Surviving Survival Mode – Part Two

Surviving survival mode 2

This article contains adapted excerpts from Beyond Divorce—Stop the Pain, Rekindle Your Happiness, and Put Purpose Back in Your Life, by Jeannine Lee. Reprinted with permission. Learn more about the book here. []

Suggestions For Surviving

Laurence Gonzales, in his book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why studied the thoughts and behaviors common to wilderness survivors. I have reframed those thoughts and behaviors below as suggestions to help you survive when you are disoriented by your breakup and your sense of stability is most fleeting. Notice the parallels between wilderness survival and your own situation.

  • Remain calm. Do not panic. Maintain control of your emotions.
  • Allow yourself only one thought: “What is my next correct action?”
  • Use any fear you have as sustenance. Let the energy feed action.
  • Proceed with great caution if the next step requires great risk.
  • Pace yourself. Rest often. Pushing too hard can cause emotional, mental, and physical fatigue that will require weeks or months of recovery.
  • Make a plan for the immediate future. Trying to plan too far ahead may elicit unwanted emotions. Survivors set small, manageable goals and systematically go about achieving them.
  • Do the best you can. Anything less than that will not get you through.
  • Know that you cannot change the world; you can only change yourself. Accept the reality in which you find yourself. Calm yourself and begin taking action.
  • Hold to a vision of what you want, what you have to live for. Use your imagination to create a compelling future that will draw you through.
  • Delight in small achievements and celebrate simple victories as they happen.
  • Look within yourself, not to your circumstances, for balance.
  • Pray. (Gonzales found those who survive pray even when they don’t believe in a god.) Faith is an important part of one’s will to survive.
  • Help other survivors. Helping another is the best way to ensure your own survival. It takes you out of yourself and helps you rise above your fears.

It may help to decide now which of these suggestions are most useful to you and implement them right away. See article three in this series for Coping Strategies that includes a simple exercise you can do right now.