Have you ever seen a police officer walk with their head down, hands in his pockets? They walk with confidence, constantly scanning their environment looking and listening for clues. One of the best forms of self-defense is to act like a cop! Become AWARE of your surroundings. When you are aware, you take away the element of surprise and are prepared!
The most important thing I learned was to not put myself in a position that I had to defend myself. I was surprised at how many times in one day I compromised my safety simply because I was not paying attention. One of my best teaching moments was when my dog needed to go relieve herself. It was late at night, I was tired and she was whining. Walking grudgingly down the stairs, I walked over to the door and opened it and there was someone standing there. What did I do? I screamed that backwards scream, the kind that takes your breath away but makes no sound and alerts no-one. It happened to be my son, so I wasn't at risk. But I was. If I had just taken 2 seconds, I would have turned on the outside light and looked out the window first and seen him standing there. I would have taken away his element of surprise. I would have given myself time to lock the door, get away and call 911, instead of having to fight him off!
How many times have you been watching a tv show and there's a holdup happening at a convenience store? You watch that person walk in the door, walking into that "ring of fire" simply because they didn't look in the window first. I'm sitting there screaming "stop texting and look up!". If they just followed the 2 second rule, they wouldn't have walked in and saved themselves and others. They would have stopped, ran to their car, locked themselves in and called 911 as they drove away to safety!
Look before you open that door.
Turn outside lights on.
Scan your environment before you walk into it.
Where could someone be hiding?
Where could I hide if I had to?
What's the easiest way to get out of here?
Was that door open before? Why is that window open, it was closed when I left?
Check your surroundings searching for any potential threats.
Listen for sounds. Screaming is definitely a sign. Listen for footsteps behind you as you are walking or slowing vehicles.
We also have something called an Internal voice. Does it just feel like something's wrong? Then it probably is. Intuition is the chill down your spine, the tightening in your stomach, the hair standing up on the back of your neck when you just don't feel good about a situation or a place you are in. Don't ignore those feelings. Respect them and respond accordingly! Whatever your instincts are trying to tell you, pay attention to them!
Avoiding or preventing an attack is the best form of self defense! Take 2 seconds to scan your environment. Make it become a habit, starting today. Stop walking and texting. Don't run with earphones in. Attackers are looking for distracted or unaware victims. Don't be one!