Survival Mindset: Trust your Gut

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One of the fascinating stories that came out of the recent East Coast earthquake was how the animals in the National Zoo in Washington seemed to sense danger.  Five to ten seconds before the actual earthquake hit, orangutans and gorillas interrupted their foraging and ran to shelter; some shrieked, or raced to higher ground.  Flamingos huddled together; even snakes started writhing wildly.   Zookeepers could tell the animals reacted several seconds before anyone started feeling the shaking.

Animals have a sixth sense that protect them from danger and so do we.  We use different terms to describe it:  some call it intuition, or gut feeling or inner voice.  Whatever you may call it, I believe we should trust our gut.

How do you know what IT is?

  • A real gut feeling manifests itself physically:  you get a feeling in your midsection, like a knot, or the hairs in the back or your neck prick up.
  • You tend to be calm when you get this feeling.  Unlike an an anxiety attack, there is no fear attached to intuition.
  • After you make a decision after having trusted your instinct you feel even calmer and somehow lighter, like a weight is lifted off you.

How do you develop it?

I believe that experience has a lot to do with developing your gut instinct.  Just like working out your muscles, you can strengthen it by using it.  Pay attention to your surroundings, using your keen senses to experience what’s around you.  When faced with a decision, even minor ones, pay attention to how you feel about your choices.  Notice if your thoughts are negative or positive about certain things.  We’ve all met people we’ve instantly like or disliked.  Oftentimes, there is a good reason why these intense feelings come over you, and you prove yourself right.

In relation to survival, trusting your gut is a big part of the survival mindset.  I am not saying blindly make an “on the spot” decision.  I still believe you should consider all angles, make a knowledgeable choice

For example, you are about to walk in an elevator and someone walks in with you that you get that “funny feeling,” would you continue walking into that elevator?  Or, based on the information at hand, you know you can walk away and catch the next elevator, no harm done.   Many rape or crime victims who were interviewed after the fact admit that they later regret they did not listen to that “little voice” or they second guessed themselves.  If you turn out to be wrong, then all  you did was waste a little time or appeared to be paranoid.  So what?  The life you’re saving could be your own.

Whether it’s to make an important decision, such as changing jobs, or moving locations, or even deciding to bug out when the time comes, I think we should take into account all factors involved, review the pros and cons, then trust our own intuition to lead us to make the right choice.


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  1. Good points. When I have listened to my gut, I have rarely made the wrong decision. And even then, in hindsight, the ones I think were wrong may not be; it’s hard to say at this point in my life. There are a lot of documented cases out there where survivors listened to their gut, it is definitely a survival skill I think. I don’t see too many preppers posting about this.
    Thank you!

  2. I have found that moving toward a simpler life has helped fine tune those gut feelings that you speak of. There are many books that explore how to get in touch in the inner self – and taking the time to step away from the glitz and glamour of daily life by taking walks and exploring nature helps a lot.

    The other thing is to keep an eye on your pets. They can sense not only earthquakes but also bad buys before they even approach your door.

    — Gaye

    1. Good point about watching the pet behavior Gaye, they sure sense danger sooner than we do. Moving toward a simpler lifestyle is also a goal of mine, not quite there yet, being in the big city, but I do try to simplify wherever I can. Thanks for the comment!

  3. The book “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell explains, in a very entertaining way, how our unconscious mind makes snap decisions based on minimal information (generally of what we see or hear) that we take as intuition or “a funny feeling”. I suppose in the case of animals knowing an earthquake is about to happen they are feeling vibrations or smelling changes in the air.

    1. Hi Diana, I have heard of the book “Blink” but have not read it. Sounds like a good book for me to read. Thanks!

  4. Gavin DeBecker wrote a great book all about this, and a very easy read, called The Gift of Fear. There is also a follow up book for parents about protecting children, called Protecting the Gift. His point throughout is that too often we are distracted from our guts and what we really know, and really fear, by the constant barrage of media that tells us (wrongly) what to be afraid of.

    1. Hi Lynn, I need to read these books as well. I will admit to causing my children a small degree of fear as a way to protect them. I know it goes against the current way of thinking but I do believe there are things we need to be wary of, and not go forth haphazardly. Thanks!

      1. I agree, two very good books by Gavin de Becker. His childhood story is awful, and probably the reason he grew up to become a bodyguard to the stars, and security specialist, and a popular author. I remember when he did the talk show circuit.

        Don’t feel sheepish about creating fear in your children about the big, bad world. I was an only child – you wouldn’t believe the precautionary advice I got from my parents! Yet, I managed to go out into the world like a normal person. lol.

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