The fear of PAIN!


Fear of pain is one of the major concerns an individual must cope with while in a survival situation . The possibility of survival with an injury can drive many people into inaction or limited action and negatively affect their will to survive and their ability to assist in their own rescue.

However pain, even in the most severe instances, can be somewhat control by the power of the mind. Researchers at Stanford University found that people could be trained to reduce their perception of pain using mental interventions coupled with visual feedback of the pain.

The team at Stanford found the following techniques to be the most effective for the diminishing of realized pain:

To shift attention from the area of pain to some part of the body furthest away from the painful area

To concentrate attention on something pleasant: favorite music, a good story, or recollection of pleasant experiences.

To relax using deep breathing and meditation techniques.

To re-calibrate the level of pain; rather than thinking of the pain as severe or debilitating, they thought of it as harmless, weak, or non-threatening.

To visualize soothing or healing processes at work on their pain.

To the survivor pain can be more dangerous than just the physical injury. According to a study published by PMREHAB Pain & Sports Medicine Associates in 2011 Depression/affective disorders were reported in 36% of patients who experienced pain.

To an individual in a survival situation using techniques such as those laid out in the Stanford research are not only doable but effective. Modifications may have to be made based on the situation but nevertheless they should be used. Techniques such as “concentrating attention”, for example, may be shifted from music and stories to focusing on keeping busy with the construction of a fire.

Another avenue may be to “visualizing” not only the healing process but also the treatment and care done during the situation or received upon rescue. This visualization can be an enhancement to the individuals overall PMA as it develops hope as well as relieving pain. Regardless of how the techniques are used and applied they should be done so continually to reduce the psychological ramifications of the injury.

This direct attack on an individual’s Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) must be understood and ultimately controlled if they intend on surviving an isolating event. The Will to Survive and PMA have seen people through life altering events since the dawn of time. Controlling pain is one method of increasing that PMA.

    Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at and if you have a need feel free to call!

USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.

Check out our website at

or send us a message at

Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN