Mind Over Matter: Building a Survival Mindset

Visualizing for Survival

(Modern Survival.org) – Preppers often focus their time and energy on developing survival skills and stockpiling essential supplies. These are great practices that help prepare a person to handle bad situations. However, one important aspect of survival is often overlooked: mindset.

In any emergency situation, the most important tool is a survival mindset. The will to push through adversity and live to see another day is vital. Even if a person stockpiles supplies and learns survival skills before disaster strikes, a lack of mental toughness will sabotage their survival efforts.

In the following video, former Navy Seal Mark Divine explains one method that can be used to help build a survival mindset:


A critical part of cultivating a survival mindset is the practice of visualizing your own survival. Some people believe the practice of visualization is new age mumbo-jumbo. But when you take a deeper look at the practice, it’s clear that there is something to it. From professional athletes to astronauts and even Navy Seals, visualization is a commonly used tool for preparing the body and mind for adverse situations.

How does visualization work?

In the video, Mark breaks the practice down into two basic categories: rehearsal visualization and idealized state visualization.

  • Rehearsal visualization is, essentially, mentally practicing any skill you want to perfect. You might imagine yourself in an emergency situation, handling it calmly and confidently. This technique programs your mind to react to stressful situations in an appropriate manner. In your imagination, you will have already experienced similar scenarios over and over.
  • Idealized state visualization is often called manifestation, but Mark calls it the “future me state”. This practice involves visualizing your future state of existence in a specific situational outcome. For survival, this could be seeing yourself as a well-rounded survivalist who is mentally and physically prepared to handle anything.
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How to Start Practicing Visualization

To begin, you’ll need to establish a baseline image of what it is you want to achieve, or what it’s like to perform at the level of perfection you’re aiming for. Mark suggests using a video or reading a book about someone else doing what you’re looking to emulate.

Once you have a goal in mind, replace the image of the other person performing the task with an image of yourself. This can be done from either a first-person or third-person perspective, so long as you can see yourself performing the end goal correctly.

According to Divine, the key to this practice is to add “juice” to the visualization. That means to energize it using sensations, emotions and sounds — anything that will make the visualization seem real to your mind and help anchor it to your physiology.

Remember that every action begins in the mind. According to Scientific American, visualization training causes the brain to forge new pathways and connections, and can even fine-tune movements before they’re performed.


Visualization alone may not be enough to develop new skills, but can help fine-tune or enhance performance while training.

To learn more about the survival mindset, check out our article here.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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