Are you Prepared?

How to Stay Sane When You’re All Alone in a Survival Situation July 21, 2017

When most people imagine various survival scenarios that they could find themselves in, many of those scenarios include isolation. That’s not surprising, considering that many of the survival stories we hear about in the media, involve people who escaped the hazards of the wilderness all by themselves. Those stories are often the most harrowing and interesting.

But when people consider prepping for those scenarios, they usually don’t think about some of the difficulties that come with surviving by yourself. I’m not talking about the difficulties that are associated with pulling off challenging tasks without the help of a friend. I’m talking about the crushing mental anguish that is inevitable when you haven’t seen another person for days or weeks.

The average person probably doesn’t appreciate just how important social interaction is for their well-being. They know it’s important to some degree, but they don’t realize that it’s vital. It’s just as important for your health as food, water, and shelter. Maybe you don’t believe me. You think that you’re an introverted loner who doesn’t need people. Or maybe when you think about an apocalyptic scenario, you have romantic notions of being some lone wolf badass who can take care of himself (it’s almost always a “he” who thinks that).

But consider this. In prison, how do guards punish unruly prisoners when all other forms of discipline have failed? They throw them in solitary confinement for days, weeks, and sometimes even years, where their only contact with other people is through letters (if they’re lucky). In a place that is brimming with murderers, liars, thieves, gangs, drug pushers, and rapists, the absolute worst punishment you can inflict on a prisoner, is to separate them from those dangerous criminals.

Let that sink in.

Social isolation can be crippling. It can cause depression and anxiety, and can deplete your self-worth. When it’s coupled with a lack of stimuli, (like say, from hunkering down in a shelter for days or weeks) it can cause insomnia, paranoia, poor impulse control, aggression, hallucinations, and memory loss. In other words, it causes you to behave in ways that are not conducive to survival.

So if you’re going to prep for any survival situation, you have to prep for the possibility that you’ll be on your own for a long period of time. You have to figure out how you’ll stay sane when you’re your own company. And how do you do that? Take it from prisoners who have actually been locked up in solitary confinement for long periods of time.

Wrongly convicted inmate Shujaa Graham found solace in routine while he was in solitary. Graham, who’s now 62, spent three years in solitary on death row after he was framed for murdering a prison guard.

“I kept myself occupied,” he said. “I programmed myself.” He woke up at 5 a.m. every day and did exercises like jumping jacks and push-ups. Then he’d sponge himself off in his sink. Later in the day Graham went into a deep meditative state, pretending to visit his mom and other family members.

Vietnam prisoner of war Tom Moe didn’t see, hear, or talk to another American for months during his captivity, according his account in Notre Dame Magazine.

During his time as a POW, he made sure his mind was always occupied. He designed and built 10 houses in his mind, he wrote. And he constantly made lists — ticking off candy bars, countries, and the capitals of those countries.

And in most accounts of people who have survived solitary confinement, you’ll find similar themes. They use their imaginations to challenge themselves, they meditate, they find some way to express themselves through writing or drawing, and they exercise.

They maintain a strict routine, which is very important since isolation makes you feel like you’ve lost control of your life. A routine establishes that feeling again. And perhaps more importantly, a lot of prisoners plan for the future. Not only would that make good use of your time in a survival situation, but again, it helps you feel like you have control again.

Make no mistake, social isolation is no joke. It can utterly destroy the mind. If you don’t take any measures to exercise your mind and body in a survival situation that leaves you all alone, then nothing else will keep you alive.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 21st, 2017
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How Do People Really Behave When Disaster Strikes? July 7, 2017

There are a lot of reasons why people prep for disasters, but there’s one reason that’s far more popular than the others. What people fear most when they think about what would happen if society collapsed, isn’t hunger, disease, or exposure. They fear what other people might do to them when the chips are down.They worry that members of their community might hurt or kill them to survive.

And though most preppers won’t admit it, I think most of us fear what we might be capable of in a bad situation. We don’t have to find out if we have enough food stocked up in our pantries.

However, it should be noted that there is an alternate view on what most people will do if society collapses. For historians who study disasters and social collapse, there is hope that people won’t automatically turn into savages if the grid goes down. A writer for Slate recently interviewed several experts on this topic, and here’s what they had to say:

Can this ray of sunshine be trusted? I’d love to believe it can be. I asked Scott Knowles, a historian of disaster, what historians and sociologists who study collapses and disasters have to say. His answer: It depends. “We help, and also we don’t,” Knowles said in an email to me.

Over the years, academic researchers have gone back and forth on the question. “This whole area of work really got going in the Cold War when defense planners wanted to model post-[nuclear] attack scenarios,” Knowles wrote. The Disaster Research Center at Ohio State University (which has since moved to the University of Delaware) “did the work over years to model community response, and they pushed back strongly on the idea of social collapse—they found instead too much of the opposite—people converge on a disaster scene!”

And there are countless examples of people being altruistic and coming together during disasters; perhaps even more so than examples of people turning on each other.

In a 1961 paper (unpublished until 1996), sociologist Charles Fritz laid out the case for this “contrary perspective” that disasters and other majorly stressful events don’t necessarily result in social breakdown and trauma.

Fritz, who had begun his observations of disasters while stationed in Britain during the Blitz, reported that during that time he saw “a nation of gloriously happy people, enjoying life to the fullest, exhibiting a sense of gaiety and love of life that was truly remarkable,” with Britons reaching beyond class distinctions, sharing supplies, and talking to people they had never spoken with before.

Marshaling sociological and historical evidence, Fritz recounts example after example of people pulling together in the middle of tragedy: black and white police and militia members uniting to maintain order during the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1878; enemies forgetting old quarrels during the German bombing of Krakow in World War II; community members reporting strengthened personal relationships with neighbors after the White County, Arkansas, tornado of 1952.

In general, researchers agree that people will try to form alliances and help each other.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If humans didn’t have an inclination towards supporting each other, then we wouldn’t have a sophisticated society to begin with.

However, I think we all know that there is a dark side to our species as well, and many of the examples provided by the author don’t reflect that. It is true that we are a social species whose members would rather work together to build a society, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t disasters which could easily bring out the worst in us.

The best example that comes to my mind, is the Siege of Leningrad during World War Two. For more than two years, the city was encircled by German forces who cut off all supplies to the city. This lead to the deaths of more than a million civilians, mainly due to starvation. And during that time there were thousands of people who were arrested for murdering others for their ration cards, or killing strangers and family members before cannibalizing them. And in most cases, these people were found to have no criminal records when they were caught.

Point being, there are disasters that will drive ordinary people to commit heinous crimes, and there’s a big difference between those incidents, and the disasters that don’t lead to massive crime waves. In most cases, a destructive event only leads to temporary disruptions to the supply of food, medicine and fuel. People are happy to work together, knowing that everything will return to normal in short order.

But on the rare occasion that a disaster disrupts the flow of goods and energy for months or years at a time, a significant percentage of the population will turn on their neighbors to survive. There’s a direct relationship between how desperate people are, and how far they’re willing to abandon their morality to keep themselves and their family fed, and that’s something that preppers should never forget.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published July 7th, 2017
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In a Disaster, Your Sense of Smell Is One of Your First Lines of Defense June 27, 2017

Just as the title suggests, you should follow your nose!  The nose is a highly-sophisticated “sensor” that we take for granted.  How?  We don’t put it to use!  Or, we allow enough time to pass in our lives where we do not use it as it was intended.  “What does this have to do with survival and happy prepping?” you may well ask.  A lot.  It has a lot to do with your survival and your betterment.  If you had a million dollars in cash, would you put it to use?  Either buy a few things you needed and save the rest or use some (or maybe even most of it) to make more?

Your nose is a “gift” that you have used but not learned how to maximize.  There’s a great book on the subject by a guy named Avery Gilbert, a PhD-holding scientist, and author who has conducted a lot of research on the nose.  The book is entitled, What the Nose Knows,” will give you some amazing facts and statistics based on studies conducted over a long period of time.

Basically, humans do have smell/scenting capabilities almost as good as a dog!  Is that not revelatory?  See, regarding tracking, it is “inconvenient” or “undesirable” for a man to crawl around on all fours and track prey using his nose.  But it can be done!  Studies in the book show that the key to man improving his use of already existing tracking capabilities via aroma is to develop those capabilities through constant practice.

There are some obstacles that get in the way throughout our existence.  Society is conditioned to not utilize the nose (except when it suits marketing purposes in the name of the almighty sales dollar).  Freud’s studies categorized the use of the sense of smell “primitive” and “undesirable,” as he viewed it as an obstacle to becoming a civilized member of society.

Yeah.  We’re “civilized” enough as a society to bomb whole populations out of existence, and to release toxins and chemicals into our environment under the guises of “progress” and “manufacturing,” that how dare we try to reconnect with a skill or sense given to us at birth?  How dare we utilize such a sense!  The outrage!  The nonconformity of it all!

It is a very necessary sense, the sense of smell.  In the survival reality TV show, “The Colony” (I highly recommend picking this up), an episode of the second season finds the principals involved in trying to take rotten meat and make it into fuel.  The people gagged and were sickened by the stench of the rotting meat when they first came upon it.  The show went into detail and explained that the very choking/vomiting/gagging reflex was the result of the olfactory processes causing the body to react to a smell that could be (and in this case, was) dangerously toxic to eat.

That sense of smell was crucial to keep someone from ingesting something that may cause death or serious illness.  Now the book’s author wrote that women have a better ability to differentiate smells than men…perhaps stemming back from the time that mankind was comprised of hunter-gatherers.  Women were primarily concerned with gathering roots, vegetables, and fruits, and their senses of smell had to be able to differentiate between what may or may not have been safe to eat.

Other obstacles include disease and illness over the course of a lifetime, as well as things such as smoking tobacco, exposure to fumes and vapors of chemicals, and generally polluted environments.  All of these factors have negative effects on the ability to smell and perceive odors and aromas.  How does this relate to you, as a prepper, survivalist, and “bearer of the torch of civilization” after the collapse?  Simple.  Why limit yourself by discounting or disparaging such an effective sense?  Develop it.  Practice going out into the forest, and identifying as many of the smells and aromas that you can.  Study your pets at home, and even the clothing of family members.  Each person has an aroma.  See if you can test yourself by telling what shirt belongs to what family member with your eyes closed.

How about this for you.  When I was in the service (and I did not smoke cigarettes), I could smell someone smoking from a distance of more than 100 meters from my position.  That’s about 300 feet.  You pick that kind of thing up.  You can also pick up the smells of human beings moving in a group…everything from smells of sweat and food to when they halt and relieve themselves.  Throw the abilities of doing this in with a grid-down, SHTF situation, or an invasion from a foreign power.  Do you get the drift?  You have the sense.  All you need to do is take some time to practice and develop it further.  Fight that good fight, and follow your nose as well as your instincts!  JJ out!


Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 27th, 2017
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