3 tips to improve your situational awareness

Woman Walking Dog

As I noted in my earlier post Do you have the mindset for concealed carry?, I’m really focusing on improving my situational awareness – or in laymen’s terms, simply paying attention to what’s going on around you.

This is a constant challenge for me as I’m not hardwired to think this way but I’ve realized, especially as I’ve been carrying a handgun, t
hat I need to improve my situational awareness.

Woman Walking Dog

Here are  3 tips to improve situational awareness that I’m starting to incorporate in my daily life.

  1. Head Up. This is probably the most important tool in the situational awareness arsenal. Keep your head up. That means not walking and texting or looking at my phone, or fiddling in my purse. It means head up and looking at what’s around me. Not only is this key in improving situational awareness, but it also makes me look like a less tempting target, because my shoulders are back and I exude more confidence.
  2. Note people and exits. When you enter a building or a room, such as a shop or a restaurant, note immediately the location of key people (cashier, manager, patrons, etc) and exits. If there were an emergency you’d want to know how to get out quickly.
  3. Use all your senses. This isn’t just about visual awareness, your hearing is just as important. I’m always surprised when I see women jogging alone with their earbuds in. You will never hear someone approaching you from behind, or a car approaching the intersection. My family and I were in a shopping mall recently when an angry protest broke out on the second floor. We only realized it because we heard the chants and shouting. Rather than walk toward the sound as many others did we promptly headed toward the closest exit and to our car.

Perhaps the most important tip is to practice. Every day. I have to remind myself when in “transition” times such as walking from my office to the car, or leaving the house, to keep my head up and observe my environment. I would love to know your tips for improving situational awareness too – please comment below.

6 thoughts on “3 tips to improve your situational awareness

  1. Great points. I would add one thing – trust your instincts. If there hairs on your neck or arms are going up, if you feel just ‘not right’, take note. Those impulses come from your ‘lizard brain’ and mean that your subconscious has picked up signals you didn’t consciously take notice of.

  2. Brian says:

    Keep you head moving. When pumping gas or waiting for someone to decide what to buy, look around to see what people are doing. Look to see who is entering the area. If someone looks out of place, watch their hands.

    • Those are all great points Brian. I think one of the best things is to just stay off my phone when I’m not in a secure location. I see so many people walking and looking at their phones – talk about distracted!

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