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Mindset is Half the Battle
To Personal Safety

two individuals making emergency preparedness plan

Personal Safety Begins Before Something Happens

When it comes to personal safety, perhaps we’ve become too trusting, or naive. As humans, there is a lot that goes on in our heads that we don’t even realize subconsciously dictates what we do and don’t do, without giving the action or choice much thought. 

The problem with this is that after years of doing things, our own minds can become our number one enemy when trying to avoid violence and be safe.

You may not even realize it, but most of our daily activities and behavior are done without much thought or consideration. While only around 10% of the brain actually interacts with the outside world, a huge 90% of your mind goes untapped. So, it’s no wonder that on the spot decisions on what to do in a violence crisis—such as school violence, workplace violence, what to do in an active shooter situation, or a hundred other possibilities—can be bad ones. 

On a 24/7 basis, if we don’t pay attention, we have the “automatic response” of our subconscious in control, which can’t discern reality from imagination. It can only make you do basic things like run, freeze, scream, unable to speak, vomit and so forth; all of which are not under your immediate control. Most of these things could get you killed or seriously injured unnecessarily. 

This is one reason why walking around in life without a safety plan or strategy is not the way to go. Knowing what to do and being alert and aware are the ways you keep yourself in control instead of having survival instincts, that may or may not be the right action, kick in and take over. 

Retired couple walking around the town

Your conscious mind (the part that you are aware of) is responsible for identifying various information through the use of the five senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing; and allows YOU to make decisions based on what is relevant in your environment. Being prepared, knowing what to do if… making decisions while in a relaxed state with your conscious awareness, is imperative.

Preparing Mentally

As we live and experience life, we can tend to use less awareness of the activities we do, and we start to do things without realizing we’re doing them. 

Thoughts, habits and beliefs are all ‘programmed’ into the subconscious. If you’ve ever found yourself doing something simply ‘on auto-pilot’, you have your subconscious to thank for that. 

In a world where violence can break out anywhere, at any time, we have to change our mindset and become more alert and less “automatic” or thoughtless.

Threat Assessment

The first step to achieving safety in life is by teaching yourself to become more aware of your surroundings. Although this may sound like a difficult or even impossible task, it can be done if you are prepared to put in the right amount of effort. 

So, how exactly can you become more mindful in your daily life? Since you’re reading this, you’re definitely already on the right path. You want to know more and do more to be safe. From there, all it takes is learning the strategies to tweak your subconscious and change those bad “thoughtless” habits to deliberate intention. This will lead yourself down a path of greater safety rather than chance or luck. 

emergency preparedness plan Crowd of people at festival

Visualizing What You Would Do

One of the most important steps to becoming more mindful, to think and operate in a way that encourages being safe, is to visualize the steps you would take to remain safe.

This would obviously begin with developing a safety plan. Once you have a safety strategy, visualization is the very first step that you need to take on the road to safety.

Without a specific safety plan, it will be impossible to train yourself to be more mindful (alert and aware) enough to prevent putting yourself and your loved ones in danger.

Much of being safe is avoidance of harm. It’s being aware of what is happening around you. The better you get at it, the greater your ability is to predict what is going to happen. You will be able to detect potential dangers further out from where you are.

Know where you are going. Too often, people follow each other without having any foresight to where you’re actually going! Knowing where you are going is vital. Don’t assume someone else knows where they are leading you. Even worse, don’t assume they are even aware of their surroundings. Chances are, they’re not even looking more than a few feet in front. 

With that being said, it’s crucial to assess your surroundings. Where are the fire exits? 

Are there unusual things in the area, like backpacks or briefcases that seem out of place?

Are there security personnel? Where are they positioned and how many are there in comparison to the number of people in the room?

Does the body count seem well over the fire code plaque’s seat limit?

This type of observation will become second nature the more you do it.

Note this is not to encourage fear or mistrust but rather build self-confidence and greater trust in your environment. By knowing, by being aware, you can feel more secure.

man texting for assistance

HERE’S AN ACTION PLAN 

Look at your daily routine and take note of the places you frequent, like the grocery store, your kids’ schools, the gym, etc. 

As you go to these places, make a good observation of each to see what you could do to avoid harm from violence. Where are the bathrooms in the stores? When at your kids’ schools, figure out the best way to park your car so you could escape with your children if you needed to get out of there quickly. That might include staying out of the line of cars, parking off campus and walking to meet your kids. 

When going into an establishment, bring your cell phone so you could call 911 if you needed to.

Your Daily Task

Each you go out, be mindful as to what you would do if something were to break out. Are you sandwiched in between the cars in a front and back of you at the traffic light where you wouldn’t be able to get out of your lane and drive away from the danger? Should you stay out of the center lane at a light? If you were restricted from being able to get away from danger then yes. Choose the outer lanes at traffic lights.

This is not paranoia. This is simply being mindful, aware of your surroundings and prepared to act instead of being unprepared and not knowing what to do, especially while under the stress of the moment.

It is much harder to make rational decisions when you’re in the middle of a dangerous situation. 

Visualizing what you will do if… can help to keep you and your loved ones safe. 

To properly train yourself for safety, you’ll need to make this kind of mindset part of your daily life.

Write down what you should do if… as well as anyone else who might be with you. You can inform your children what they should do, keeping it. Keeping things very light and letting them know “it’s not going to happen, but just in case…”.

your subconscious mind and act as a frequent reminder of the things that you must do to complete your mission. 

Take it further by writing down your safety plans and placing them where you can see them – the fridge door, for example.