For those of you that don’t know, we specialise in jungle survival trips. Often, we’re asked the same questions by people interested in joining us out here in Guyana; “Do I need to be fit?”, and “how hard is it?” are very common queries.
In short, the respective answers are “it helps”, and “very”, but there’s a bit more to it than that. What exactly do we mean by fitness, and how do we define hard? Here, we turn our attention to an aspect of surviving that so often gets overlooked: the mental challenges.
Preparation is key. If you can practise certain techniques before your survival trip gets underway, you maximise your chances of thriving. Clarity of thought and level-headedness are common traits among all of the best survivors, but you can’t expect to be dumped in the jungle and immediately find it comfortable. Just as you wouldn’t be able to lift 100kg without any training, you’ll struggle to stay calm under intense pressure unless you’ve trained your brain beforehand.
Learning to ignore the things you can’t control will go a long way, while the ability to take a moment for reflection when you’re up against it could prove invaluable in those decisive moments.
What does mental training look like?
If you’re put off by the idea of saying “namaste” (see above), then fear not. We’re not trying to convert you into a hardcore yoga fiend; it’s not for everyone. There are, however, some simple exercises that anyone can perform wherever they are, just to start conditioning the brain a little:
- Meditation: again, this doesn’t need to be scary. It’s all about sharpening the senses. Plenty of apps exist these days that provide a great introduction to meditation, and we’d recommend trying a few to see what you respond to best.
- Breathing: just concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes, but allow it to do its thing. Try to shut off your other thoughts, and just acknowledge your breaths for a short while. One of the most helpful techniques for staying calm is to focus on something you know – and your breathing is exactly that. It will always be with you, and you’ll always have it to fall back on.
- Develop good habits: in other words, stick to a routine. This helps you to develop mental discipline, which is something you’ll need in abundance if you’re going to make it through a survival trip in one piece.
Performing these exercises once a day for just five to ten minutes can significantly improve your mental strength. It may take a while before you notice any difference, but perseverance is key. At the very least, if you’re ready to quit after a couple of short relaxation sessions, it’s hard to imagine you’ll stick with it in the depths of the Amazonian jungle!
Still not convinced?
It’s so common to overlook the mental side of things, especially when you know that other aspects of a task will challenge you too. We would recommend that anyone seriously considering a survival trip takes 5-10 minutes every day just to work that brain a little. Start slow, and you’ll be surprised at just how much difference it can make.
Ready to take on the challenge of a Bushmasters survival trip? Get in touch with us via email to enquire about our upcoming ventures.