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Staying Self-Aware In Public Spaces: A Guide

By August 13, 2019 No Comments
Self awareness

When it comes to one’s personal safety, self-awareness and the awareness of one’s personal surroundings becomes paramount to personal safety. Self-awareness is a valuable skill to possess. Knowing where you are going to be or what you are going to do and how you might respond in any given situation can help you avoid unsafe situations and remain vigilant in public spaces. 

Self-awareness refers to this understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, emotions, and tendencies, in turn, making you better prepared for situations that can threaten your security.  People with low self-awareness don’t realize how they are perceived by others and thereby often lack the confidence to defend themselves when they find themselves in difficult situations. 

Crimes occur unexpectedly and at no specific circumstances, any one of us can be a victim of a robbery, assault or any other such malicious circumstances at any given point in our lives. It becomes of prime importance to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, so as to be on your guard at all times. 

Most attackers or criminals want to attack targets that won’t retaliate. They want to be able to attack an individual, obtain what they need and leave the scene, anything that tampers with their ability to commit a smooth crime will discourage them and most often, these criminals will not attack. How you choose to carry yourself with the clothes you wear or your body posture and walking style can all act as cues an attacker can use to target you.

Walking fast and with a straight posture gives viewers the idea that you are confident, this confidence is exactly what a potential attacker will steer clear from. Make eye contact with any individual that makes you nervous rather than looking away or at your mobile phone. This makes them understand that you are prepared for any attack. 

Technological advancements have decreased the time emergency services take to reach you and respond to your worries. This being said, most task forces take close to ten minutes to reach the scene of the incident. This is enough time for a possible attacker to injure you or those you love. In this scenario, being self-aware means being able to take responsibility for your safety. Learning the fundamentals of self-defence, for example, can help prepare you in case of an attack by fighting off the attacker. Being light on your feet and knowing how to defend yourself properly can improve your safety in almost all scenarios. Hitting the gym regularly and joining self-defence training clubs is a great way to stay fit and in shape and improve your fighting skills. It will also give you a boost in confidence, which can further deter would-be attackers from potentially attacking you.

Another important thing to remember is to not get carried away by our phones and the things they offer us. In a tech-obsessed society, most individuals have become entirely dependent on their smartphones. Unfortunately, our technological addiction is often the cause of many accidents and personal injuries. According to a recent study, more than 250 people have died taking selfies. Countless pedestrians have stepped into oncoming traffic with headphones in their ears and faces glued to their phones. These alarming statistics all point to one obvious reality, that we have become dependent on our phones and forget to pay heed to the real world and the challenges it throws at.

While the technology we subscribe to has now inevitably made us safer in many ways, it’s also a serious distraction. These distractions can make us forget about where we are, what we’re doing, and how to properly respond to dangerous situations. You don’t need to shun all digital devices and lead a completely analogue life either. It just helps to disconnect from digital spaces and to understand what is happening around you and how to react to unfavourable events. Finding the perfect balance between virtual spaces and reality is a necessity. 

The ability to read people who you don’t know is paramount to your safety. Often, there is a certain interval of time before a malicious event where the event can be avoided completely if you know what to do. For example, looking for cues in an individual’s body language that signify increasing levels of anger can help you to understand a threat is imminent and thereby nullify it at the root. Balled fists, Redness of the face, eyes staring at the target, and the closing of distance between the person and the target are all cues to look out for.

It also helps to know how your own body language is perceived. The nonverbal cues you’re sending out could be making the situation worse. People have a tendency to mirror the other person’s body language unconsciously. By mirroring a person’s aggressive signals or action, you could be unknowingly escalating the situation beyond control. Staying calm and taking deep breaths can play wonders in such situations.

Another mistake people often make and a commonplace amongst most victims is that they aren’t in the right state of mind. To remain completely self-aware in public spaces, it’s best to avoid suppressants or other mind-altering substances like alcohol Studies have repeatedly shown that alcohol can significantly lower a person’s self-awareness and self-control along with basic cognitive processes. In fact, alcohol not only dulls one’s ability to perceive threats but also their ability to respond to said threats. According to a study from researchers at the University of Illinois, participants who were given alcohol had a reduced reaction to threat signals.

This lowered response is believed to be caused by alcohol’s effect on the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex of the brain – two areas which control our fear perception and response. If it isn’t possible giving up alcohol completely is not an option, at least take precautions beforehand. Always go out with someone you trust, tell others where you’re going, and have someone accompany you wherever you go. Have a designated emergency contact, know where you’re headed and don’t trust strangers. 

All said and done, attacks can happen at any time from anywhere and it becomes important to understand that these events are unpredictable. Xboom’s Self-defence products are the perfect helping hand to protect you in times of threat or when malicious individuals seem to lurk around. From Stunguns to Batons to trackers, Xboom offers a plethora of tools for your self-defence needs. Safety is a personal choice and above all, a need. The law merely acts as a forum for justice and thus it becomes important to understand that the first step of action with respect to protecting oneself lies within individuals.  Stay protected and invest in tools to protect those that you love as well

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