Welcome back to another post on Mental Preparedness!

This week I want to share about being mentally prepared in everyday situations, or Situational Awareness.

Some of these things have become so ingrained in my normal actions on a daily basis that I had to really think about what’s not necessarily “normal.” 

Things like my EDC, being hyper aware of my surroundings, using car & building windows to check behind me as I walk, locking my doors as soon as I get in the car, sitting with my back to the wall in cafes, and looking for exit locations as soon as I enter buildings.

I’m sure a couple of those things sound like military tactics, which are great to know even as a civilian. I honestly really enjoy having friends in the military that I can ask questions when it comes to this topic. 

Although I learned to check windows and sit with my back to walls at a young age, they came about through random means. In taekwondo, my instructor taught us how to stay aware of our surroundings and the best way to see if you’re being followed is by using reflecting objects. I learned a lot during my time there but this lesson stuck with me like a core memory. 
Plus, I wanted to be a secret agent growing up so this information joined my growing arsenal of spy knowledge.

The other part: I very much dislike people behind me if I’m standing still. Even in Sunday School as a child or on field trips, I always had to be at the back of the line to keep an eye on everyone. It’s a mixture of looking out for the group and making sure my six is safe.

In restaurants and cafes though, I have a need to subtly protect myself while my focus is either on my laptop while I work or the person I’m meeting with.

A couple other actions are standard practices for most women unfortunately. Depending on your situation or experiences, of course.

Living in Dallas, I learned to always lock my car door as soon as I got in. This tidbit was part of one of those long facebook posts saying something like “Women should always be careful!” Although, one of the other tidbits said to never have your hair in a ponytail because it’s easier to grab and my thought is, hair is easy to grab in any state. It always depends on how you fight back. But that’s another post for another day.

Also, if I ever felt unsafe while walking to my car, I would always call my Mom. (Moms are the best. Seriously!) 

Practice, practice, practice!

Whether you’re a man or woman, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where the exit is to a building you’re in is basic knowledge. Not wanting to be attacked from behind should be standard practice.

Have I ever been attacked from behind? Nope. But I’m on the lookout nonetheless. The day I’m not vigilant is the day it could happen.

Now, this is not to say I’m constantly living in a state of fear. On the contrary, I feel rather powerful by being aware. It’s almost as if I have the upper hand if anything were to happen because I’m ready for it.

Being mentally prepared for anything–and I mean anything–is half the battle.

No matter what size, age, or gender you are, if you don’t have a plan set in your mind for emergency situations, your body won’t be able to react properly.

I’ll be honest and share that I used to dislike thinking through scenarios of being attacked in any way, and I still don’t for the most part. But I don’t think about them the same way. If my attacker is ready to hurt me, they best be ready to get hurt in return.

Up until recent years, my tendency to react in scary situations was to freeze. Not fight or flight. Stand there frozen like a deer in the headlights waiting for the scary thing to pass.

Because of this, I had to take the time to mentally exercise my mind to prepare to fight back and/or run away when possible if a scary situation came up. In no way does freezing help. You give the attacker the upper hand if you do nothing.

What About You

I feel I must reiterate that I never want to instill fear in you. Fear may be the spring board to becoming ready but it should never be a forever state of mind.

Take some time to think through your day. 

  • Do you walk to work or school like I do? 
  • Do you park under lights if you have to go to the grocery store after dark?
  • Do you have both headphones in while you walk or jog?
  • Do you keep your phone put away until you make it to your destination?

And take some time to think through scary situations if you haven’t already. Not all at once, of course! You can even talk them through with a friend. Having someone on your side and helping you through the process helps your mental state as well.

Never live in fear!

Being situationally aware actually gives you freedom to live without fear because you’re prepared.

“To be prepared is half the victory.” -Miguel de Cervantes

Think about it: you’re already winning, friend! 

Until next time, Happy Prepping!