mr. P,
      You are right about your definitions. I kind of think this WH leader is a Marxist type of Communist… Marxism defined as: the form of government which the state plans and controls the economy, a one-party political structure, and an emphasis on the requirements of the state rather than on individual liberties. (Webster’s Dictionary)

      Either way it isn’t good.

      God will help us, Mr. P, (those of us that are with Him), but it isn’t the way we are thinking… the Bible tells how this will go, how this time period will end and what comes after.

      We are definately a people and a country divided… Good and Evil… a familiar theme in many stories and life.

      • Mr. P

        You’re right, Christin. I find it interesting that in Revelation there is no mention of America, the U.S., or any mention of what happened to it. The Battle of Armageddon is prophesied to be between the Eastern powers in league with the European powers. Ever wonder what happens to the America? My guess is that because of apathetic, government dependent people, America will go the way of Greece, Rome, Persia, et al; i.e. piled on the dumpheap of history, defeated from within. Of course, Christ, who spoke the cosmos into existence has only to speak, and the millions of “warriors” against Him will drop dead. But much has to happen before that occurs, and I hate to think that this once great nation will commit suicide, because my grandchildren and great grandchildren will never know the beautiful land I grew up in.

  • http://http/aol.com john littlefield

    i come from from hunters and trappers i know how to live off the land my native american friends taught me how.

  • Claire

    “Aba Aba Cadabra–they’re going to reach out and grab ya.” Fear and pain affect me in a different way. It makes me angry, makes me mad as heck. Perhaps this is my way of dealing with fear, perhaps I am more scared than I realize? Whatever the reason, fear and pain makes me mad enough to fight back.

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