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Situational Awareness in Personal Protection, Part 2

In our previous article we discussed the different levels of awareness; but, which should be used at any given moment? The body and mind require rest, so we have to spend several hours a day sleeping. When at home, reading a book or watching TV, it’s perfectly fine to be in a relaxed state of awareness. 

It is very important to stress the fact that situational awareness does not mean being paranoid or obsessively concerned about security. A person cannot go around in a state of high awareness for long periods of time, this can only be achieved for short periods of time in order to not be exhausted. The adrenaline rush produced by a higher leve lof alertness is useful for short periods of time, but can be harmful for the body and mind in long periods of time. Operating constantly at high levels of awareness or at low levels of alertness are both wrong approaches.

The basic level of situational awareness that should be practiced most of the time is relaxed awareness, a state of mind that can be maintained indefinitely without losing attention of what is going on in your surroundings. This allows you to enjoy your day to day while still reaching an effective leve lof personal security. When people are in an area where there is potential danger, they should go through most of the day in a state of relaxed awareness. Then if they spot something out of the ordinary that could be a threat, they can switch to a state of focused awareness to evaluate the situation. If the possible threat proves no to be effective they can switch back to the relaxed state of awarenessIf. But, if the threat materializes, having been in a focused state of awareness will help to take actions to avoid being a victim of the situation and staying out of harm.

However, once a person is in a state of focused awareness they are better prepared to change to high alert if the threat does change

When a person knowingly ventures into an area that is dangerous, it is vital to maintaina focused state of awareness while in that area. Exercising an increased level of awareness is also important when carrying out everyday tasks such as withdrawing cash from the bank or an ATM or walking to the car in a dark parking lot.

People can improve their situational awareness ability by practicing. They can consciously move their awareness level up to a focused state for short periods of time during the day. They can be alert and use day to day situations to maintain your focus on details. Counting the number of people in a restaurant, identifying the emergency exits in a building while going through it are some examples. Employing simple focused awareness activities will train a person’s mind to be aware of these things while in a relaxed state of awareness.

This situational awareness process also demonstrates the importance of people being familiar with their environment and the dangers that are present there. Such awareness permits some threats to be avoided and others to be guarded against when you must venture into a dangerous area.