Hello everyone, we are bringing something new to Rochester Woman Online. Every issue, we’ll be doing a column about your personal safety. This might be something general or specific, depending on current events or special requests. This information is for you to use and share.

Today we are going to be discussing that ‘feeling’.  I bet that most of you have had that ‘feeling’ that something was wrong. It may have been an odd quirk, an uneasiness in your abdomen, a tingling in the back of your neck, or maybe it was something you couldn’t describe. But that feeling was there, it was real, and it was telling you something. But what was that feeling telling you?

Women’s Intuition. A gut feeling.  A premonition. Call it what you want, they’re all correct.

Whatever name you give this feeling, our bodies have a way of communicating to our brains that something is going on and you should be aware and pay attention.  Awareness is one of the most important keys for personal safety. Being aware of your surroundings and situation is important. You’ll notice more, you will see something happening and you’ll have time to process the details and react if necessary.

Listening to your intuition is important. Over time, we tend to ignore, override, or make excuses for that odd feeling. We KNOW something is wrong, but we just think that it’s our mind playing tricks. We think that we will be made fun of if we say or do something. We’re told “It’s nothing, just ignore it” while our brain is telling us quite the opposite. Talk about frustrating!

Think about this: Our brains are the most powerful tool we have. When we allow our brains to work, amazing things happen. We invent, we create, we nurture, we build bonds, and we survive.

Let’s look at our personal safety. Have you ever heard someone say “It happened before I could react” or “I never saw it coming”? Most likely.  Awareness is something you can learn to use. It’s not that difficult, and the results are spectacular! When you allow yourself to process what you see when you are more aware, you’ll pick up on body language cues, discussions, or actions that will give you a warning of what could happen.

How can YOU raise your level of awareness and use it to your advantage? Let me ask the following:

How distracted are you when in public? Are you checking or updating on social media? Answering texts or emails? If so, chances are you are focused in a 5’ radius around you. Your eyes are down, not up, and you are not seeing or hearing what’s out there.

How aware are you of potentially dangerous areas or situations and do you take steps to avoid them? We all know that there are places to avoid because of the higher risk of danger. Dark parking lots or garages, alleyways, basements, or deserted parks or trails. What do you do to minimize your risk? You’ve probably heard about the basics of always walking in groups, avoid those dark alleys or deserted parks, right? What if you did work late, and you have to get to your car in that dark parking garage or lot? What if you were out hiking or running and you’re on that deserted trail? How would you accomplish this safely? Do you ignore your intuition because you feel that others would think you are overreacting? Have you ever seen a situation and thought “That could never happen to me” or “I hope that never happens to me” or even “How could that happen?”

Time to fix that! The first and best step you can take to be more aware is to learn to pick up more details when you look around. Try this: when you see the color YELLOW, look around. You can do this while at work, driving, walking or running, pretty much anywhere. You don’t have to do it fast or slow, just look. This is a casual method where you’re just seeing what is going on around you. You’re not looking to study anyone or anything, you’re just looking. How many people are around you? What are they doing? Who’s looking at you or is there anyone that is different or standing out from all the other people? After a while, you’ll start to notice more detail. What are those people wearing? What is going on outside that window behind those people? Are their lips moving? What are they saying? What are they looking at?

As you start to become more aware, you will process more information and start to adjust or react to what you see and hear. Being more aware gives you more time to react. Faster reaction time gives you more safety and security.

Learning to use your mind, combined with learning safety tactics and self-defense skills is important. Not only for your safety but for the safety of those around you. Self-defense means self-reliance and independence as well. Think about this:

Depending entirely on someone else for your safety is not the method that works. Only you can ensure your safety by learning how to be more aware and how to use physical skills to your benefit.  

You can use these skills right now. Don’t wait. Start looking around. If you see something that makes you feel is unsafe, threatening, or uncomfortable, then do something about it. Don’t wait to become a victim and ignore your own intuition that something is wrong. The more proactive you can be, the safer you can be.

What you’ve just read about is one of the important parts of every self-defense course that we teach at Rochester Personal Defense. Our Basic Self Defense, Ladies EQUALIZER, Pepper Spray, and other courses all build on our awareness and intuitive and instinctive reactions to a threat. We teach you that YOU are your own bodyguard and that it is okay to be assertive and be responsible for your safety. We give you the mental and physical skills to be safer.

Dave Jenkins is the founder of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC, the area’s best self-defense training company. Come join the other women that have learned how to be safe, keep their family safe, and learn how they have become their own bodyguards.

You can reach Dave and his team of lady instructors at www.rochesterpersonaldefense.com or 585-406-6758. You can even email them at rpdllctraining@rochester.rr.com