Aug 6, 2019 11:23:57 PM
We all know what it feels like to be alert. When we’re alert we notice what’s happening, we feel prepared, and we pay attention to what doesn’t feel right.
What Is Situational Awareness? Why Is It Important?
In an alert state, it seems nothing can catch us off guard. However, when we don’t feel alert, we’re more prone to accidents and surprises. We’re also more likely to let our emotions run the show.
Learning how to be aware of your surroundings means practicing paying attention to detail, but what details should you pay attention to?
Situational Awareness For Concealed Carry
When you carry a gun, you’re responsible for ensuring that gun doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Learning how to develop situational awareness is imperative for carrying concealed safely. Safe concealed carry involves more than simply owning a quality holster and a gun. Safe concealed carry involves adjusting your automatic habits for different portions of the day and creating a plan for success; it demands constant vigilance and awareness of the different aspects of your environment.
Situational awareness is a skill that can be developed. Like any other skill, it takes practice to learn how to increase your situational awareness.
Situational Awareness Isn't Equal To Paranoia
Situational awareness doesn’t mean that you’re constantly anticipating a disaster, or expecting danger. It doesn’t require a skeptical or cynical view of society. It means that you’re alert and conscientious of what’s going on around you.
So how can you train your mind to be more vigilant? Here are 7 ways to increase your situational awareness.
Be Aware Of The Different Aspects Of Your Environment
This sounds like common sense, but today technology is so prevalent in our everyday activities that it’s easy to be constantly distracted, and unknowingly relinquish control over our circumstances. What does it mean to be aware of your environment?
An environment consists of several layers:
- Emotional environment
- Physical environment
- Cultural environment
Context involves being aware of the type of location and people you’re around. For example, if you’re at a bar, you know that you’re around people who are drinking, and therefore prone to acting in inappropriate or compulsive ways. Therefore, you’ll want to keep a safe distance and be prepared to defend yourself.
However, If you’re at a Mcdonalds with your kids and you carry a gun in a concealed carry purse, your main focus would be to ensure your purse never leaves your sight.
Being aware of your emotional environment is about being attuned to the types of moods people are succumbing to around you. Are people stressed out? Angry? Do you feel tension, or is your environment calm and relaxed? Even in a seemingly peaceful environment, it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on around you.
For the most part, people remain fairly aware of their physical environment. Are you in a bad part of town by yourself, or are you at an upscale restaurant with family and friends? Take into consideration your physical environment.
What about the cultural environment? People grow up with very different values, traditions, and viewpoints. Are you in a situation where your values clash with others? For example, if you walked into a biker bar, you wouldn’t want to start bashing motorcycles!
Trust Your Instincts
You’ve heard the saying “go with your gut,” and it’s true. People have an incredible ability to sense when something is wrong. Many people regret times in their life where they ignored their instincts, and something bad happened. Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel nervous, uncomfortable, or anxious, stay calm and be prepared to act.
Develop The Habit Of Smart Positioning
When you enter an establishment, stay close to the exits, and try to position yourself so that you can see everyone who’s coming in. If an emergency situation does occur, you’ll be prepared, and less vulnerable to any threats.
Act Calm And Confident
Just like bullies pick on the weak at school, criminals usually target people who don’t look prepared to protect themselves. They watch the way you carry yourself, how you walk, if you’re looking straight ahead, or at the ground. If you walk and dress with confidence and look people in the eyes, you’re far less likely to become a victim. Luckily, simply concealing a gun will boost your confidence in any situation, and your sense of empowerment will alert people not to mess with you.
Practice Being Fully Present
You have to live in the present moment to be aware of what’s happening around you. Our brains can only pay attention to one thing at a time. If you’re engrossed in your phone, or absorbed in your thought processes, you won’t be paying attention to your environment, and thus you’ll be more vulnerable.
That’s why it’s a good idea to practice immersing yourself in the present moment. Even if you’re at home in your living room, scan your environment. Notice what’s on the table, if the sun is shining, the color of your coffee. Notice the people around you and what they’re doing. Living in the present moment is like a muscle, so the more you practice, the stronger this muscle will become.
Have A Plan For Action
When we’re in an emergency situation, our fight or flight instincts take over, and we usually don’t think too clearly. That’s why it’s important to have a specific action plan for what you will do if you find yourself in danger. A good example is to have your hand in your purse on your gun as you walk to your car at night, or keep your hand in your pocket on your knife if you’re on the bus in a bad part of town.
Take Care Of Yourself
Practicing situational awareness becomes significantly more difficult if you’re hungry, tired, or under a lot of emotional stress. If you want to be on your A game, you need to feel your best. Eat well, drink lots of water, get enough sleep, and keep your energy levels up so you’re prepared to take on any challenge that comes your way.
About the Author
Born in Arizona, Paisley Saris graduated in 2019 from North Idaho College, and will continue her education at Gonzaga University in the fall. She lives in North Idaho with her Husband and two step kids. She’s a passionate advocate for the 2nd amendment, and on her off days she enjoys the outdoors and spending time at the range.