Psychological and Physical Survival – Part 1, by K.B. MD

The three parts of this article will describe:

  • Part 1 – Stress- Types and Tips
  • Part 2 – Disaster, Depression, Grief, and PTSD
  • Part 3 – Preventive Strategies

Part 1:

Everyone has experienced challenges in life such as illness, injury, bereavement, unemployment, financial loss, social dislocation, overwork, sleep deprivation, hunger, pain, cold, loss of power, civil unrest, etc. The chance of encountering some or all of the above skyrockets during times of prolonged disaster or TEOTWAWKI.  How will you or your loved ones, adults and children, fare during disasters? In reality, all of us will feel tremendous stress and over a third of us will be afflicted with a psychological condition (see Part 2). There will be no escaping it, and stress threatens survival by negatively impacting upon our emotional and  physical health. It even suppresses our immune system and makes us more susceptible to viral disease.

No one is immune to emotional stress, no matter how resilient we may think we are or how determined we may be to triumph over any situation. Eventually stress will manifest itself and can impact upon physical health even to the point of causing death. Consider a few of the possible results such as hypertension, unrelenting tachycardia (rapid heart rate), or myocardial infarction (heart attack). Remember that stress affects not only the individual but also reverberates throughout the entire household and community.

Today in Part 1, we will cover types of stress and begin to touch on tools and techniques for control.

Part 2 will discuss some of disaster’s effects such as depression, grief, and PTSD, while Part 3 will focus on numerous preventive strategies. While I am a licensed M.D., now retired disabled, I am not a psychiatrist and remind our readers that I am neither diagnosing nor prescribing. Please obtain prompt medical care from licensed practitioners as long as they are available.

This series covers information that may be helpful in the event of TEOTWAWKI and I invite our readers to share other positive tips that they may have, especially after careful study of the full 3-part series. While I encourage the reading of all 3 parts, the third section is especially important as a component of survival preparation which may make the difference between living and dying.

Types of Stress

I encourage you to take a look at the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, one for adults and another for children. These show us a point system for 43 life events. For example the death of a spouse is 100 points, dismissal from work is 47 points, and a change in financial state is 38 points. If one’s yearly total is 300 points or more, there is a definite risk of illness. This total and more could easily be reached during a prolonged disaster. Dr. Karl Albrecht published his model of four common types of stress in his 1979 book, Stress and the Manager. These are: time stress, anticipatory stress, situational stress, and encounter stress. There are other ways of subdividing stress, but we will now discuss Albrecht’s stress categories, with a TEOTWAWKI application.

Time Stress

After a disaster, chores will abound and there will not be enough time to accomplish them all.

Time stress will require prioritizing tasks and assigning them wisely to those best able to finish quickly. In order to avoid burnout, consider switching chores around to provide variety and change in type of work stress, both physical and emotional. Remind workers to stop, stand up, and take a few deep breaths when they feel pressured, if the situation permits. A lot more time if necessary and continue to encourage the group and promote a sense of supportive community.

Anticipatory Stress

Anticipatory stress is a result of real or imaginary fears. Make a list and deal with the most likely threats first. Be very practical about what can be accomplished and what is necessary. Unrealistic or imaginary threats must be set aside and dealt with by counseling if needed. Repetition of positive phrases and stopping negative thoughts can be helpful. If the worry is real, limit time devoted to useless worry and instead put that emotional energy into positive action after appropriate planning. Example: Person 1 is concerned about the present lack of clean water while Person 2 is afraid that her minor age son will be shot again after escaping the city and wants to build an earthen wall around the entire farm. Obviously, clean water takes priority, but what if Person 2 can’t stop worrying? Lacking a helmet and flak jacket for the child, have the parent verbalize the fear and devise a positive phrase that combats it such as: “He is here on the farm and is safe.” Each time the fear intrudes, repeat the positive phrase mentally and/or verbally. Prolonged stressful situations can result in fears and unusual expectations. Be ready to deal with them. I’ll have more about effective strategies in Part 3.

Situational Stress

Situational stress occurs when there is little or no control over one’s circumstances, especially those which are unexpected. In TEOTWAWKI, there will no doubt be a plethora of unanticipated challenges. What can we do? Well, of course, many people are increasing supplies and skills. That is great, but we will also need an excellent leadership structure plus help with controlling personal stress. Rare is the person who has the wisdom and experience to provide leadership in all areas. Each group/community will most likely need to delegate security/defense to one individual, health care to another, and agriculture/animal husbandry to a third, etc. The medical officer or spiritual leader will have to carefully observe the individuals and especially the leaders for signs of stress. I’ll have more on that in Part 2.

Encounter Stress

The last type is encounter stress meaning problems with interpersonal relationships. People often pull together very well the first week, but after that nerves can wear thin and tempers

flare. That is a time to definitely apply conflict resolution skills and to speak carefully to one another. Avoid “you” accusations and instead substitute “I feel” statements. Example, one is tired of mucking out the stables and is feeling picked on. Instead of saying, “You *always* have me shoveling s__t! I *never* get to do anything else!” try “I feel like I am the only one assigned to mucking out the stables. Could that duty be rotated?” Remember, avoid “you”, “always”, “never”, and substitute “I feel”. If a person is irrational with anger, let them read for 20 to 30 minutes to calm down. Consider the risk of unexpected additions of people to your group who may or may not be like-minded in faith, work-ethic, etc or who come with extra burdens of physical or mental illness perhaps even medication and/or substance abuse withdrawal to endure.

Volumes can be written about psychological stress and its effects and management. Today we touched kust the surface. I will continue tomorrow with Part 2 – Disaster Effects and Resultant Depression, Grief, and PTSD. The day after that we will conclude with Part 3 – Preventive Strategies which can make the difference between life and death.

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 2.)


  1. Interesting article. Very much looking forward to the other 2 installments.

    I would ad that much of what this author discussed, at least so far, could and should be applied to pre-TEOTWAWKI, too. Many of the points of view that tell us to be afraid come from the media. There is no shortage of stories that tell us why we should be afraid.

    For the new-comers, this could be over-whelming. For those who have been practicing survival for a good bit, I wonder if many of us are worn-out on the fear based narratives? Either way, I do think much of what K.B. talked about has more use for pre-TEOTWAWKI than post.

    1. Good pts Muddykid. In my early years of prepping, I read many fear-based articles. One survival website, in particular, was mostly fear-based articles, & I quit reading it & prefer more positive, practical how-to type of articles now. Fear can paralyze or discourage a prepper. We need to read/hear that while survival will be challenging, it is possible to survive & hope for a better or restored community & worldview.

      1. Red C, you speak wisely. I applaud your good judgement dropping the “fear/gloom and doom site”. That kind of reading is corrosive to mind and spirit.

        Yes sir, it is possible to survive.

        Carry on

    2. A little bit of fear can be motivating. Too much can be paralyzing.

      One of the concerns we have is that EVERYTHING has been turned into an emergency and so nothing is recognized as an emergency. It’s a statement made with a broad brush, we know. …and of course this is not necessarily true for those who are more discerning, and those whose physical and emotional foundations are stronger.

      The classic example used in our own conversations is related to constant national news alerts on reports that really shouldn’t be national news at all. Bringing people to a state of heightened alert all the time and at every moment diminishes the important value of bringing people to this place when it’s actually important (and life-saving to do so).

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

      1. Telesilla of Argos,

        Fully agree with your comment.

        “One of the concerns we have is that EVERYTHING has been turned into an emergency and so nothing is recognized as an emergency.”

        This is so true, and a topic discussed by many high-level scholars. Without going into too much detail, this is done because it is profitable.

  2. THanks for this article, K.B. Based on my personal experience, I’ve come to believe that there’s a strong relationship between my physical & emotional health. When my body has been relatively well, it lifts my spirits & feelings tend to be more positive. & vice versa – When I’m having physical pain/aches, my emotions are more likely to be negative, depressed, etc. Sleep is part of that too. So this series on how our psychological & physical health will be affected in survival situations, will be helpful.

  3. An excellent topic, and an important one. We agree with Muddykid that much of this should be practiced pre-TEOTWAWKI under conditions that are less stressful than those that will be faced post-TEOTWAWKI.

    Prepare in earnest. Bolster your ability to support your physical needs. Foster, develop, grow and deepen your faith. Breathe deeply, and make an appropriate place and space for your feelings (and need for physical rest or reprieve) even if or as you face difficult times, and great challenges.

    We can do this. All of us.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  4. One can handle a great deal of stress if gradually introduced increasing amounts. Without the proper condition and mind set, one can be taken by surprise and be overhwelmed. We should not fear stress, but realize that constant daily stress for long periods of time, where one feels that they have no control and no relief, can effect one’s health.

    And to comment on some stressful current events:

    Coronavirus: Time To Prepare Is Running Out, Chris Martensen

    Mike Adams starts at 39 minutes, ends 1 hour, 15 min..

    Joel Skoulsen starts at 1 hour, 35 minutes.

    Mike Adams article:

    “Today we have two more confirmed infections in California, plus the State of Washington just released over 200 people from “observation” but has tested none of them for the coronavirus.

    We now believe the CDC may be ordering U.S. states to halt all testing. This is how the pandemic is going to be covered up as it spreads across California, Washington and Hawaii.

    Once it’s bad enough that the deaths can no longer be denied, the entire media will sound a red alert on the same day and claim “It’s Trump’s fault” that we weren’t told sooner.

    This whole thing is a “Trump trap” being played with the lives of innocent Americans…”

    Oxygen Delivery Devices and Flow Rates Chart

    Very enlightening. Some oxygen delivery methods such as a certain masks, vs nasal cannula, and different flow rates deliver higher concentrations of oxygen than others. For example, an oxygen accumulator may have a maxium out put of 6 liters/min may deliver 40% oxygen when a nasal cannula is used. If a Partial Rebreathing Mask, and 6 to 10 liters/min is applied, up to 80% of the oxygen is delivered to the patent. In other word, use a rebreathing mask to deliver the most oxygen that the accumilator might generate.

    “This oxygen delivery devices and flow rates chart shows how many oxygen percentages delivered according to the different flow rates. The percentage of oxygen inspired depends on the flow rate and the delivery device”

    1. Check into a non rebreather masks that will get more of the oxygen, that an oxygen accumulator produces, into the patient.  Perhaps as much as 50% more. Spend $5.00 on a mask, and get perhaps 50% more oxygen. It is a very cost effective investment.

    2. I’m sorry I truely disagree. The covid19 is just over blown. It has yet to gain any traction out side of China as far as infections go. So far it’s infectivity is approaching 2% it’s lethality is dropped into single digits when applied world wide.

      It’s infectivity on the cruise ship didn’t break 25% and that was an enclosed environment.

      To put it this way legionnaires when introduced to a cruise ship will push into on average 30%

      Not only is it more deadly it is much more rare. But out in the wild open spaces it’s a non factor because it’s infectivity is so low. This makes it rare enough I’m sure the majority of readers don’t know what it is beyond its name and associated cruise ship \ hotel out breaks.

      The covid19 is a false scare

      1. Honestly we do not know and are forced to base our estimates on educated guesses, and common sense. Unfortunately common sense ain’t so common any more. The prestidigitation of the Chicoms is infamous, yet most authoritative sources are basing their analysis on numbers provided by China, and data sets that are incomplete, and not useful for projections. By playing it safe and sticking with the *offical* numbers, I believe they do humanity a disservice. It would be better to make no comment, rather allow the public to be lulled into complacency.

        The WHO is not our friend either, and the CDC has taken the policy of no testing, so that they have nothing to report. No tests, no pandemic, no panic. There are lies, darn lies, and statistics! Perhaps they have taken this approach because they do not wish to cause panic? Or because they are simply incompetant and did not anticipate the high likelihood of a future pandemic? Isn’t that suppose to be their business? Yet they have no test kits?

        Unabated, this virus is stealthily spreading due to it’s mundane symptoms that can misinterpreted at the flu, or cold. It may present within a few days, or remain hidden and asympotmatic for up to 27 days. So it spreads unnoticed, and spreads at a exponential rate, doubling in the cities at a rate of about every 3 or 4 days or faster. In Korea, where they have test about 128,000, the virus appears to be doubling ever day! In stark constast, the CDC only tested 600 returning from China. They did not test the over 300,000 Chinese returning to the U.S. from the Chinese New Years holidays in where, China!. No testing, no problem.

        In a few weeks, or perhaps a month, or so, the hospitals could be suddenly overwelmed, and then the rest of country will realize that it is indeed real, and deadly. We will either be prepared, or we will not. I would use this advanced knowledge, and early warning to double down on the preps. We may or may not get lucky, and have another chance. Perhaps an early and warm spring, and then summer will slow this thing down, yet it will remain in the population, and run rampent once again in the fall. Frankly, I ain’t taking no chances.

  5. Hey Dr. K.B, excellent article, looking forward to the rest.

    On the Karl Albrecht book you linked, one of the reviewers said: “One thing caught my attention – he said that stress is perception. Wow! You may face a situation in which there’s pressure, but stress in your head, i.e., most stress is self-inflicted.”

    That definitely describes my problem. 🙂

  6. Re: Anticipatory stress

    If you’ve never had the pleasure of riding out a hurricane, the worst part is the waiting for the storm to hit. With modern early warning, there is a long period of dread now while you sit and wait for the storm to hit or miss.

    When you first get in the window, there is much to be done. Remove possible projectiles, board windows, fill water containers. During the storm you’re riding it out. Waiting to see if the power goes out or trees fall, or the road floods. After the storm you clean up if hit, or go back to normal operations if missed.

    It’s that bit of waiting for the storm that’s the worst.

    1. So true about the hurricane… I describe it as being a pin and watching the bowling ball come down the lane at you. The disruption of routine with all the prep work is a huge pain. Stupid hurricanes!

  7. I’m sorry I truely disagree. The covid19 is just over blown. It has yet to gain any traction out side of China as far as infections go. So far it’s infectivity is approaching 2% it’s lethality is dropped into single digits when applied world wide.

    It’s infectivity on the cruise ship didn’t break 25% and that was an enclosed environment.

    To put it this way legionnaires when introduced to a cruise ship will push into on average 30%

    Not only is it more deadly it is much more rare. But out in the wild open spaces it’s a non factor because it’s infectivity is so low. This makes it rare enough I’m sure the majority of readers don’t know what it is beyond its name and associated cruise ship \ hotel out breaks.

    The covid19 is a false scare

    1. j.m.z.b. ~ The Wuhan Flu might NOT be as dangerous as some people imagine. … It’s all conjecture, until there is more verifiable information occurring in Free Societies; particularly within the USA medical community.

      1. Right now the Wuhan Flu is being dealt with by most governments, as though the Wuhan Flu has the potential to become a very dangerous pandemic.
      2. Tunnel Rabbit has taken upon himself to provide information about the Wuhan Flu, and the possible techniques to stay safe and NOT catch the Wuhan Flu.
      3. Any Flu is potentially dangerous to A. The Old, B. the very Young, C. and the chronically Sick.

      Besides all the information from Tunnel Rabbit, Survivalblog also has an excellent article titled: ~Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic~ The article is permanently linked under the resource heading.

      I read on the Internet; there is now conjecture, that the Fake News and other political opponents are ~hyping the dangers of the Wuhan Flu, in order to try and blame President Trump for any Flu deaths. [Orange Man doing a bad job; he doesn’t care about anyone but the rich!]
      …… From the Internet: “Mitt Romney accused Trump of being unprepared for possible coronavirus outbreak.” & “Under Trump, America is less prepared for a coronavirus outbreak. The coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan, China, last year is causing alarm across the world, with fear that this could become the next pandemic.” >This one from the Clinton News Network.

      It’s all conjecture at the moment, about how bad the Wuhan Flu will affect the USA and the rest of the world. … We do know with certainty that China has stopped exported N95 masks at the moment. … China is also the source of many medicines and the ingredients for medicines, plus medical items.
      It seems the Orange Man was right, when he campaigned on bringing the Manufacturing Industries back to the USA.

      Survivialblog has good information about needed preps for emergencies. A good water filtration system should be a basic item. Stay with Survivalblog for up to date information.

      1. February 25, 2020 = “CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Billionaire left-wing donor Tom Steyer told reporters in the spin room after the Democrat debate Tuesday evening that the coronavirus proved President Donald Trump was “incompetent.”

        “He’s incompetent … He’s unprepared in terms of the coronavirus to deal with the real world when things go wrong,” Steyer said. “He’s incompetent and bad for the American people.”

        “The Trump administration’s response to the threat of coronavirus has come under increasing scrutiny in recent days. Though there have been no U.S. deaths as of yet, and several dozen Americans who contracted the illness abroad have been quarantined, public health officials are now warning that the country needs to be prepared in the event of a larger outbreak.”
        [From Breitbart]
        People should be ready to encounter the worst of possible events, [and pray for the best outcomes.]
        The FAKE NEWS and their cronies want the destruction of the USA as we know it. Is the Wuhan Flu being hyped or is it a possible pandemic.?

  8. Philippians 4:6-9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is [b]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, [c]dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

  9. Looking forward to the next installments of this article.
    It is of interest to me as full time caregiver of my parents with Alzheimer’s. I’m under a tremendous amount of stress in this role.
    For others of you that may be in this situation I have found some articles on that deal with what they call caregiver burnout and the signs to look for
    I was shocked to see that I am showing some of the symptoms and now make it a point to be more aware of my stress and making sure I eat properly and definitely sleep is something that I make sure I am getting enough as I recognize the value in it.
    I do worry a lot about caring for Mom and Dad if the SHTF.

  10. Our best thought is to take every measure possible NOT to contract COVID-19, understanding that this may be exceedingly difficult. Be aware that the our medical system simply does not have the resources to care for the numbers of people we’re potentially talking about with this illness. Every day forward that each of us remains well is a day closer to more information about effective prevention and treatment — and survival.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  11. 3700 total people on board.
    Less than 1000 infections (838) as of the 23

    Thus far only 2 people have died (both in thier 80’s)

    So let’s see using the ship as our best control for numbers….

    That’s 22% infection rate.

    Death toll

    .2% of the infected.

    Not very scary numbers.

    Now let run this on the total population of china

    China total population was 1,435,000,000

    So that’s (even using the high number from a confined space like cruise ship)

    Infected 315,700,000 with

    Deaths 753,460 at maximum

    So that’s roughly 5% of the population.

    So for the USA that’s ..

    16,450,000 maximum dead.

    And keep in mind that is all based on these numbers being in a cruise ship shared air close contact prison style setting which is optimum virus growth and spread.

    So yeah it’s a don’t worry situation.

    Keep in mind that if your worried about the economy falling because of 5% deaths our unemployment it at

    3.6% so nearly that many people already are sitting at home doing nothing might as well be dead as far as the economy is concerned (the economy is cold numbers)

    As far as the likelihood of YOU catching it goes. …

    How often do you get a cold or the flu or bronchitis?

    That answers your worry factor for this

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