Situational awareness is being fully aware of your surroundings at all times, allowing you to react effectively if a dangerous situation were to arise, and allowing you to remove yourself and/or your Little from potentially dangerous situations if warranted. It’s important to practice situational awareness at all times, no matter how seemingly harmless a setting may seem, as unexpected outcomes are possible at any given time. When things catch us off guard, it can impede on our decision making. Situational awareness helps us to be able to make informed and pre-emptive decisions about potential threats or harmful objects in our surroundings.
Ways to Practice Situational Awareness
1. Identify objects around you. Each time you enter a new environment, take a moment to identify every object in your immediate vicinity. Chairs, tables, trash, even walls and doors should all be recognized. It should only take a few seconds to identify the objects around you, but looking at your surroundings with a discerning eye and acknowledging each item is a crucial step in developing a mindful attitude. When you’re aware of the things around you, you can effectively determine what can be used as a weapon and what will be a potential obstacle/hazard.
2. Notice other people. Watch out for nervous or agitated behavior in others, and keep an eye on people who seem to be moving outside the norm. The ability to detect inconsistencies or distress in other people can allow you to anticipate dangerous situations, giving you an opportunity to respond in the most effective way possible.
3. Identify entry and exit points. Every time you arrive at a new location, pick out all points of entry and exit. Should a dangerous situation arise, the most effective way to keep yourself and/or your Little safe is to remove yourselves from the situation and avoid engaging with any potentially dangerous people/objects.
4. Be mindful. Practice being in the moment– when you are cognizant of your surroundings, your senses are fully engaged. You can see, hear, and smell everything and react a lot quicker. This means limiting distractions such as earbuds, cell phones, etc., and always remaining vigilant.
5. Trust your gut feeling. Listen to your instincts. If you feel uneasy about someone or someplace, you can remove yourself from danger by listening to your gut. Your internal reactions can be a key element in pointing out danger, so don’t ignore your intuition.