Disadvantages of a survival group

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In a survival situation there are many decisions that need to be made. Probably one of the most important decisions is whether to go it alone or to be part of a survival group. I recently discussed the advantages of being in a group and what affects it had on your chances of survival. If you are still unsure whether to start planning for lone surviving or group surviving here is the other side of the argument with some disadvantages of survival group for your consideration.

In my opinion the biggest disadvantage of group surviving is having to trust every member of your group. It can be difficult to know who you can trust when all is well with the world – if you add the pressure and the stress of trying to survive a bad situation; it becomes even harder to pick out the trustworthy from the bad guys. All it takes is one wrong choice on a group member and it can lead to a whole world of trouble

Most preppers will agree on the importance of stealth i.e. moving quietly and remaining undetected by any potential threats. In a group this becomes a lot more difficult. A group will always make more noise than an individual, they will be seen easier and a group is likely to move slower.

One thing that you may overlook is people’s independence. What I mean by this is that although you may have a group of people who all agreed on everything in the beginning, there are no guarantees that all members of the group will continue to think the same as you. In a group you will always need to have your wits about you and remain alert just in case a group member decides they are better to go it alone but they are going to take your supplies first.

Food will always be rationed out throughout the group. Even if you go out, track, kill, gut and skin the meal – you still may only end up with a small amount of food for yourself once it has been shared equally. This can have a big impact on your morale as you could be working a lot harder than other members but still be given equal shares.

Equipment and survival gear will also likely be shared amongst the entire group. Whilst this can be a good thing for you – gaining some new tools that you might not have already had – my concern would be becoming separated from your group and then only having a small amount of gear to keep you alive.

Your group may be joined by strangers. This is a positive for the whole strength in numbers argument but how do you know what their intentions are? They may be friendly survivors who want to pull their weight within the group but they may be waiting for the opportunity to take your supplies and run.

If your group has families included then there is a chance there may be babies or young children within them. These can cause you big problems from a badly timed tantrum or crying episode etc. your safety could be compromised by something that is out of your control.

Living with the same people 24/7 with no other people to interact with can obviously cause some tension. A tiny disagreement between a couple of group members can quickly escalate into something that is too much for your group to handle. There is a real chance that a small argument could tear your group apart and leave you picking up the pieces of what’s left.

Whether you decide to be a lone survivor or part of a survival group, make sure you have a plan in place so you know exactly what you are doing. You are always going to have the biggest impact on your own survival so make sure you make your choices wisely and stick to what your plan.

Written by Rob Survival for UKSN

@realsurvivor1

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Methods of staying calm

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A key point in any survival situation is to remain as calm as possible. By doing so you improve your brains ability to process information and therefore make much better decisions which can ultimately be the difference between surviving or not. Staying calm and stress free in your everyday life can also have massive positive effects on your health and wellbeing. There are a number of very serious medical conditions that stress can lead to such as heart attacks and strokes. As prepping is all about surviving it makes sense to cut out as much stress as possible in your life. Here are some techniques that can help you keep your cool both in the short term as well as the future.

Simple breathing exercises:

There are a number of breathing techniques in stress management books and online. Each one will be more effective for some people than others. A lot of these techniques involve exhaling for longer than you inhale. By making your exhale longer you activate the vagus nerve which runs from your neck to your diaphragm. This nerve then sends signals to your brain telling it to increase your parasympathetic nervous system (controls your rest and relaxation responses) and to decrease your sympathetic nervous system (controls your fight or flight responses).

  • Sit or stand still in a comfortable position.
  • Take a breath in while counting to three.
  • Hold this breath for one second
  • Exhale while counting to six
  • Pause for one second
  • Repeat

The length of your inhaling and exhaling can be adapted to suit your breathing style. By stopping and breathing in this way for a few minutes you will be in a much more relaxed state ready to make those important survival decisions.

If you need to wake yourself up or create a very focussed mind-set then alternate nostril breathing may work for you. This technique is said to have similar effects to a cup of coffee and can leave you feeling energised ready to complete any challenging task.

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Place your right thumb over your right nostril and take a deep breath in through your exposed left nostril
  • Place your ring finger over your left nostril, release your thumb and exhale deeply through your now exposed right nostril
  • Repeat this for a few minutes

These two simple breathing techniques can help you out in a stressful situation. Their effects can be felt almost immediately when done correctly. However these effects may also be short lived and the techniques may need repeating several times to help keep you calm. Meditation can help keep you in a constant calm state.

Concentration Meditation

This can be challenging to start with but even if you only manage a couple of minutes of concentration meditation you are still likely to feel the positive effects. Start for a couple of minutes and then build up to an extended period of time.

Concentration meditation is simply focussing your entire mind on one single point. This point could be the flame of a candle, a single word that you repeat over and over again in your mind or a repeating sound. Your only goal is to focus on this one point; any other thoughts that enter your mind are thrown away – effectively nothing else exists apart from your focus point.

Mindfulness Meditation

This can also be challenging so, as with concentration meditation, start with a couple of minutes of this and build up your time spent in this mind-set.

Mindfulness meditation is the opposite of concentration meditation. Rather than focussing on one single point you allow your mind to wander. You allow any thoughts to enter your mind, however you do not get involved with or judge these thoughts, you simply make yourself aware that they are there and then move on to the next.

By creating a calm and balanced mind you will find that you are able to complete tasks that you think are challenging or scary in a very confident and composed manner. In a survival situation reacting to your environment is a huge part of making it out in one piece. Control your mind, stay calm and survive.

Written by Rob Survival for UKSN

@realsurvivor1

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Summertime essentials for the car

Imagine it’s a typical hot summers day, you are driving to work as normal and you notice the traffic ahead starting to slow down…”great another accident” you think. You come to a standstill, pinned in by other commuters and the motorway barriers. You look at the time, looks like you’re going to be late for work but hey at least the sun’s out! Half an hour later the traffic still hasn’t moved and people are starting to get restless, ties and being loosened and brows are getting sweaty. Word starts to trickle down the motorway that there’s been a major accident with multiple casualties, the whole roads been shut off. More time passes, you’ve been stuck in your car for 4 hours now and things are starting to really heat up! As you were late getting ready you skipped breakfast, this is catching up with you now. Dizziness starts to set in as you dehydrate due to the heat, you lose concentration and start to feel sleepy…

…thankfully the chap in the car next to you noticed the state you found yourself in! He was prepared and knew what to do to help you in your hour of need, a motorcycle paramedic was summoned and your life was saved!sweat-cleanse-1

Summertime car checklist:

  • Bottled water
  • Heat proof snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Battery operated fan
  • Sun cream
  • Change of light clothes
  • Sports drink (to replace lost salts)
  • Wet wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Dog bowl (if pet owner)
  • Jump leads
  • warning triangle
  • emergency cash

Stay prepared and enjoy the sun!

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Getting the kids outdoors!

Struggling to get your kids outside?

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It can be hard to achieve due to the trappings of modern life. Thanks to 24hr cartoons, tablet pcs and busy work schedules it can be hard to convince the children to leave the homes WiFi!

But don’t fret we at the UKSN are here to help!

There are many ways the seemingly unthinkable can be achieved. Firstly take some time to research what’s around you, look for local woods, footpaths around farms, rivers, etc. These areas can be turned into adventures that will be remembered for a lifetime!

  • Who doesn’t like pirates? Did you know that a certain ‘Captain Scraggly Beard’ buried some of his treasure in the local woods, and what’s more you have stumbled across his treasure map!!!!! Take some time once the kids have gone to bed to draw up said map with local features added to it, be sure to use the ‘tea bag’ trick to make the map look hundreds of years old and present it to your children to decipher. Once they have the lay of the land head out with them and try to find the treasure! Remember X marks the spot (where you buried some costume jewels). Good luck and watch out for captain Scraggly beards curse! Whooooooooooo!
  • Next how about a nature checklist? Spend half an hour typing up a checklist of local wildlife, add a points system to make it more competitive and head out into the wilderness with lists and a pen! Be sure to add a variety of creatures so that they really have to search them out! At the end of the day tally the scores and the winner gets a small prize! Who doesn’t like prizes!!!
  • Finally how about a wildlife safari! Grab some safari hats from eBay, binoculars, notebooks and magnifying glasses and head out into the wilds! Be sure to move stealthily through the woods and be on the lookout for animal tracks, droppings and the ever elusive mystic unicorn/bigfoot (gender dependent)! Be sure to encourage them to take notes and drawings of what they find.

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Hopefully these tips will help you get the monsters outside and into the wilds! All it takes is a little imagination and a little time. Get out there and have fun!

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