There are seven deadly enemies of survival. While seven might seem like an arbitrary number, it is. These could be called the core elements. Conquer these and you will survive.
The 7 Deadly Enemies of Survival
The most dangerous enemy you will face in a survival situation is yourself. Fear is insidious and can be debilitating.
The only thing to fear is fear itself. I take this often-quoted phrase to mean that fear can come in any shape, in response to any object, but it is always fear.
Fear is seen as the enemy only because it creeps in the dead of night and takes you while you are not looking. Although I would propose that instead of treating it as an enemy to do battle with, see it as something to be acknowledged. As fighting only begets more fighting.
Tip: How to overcome? There is no such thing as overcoming fear. Fear doesn't go away just because you ask it to. Fear is fuel. Fear is what pushes you forward and makes you continue on. It is not something to be feared but acknowledged, given space to exist and see it for what it is so it doesn't take you.
2. Body Heat
Our body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, hypothermia begins at 95 Fahrenheit, and a fever starts at anything above 100.4 degrees. Anything within that 5-degree range and our body lose its state of equilibrium.
For the most part, humans have delicate bodies. We do not have any fangs or claws, fur, or thick skin. We get too hot and too cold very easily. The only advantage we have is our brain. So use it.
If you start to get too cold, your body will start shivering, you will lose focus and coordination, will feel sluggish, and have difficulty moving. If you start to overheat, you will get dizzy, confused, nauseous, and will start to get dehydrated. Use your head on this.
Tip: How to overcome? Pack your survival kit with flint and steel and an emergency shelter. Stay dry, dress in layers, and find shelter. Keep moving will help to generate body heat. If you are overheating, get out of the sun, use a damp cloth around the neck, cover your head, drink hot/warm water, and wear loose clothing
Pain is our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. It is a warning sign, like a smoke detector, that there is danger. When we are in pain we are vulnerable and can’t think straight.
The problem with pain is that it is often the result of an injury, which can lead to further injury if not treated properly. In an emergency situation, you might not have the luxury of time to rest and recuperate. You might have to keep moving in order to find help or safety. In such a situation, its either rest or push on through.
Tip: How to overcome? The best way to deal with pain is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That means being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions to avoid injuries. If you do get hurt, try to stay calm, think logically and take care of what you must.
Thirst is a real threat. Although you can live up to 3 days without water, dehydration can quickly lead to weakness and confusion. As the body is made up of 60% water, every cell in our body needs water to function properly.
It is important to stay hydrated in any situation, let alone in a survival situation where you might be pushing yourself and needing to be level-headed. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and pack extra water in your survival kit.
Tip: How to overcome? Bring emergency water supplies with you, whether that's iodine or chlorine tablets, a handheld filter, life straw, or flint, steel container to boil water.
You have probably skipped a couple of meals before and maybe even fasted and managed just fine. Skipping meals at home in a man-made environment is one thing; being without food in a survival situation or in some remote backcountry is another.
If you are hiking in the woods, you’re moving around a lot, expending a lot of energy, and will be exposed to the elements that can sap your energy levels. You will likely be burning calories much faster in these situations.
A lack of food is going to leave you sluggish, irritated, and most dangerous of all, depressed. Food is a huge morale booster that can really lift the spirits when things are tough. Take that away and things can look pretty bleak quite fast.
Tip: How to overcome? Bring enough food, but most importantly, bring some extra resources along, like a fishing reel, knife, local plant book, rope for traps, so that you can live off the land if you need to know.
Being tired is one thing, but being fatigued is something else entirely. Fatigue is a weakness that can affect the body’s ability to think clearly and make clear decisions.
Fatigue can also come in the form of complacency.
Complacency is the great middle-class curse. It can be even more dangerous in the backcountry because it makes you believe everything is okay. When you are complacent, you become careless.
You might not be paying attention to your surroundings; this same carelessness can lead you to take unnecessary risks. Complacency kills in many silent noticeable ways.
Tip: How to overcome? The best way to deal with fatigue is prevention. Always make sure you are getting enough food, water and sleep. A good way to combat complacency is by practicing the art of relaxed awareness. The practice of simply being aware of your surroundings. Simply to say, hard to do.
In a survival situation, loneliness can be crippling. It can make you feel isolated and helpless. All of these emotions can lead to despair, frustration and depression, which can easily become a spiral of downward moving thoughts leading to apathy and resignation. It can sap your energy, disrupt your focus, and make it difficult to think clearly.
Tip: How to overcome? Know that this situation is temporary. If you are in a survival situation, there are no support groups and communities around for help as there would be in a normal situation. Loneliness often comes through boredom, so keep yourself busy with preparing your camp, getting food, water, and everything that you need to get yourself out of the situation that you are in.
There are a number of different challenges that you may face in a survival situation. Preparation comes through practicing the skills and learning the knowledge you may need so that when disaster strikes, you will make it through to see another day.