Here’s the scenario: You walked further down that interesting-looking trail than originally planned and the sun is starting to set. An unsettled feeling in your stomach starts to get worse, and becomes a knot. The knot twists tighter as you look around. Ohhhh, nooo: I may be lost…
by Leon Pantenburg
For many of us, the first reaction might be to take off, rapidly, in the direction we came from. Maybe jogging would be a good idea. Then, despite your best intentions, you start to panic…
But think: STOP! Say it out loud if you have to, then remember what it stands for: Stop, Think, Observe, Plan.
This well-used old acronym, probably mentioned in every survival manual, should be embedded in your psyche. STOP is a survival mind-set exercise. Here’s how to use it. Follow these steps.
Stop: Unless it’s dangerous, quit moving and sit down. Breathe. Take a drink of water. Eat a snack. Stay put – you can’t think until you can focus your thoughts. Time yourself – take at least 30 minutes to let the adrenaline wear off.
Think: Assess your choices and the tools available. Do you have your 10 essentials and the
necessary survival gear along? Can you use them? Knowing you’re prepared for an unexpected night out can give you confidence and make you feel less afraid. This confidence could keep you from doing something stupid.
Observe: Take the surroundings into account, because this will affect what comes next. Is it getting dark? Is the temperature dropping or is the weather getting bad? These environmental factors must be considerations.
Plan: Based on your previous actions in this exercise, make an overall plan. Then make some immediate decisions and get going. Don’t expect anyone to help you, and don’t procrastinate.