Sometimes everyday life can be monotonous, boring, and worst of all, stressful. Long hours of work, not enough rest, and doing the same job every day can be an extreme mental challenge. 69% of employees report that work is a significant source of stress. Furthermore, 51% of employees claimed to be less productive at work as a result of stress. No one wants, or needs this stress holding them back—no one needs to carry the unnecessary burden of stress!
I’m a wilderness survival instructor, so naturally, I spend much of my time in the wilderness. I eat in the wilderness, sleep in the wilderness, and because of that, I need to equip myself to put up with everything that the wilderness can throw at me. What I don’t use, I keep it safely stored in a self storage facility near home. I have been to many different parts of the country, learning the tricks, and building the strength it takes to survive in the wilderness.
Though I’m an experienced outdoorsman, stress still oozes from my pores when I step foot into a barren wilderness, yet over the years, I’ve learned to overcome it by maintaining a good survival mindset. Even with unnecessary noise, task burdened people, and the stress that comes with everyday life all gone, the wilderness holds a new form of stress. For this type of stress, there is a simple method to (as an old timer used to say to me) keep your head on straight!
The method to achieving a survival mindset is the STOP method.
The S stands for “sit.” When you get lost right away, you won’t want to admit it. Usually, people end up denying the truth that they are lost and continue wandering further and further off the beaten path, in search of something familiar that could point them home. In reality, the best thing to do is to stop and sit! Don’t get more lost than you already are! Sometimes I feel that this is the same as working a hectic day. You’re not always in the right state of mind. You need to sit. Luckily, in the city you get a nice, comfy Lay-Z-Boy, instead of a log!
The T stands for “think.” When you finally get focused, think about the events that occurred before you became lost. Is there a simpler way to find your way back to the trail? Is there a better way to determine which direction you are facing than staring into the sun? Of course there is! In order to figure these things out, however, you must clear your head, take a deep breath, and determine the outcome and the steps it will take to achieve it. This strategy can also be applied when handling stress. Clearing your mind, deep breathing, and focused thoughts are always a good place to start. Think of the desired outcome (which most likely be relieving the stress) and think of the steps that will get you to that point!
The O stands for “observe.” Did you pass any landmarks that may be recognizable on a map? Did you pass a creek that leads back to camp? Take time to listen for the sounds of any hikers of vehicles passing by. Who knows, you could be a short distance from a road, and that means safety! In the workplace, this could mean finding possible ways to make your day more enjoyable.
The P stands for “plan,” and it’s the part of the STOP that leads you to success, whatever your situation may be! Plan what your next step is, then act on it. It could mean sitting and trying to signal for help, or deciding to hunker down for the night. In the city, you have to plan for success every day, in most everything that you do. Plan on being on time to work, and getting enough sleep each night to be fully rested. Plan on joining, or starting a wellness group with people from work.
Keep these tips in your back pocket, both on the trail, and at home in the city. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use them in a survival situation. If you do, you’ll be ready!
By Guest Contributor Sam Larson - samexplores.com