Stress – Graduated Response
Today, I want to give you more detailed information about the ongoing theme of warrior mindset, which I have presented through several articles on the free and paid sites. Being a good prepper calls on you to make plans and good decisions that get you to where you want to be as you prepare for the worst of the worst situations. Surely, such planning is accompanied by stressful considerations as you budget your resources and continue to plan. Stress is the area I want to cover today, but not the stress you’re feeling as you continue to make and develop your prepper action plans. The stress I’m discussing is what happens in a real life and death situations. This stress is one that’s the most difficult area for a prepper to train for, as it’s difficult to reproduce hormonal, fear-induced stress, especially if you are training yourself. You’re likely asking yourself, what is this hormonal fear stress he’s talking about? Let’s examine stress through your heartrate and define it as this; an effect on heartrate elevation due to increased hormonal and fear factors. Now you’re thinking, I exercise and get my heartrate up all the time but let’s first be clear on this fact, higher heart rates or beats per minute (bpm) elevated through physical training is NOT the same as high bpm caused by stress situations.
The difficulty in reproducing stress in a controlled environment involves a stress-inducing situation that mimics reality, which is commonly referred to as reality-based training. Reality-based training’s main goal is to simulate similar conditions of a situation that induces fear responses or causes stress. This was highly realized within the law enforcement community, where range training was failing to reproduce stress and the chaotic reality a gunfight presents. While training scars from the standard qualification shoots and mandated training was the norm, there was nothing that allowed for reality- based training until simmuniations were introduced. Now, paint projectiles fired from the same weapon systems the users were accustomed to added a reality-based component to the training. This is an important consideration as you venture out and start to spend your hard-earned money on training. Make sure there is a reality-based training component included, no matter what you are doing. What if you’re not able to afford off-site training? Well, my friends you must look within yourself and in your family member’s natural phobias. This can be accomplished by many methods and is somewhat dependent on the individuals involved in the training and, of course, what training you are conducting. Are you doing survival training? Firearms training? Medical training? Movement drills? No matter what it is, there’s always a way to introduce individual fears or phobias.
A few examples that may be a bit too complicated for your use, yet are worth mentioning just to get you thinking outside the box are a few examples of things I have done in the past. I’ve used K-9’s to induce stress in a training session in a class with Arab Muslims, which for the most part, Arabs are extremely uncomfortable around dogs. Their fear is more of a cognitive fear, taught at childhood that dogs are dirty and dangerous. This fear remains with many of them and while some do get over it, most never do. Anyone confronted with a working dog barking and getting ready to bite you will exhibit some level of fear. By using this phobia, I could present a barking K-9, on lease just in the general area of the individual. This immediately shoots their stress heart rate up to a considerable level 115-145 or higher; some may even exceed 175 bpm, which we’ll discuss next.
You see below a cartoon explaining a new color code that goes beyond Colonial Jeff Coopers four colors (White, Yellow, Orange and Red). This color addition comes from Lt Colonial, Dave Grossman (2008) in his book called On Combat. I highly recommend this book as an addition to your reading material. Grossman adds more definition to Cooper’s colors with the inclusion of two more colors to understand how our stress-induced heartrate adversely affects outcomes, or how controlling it can place us at our highest functioning level.
Another commonly shared phobia is interpersonal aggression. Most people hate human aggression and when confronted with this (yelling, anger, and other methods) will cause a stress bpm increase and put the recipient at least in the Red (115-145 bmp). Grossman discusses this in detail and may be more than you need to know; however, it’s important for you, as a prepper, to understand this and mentally prepare your personal and family member’s warrior mindset. Understanding the truth is a better way to prepare for it. You as a prepper understand this concept, knowing is better than not knowing; furthermore, it has been proven that knowing something bad is coming is better than not knowing (at least on laboratory mice- squeak!). The warning provides a mental and physical preparation stage, which assists the body in handling the stress. I encourage you to read more on this in Grossman’s book.
So, let’s next discuss the picture above and define the two-color additions. I’m sure many of you have heard these described by others and it is understood that many people use and borrow one another’s mindset concepts, so don’t be alarmed if someone else told you they came up with this. The new colors that preceded White, Yellow, Orange and Red are Grey and Black. Grey is when your stress heart rate rises above 145 bpm but remains below 175. You guessed it; Black is anything above 175 bpm where all function is lost. The proven optimal survival and warrior performance level is 115 to 145 bpm, which correlates with Cooper’s Red designation. So, when you allow your stress to rise above 145 you’ll start to shed complex motor skills, visual reaction time, and cognitive reaction time. Yet, the marvelous human body continues to function, just not as well, and will have a higher tendency to making mistakes. As we enter Black, at and above 175 bpm, we can lose all gross motor skills, you may not be able to run or even walk. You start to demonstrate submissive behavior and may freeze in place, lose all bladder and bowel control, and become totally irrational in your decision-making ability, to include fight or flight (this is why my wife freezes up and colorfully swears at me every time I jump from behind a door or a dark corner with a loud, BLAAAAAHHH!)
So, what we have learned is that hormone and fear-based stress can have a major effect on our actions and how well we can function. I think this illustrates how important understanding your stress level in an emergency is; furthermore, you may now have a deeper understanding for the importance of training to meet this stress. There is an additional article on stress inoculation, which spells out how to get better at preparing yourself and your loved ones for what the real world can bring. Gotta get my wife to read that, too. Stay alert and stay alive…