Are you prepared for anything that happens?
Situational awareness is one of the most important aspects of self defense. You can take all the professional self defense courses, but if someone catches you unawares, you might not be able to fight back as well. So, how do you become more aware of your surroundings?
Below, we'll go into our top tips for staying aware, no matter where you are. Keep reading so you can keep yourself safe when needed!
Identify the Objects Around You
When was the last time you walked around and noticed your surroundings?
One of the best ways to become more aware of your surroundings is to practice identifying the objects around you. It serves two useful purposes. First, you'll start noticing more. Second, if anything does happen, you'll know where you can run for help.
Keep doing this until you start doing it without meaning to. That way, you'll start noticing more about your environment no matter where you go.
Notice the People
As you're starting to identify the objects around you, take a look at the people, too. What kinds of things are they doing?
Ask yourself if you can predict what they'll do next, and then see if you're right. Learning to predict actions in a consistent manner comes in handy when you're trying to identify suspicious behavior. It develops your confidence in your instincts and helps you determine when something is out of the ordinary.
If you think you see something, don't hesitate. Take the appropriate actions before the situation escalates.
Identify Entrances and Exits
When you get to a new location, take a moment to identify every entry and exit point. If possible, do this every time you enter a new room.
This saves time in the midst of an emergency. If you know where the entrances and exits are, you can get out of the situation faster. You may also have the opportunity to direct other people out of danger as well.
But what if a room doesn't have clearly-marked exits, or you're in a complex building? Try to remember which way you came in. Look for little markers that tell you you're going the right way, such as a piece of art or furniture.
Don't Distract Yourself
Attackers target people who seem vulnerable in some way. For example, they might be more likely to go for someone who is walking while looking at their phone or wearing headphones.
If you're walking alone, don't distract yourself. Resist the urge to listen to music or podcasts and wait until you're in a safe location to text your friends.
But what if you're nervous about walking alone and need to keep a trusted person up-to-date on your location? If you have a smartphone, try sharing your location. Apps such as Find My Friends allow you to give friends permission to see your location. When you share where you are, you don't have to worry about updating them.
Instead, you can keep your attention on walking in a safe manner.
Maintain Your Vigilance
It can be tempting to let your mind wander while you're getting from place to place, but you shouldn't do that. Instead, you should maintain your vigilance.
How do you keep your mind from wandering? It might be difficult at first. When you catch yourself drifting off in thought, try practicing object identification and noticing people. If you walk somewhere often, you can also pick out certain landmarks. When you see them, remind yourself to focus on staying aware.
Trust Your Instincts
Have you ever wondered whether trusting your gut is good advice?
As it turns out, it is. In fact, there's a scientific reason behind the gut feelings you get. The enteric nervous system consists of neurons and neurotransmitters. One of these types of neurons, called viscerofugal neurons, sends information from your gut to your brain. When something seems off but you can't quite put your finger on it, your gut picks up on it.
It then sends a signal to the brain, and you have the chance to take the appropriate actions. So, you should put trust in your instincts.
Plus, it's safer to take action and be wrong than to not take action and have something happen.
Anticipate Potential Issues
Do you know your route really well? Have you ever identified any potential safety issues?
If you have, consider your alternatives. See if you can take another route. If you must take that way, consider carrying pepper spray or another form of protection.
In fact, many people find it helpful to carry pepper spray when they're out in public. You can buy discreet cans of pepper spray to carry either in your hands or pockets.
Don't Get Fatigued
Fatigue inhibits your ability to react quickly to the situations around you. As such, you need to ensure you remain as awake as possible when you're out and about.
To do this, make sure you get plenty of sleep each night.
Watch Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol interferes with your ability to make good judgments. If you drink too much, you won't be as aware of your surroundings, and you might make worse decisions if you get into a bad situation.
So, while it can be fun to go drinking, only get drunk when you're with people you trust.
Go Beyond Staying Aware of Your Surroundings
Staying aware of your surroundings is an essential part of keeping yourself safe.
By following the advice above, you'll start noticing the world around you as you navigate it. This will allow you to anticipate dangerous situations before they happen.
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