Like the age old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" the best self defense strategy is being able to avoid a situation all together. While even the most seasoned combat veteran can fall prey to a criminal, there are measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
This is always the number one safety tip. We can easily get distracted by any number of things. Our kids, being preoccupied with a lengthy to do list and even familiarity with an area can cause us to stop paying attention to what is around us. I believe the number one culprit is our cell phones. It was bad enough when we were actually just talking on them. At least then your eyes could focus on your environment. Now, we get texts, emails and can go on the internet from this handy device. Your attention is diverted to the screen in front of you and you are no longer scanning your environment. Unless you are in a safe zone, put your phone down. Even when you are stopped at a traffic light, resist the urge to go online and pin some cool stuff on your boards. Pay attention to who and what is around you.
Perfect Your Posture
I was lucky enough to take 10 years of ballet as a child. My ballet instructor, Coco Ramirez, would walk around with a yard stick in her hand while we did our stretches. If your back was hunched she would stand behind you and hold the yardstick up to your spine. She wanted every vertebrate to line up with the measuring stick!
To this day, I am very conscious about my posture. I have learned that your posture communicates your confidence. If you walk tall, shoulders back and head up you are less likely to look like an easy target. Walk with a purpose. Thugs are looking for the weakest prey. If you look like you could or would put up a fight, they will usually leave you alone.
Choose your route and destination wisely
When at all possible, avoid isolated areas. This includes parking lots. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar place, make sure you have clear directions on how to get in and out of there. The last thing you want is to get lost on the wrong side of town with no clue how to find your way out.
Trust Your Instincts
If something doesn't feel right, it's probably not. We have become so educated that we believe we must have a logical explanation for all our feelings and actions. That guy across the room gives you the creeps, but you don't know why. You begin to talk yourself out of that intuitive warning because you are sure you've never met him and you don't want to come across as judgmental or paranoid. Trust that your adaptive unconscious has picked up something which set off your internal alarm. Stay away from him. Many victims of attacks say afterwards they felt something was wrong, but they ignored the feeling. Hindsight is 20/20. Trust your gut.
Have an escape plan
Do this literally and figuratively. If you have entered a room, especially one that may be darkened such as a movie theater, find your exits. If you find yourself talking to someone who makes you uncomfortable, have a ready excuse to get away from them. My favorite is saying, "Oh gosh, look at the time! I was supposed to call my (fill in the blank) 10 minutes ago! Excuse me while I make this call."
Have a backup
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, you can still be the target of a crime. Notice I said target and not victim. One of the best things you can do is to carry some type of self defense weapon. Not only will you be able to fight back if you are attacked, there is something very empowering about having, for example, a stun gun in your hand as you walk to your car. Ironically, even just having it will make you less likely to be a victim because the habit of keeping it ready to use will automatically make you more aware of your surroundings. You also tend to walk a little taller and exude more confidence, knowing you have a way to fight back.
Most of these tips are about having an attitude of victory. Have the mindset that you will not be a helpless victim. Stay safe!
Wendy Megyese is a Deputy Sheriff and a Self Defense Expert. Her passion is educating and empowering law abiding citizens with self defense tools and techniques so they can be victors and not victims. Visit her website at http://www.bestlinedefense.com to find the best self defense and survival products.
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