6 Easy Situational Awareness Exercises

Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you. – US Coast Guard

Okay, but does this mean that we need to walk around paranoid all the time? I mean, geez, that’s no way to live your life.

You’re right! It’s not.

But, being blissfully unaware isn’t either.

The trick is to find a healthy balance between awareness and relaxed.

Situational awareness isn’t something we’re born able to do. It’s a skill that’s learned. Way back when our ancestors were just walking upright, those who didn’t develop this critical skill, died. Don’t be that gal.

Here’s a few fun ways you can become better at this valuable skill (practicing some of these with friends and family really turns it into a game.):

  • When you park your car and walk into a store, count the number of spaces you are from the door.
  • When you park your car, count the number of people you see sitting in their cars on the way into the store, and then notice if those same people are there when you return to your car.
  • Count the number of males vs. females, children vs. adults, people wearing hats — you get the idea.
  • Guess how many people are seated in a restaurant. How many are female, male, or children.
  • Figure out all of the possible exits from an establishment.
  • Place several items onto a tray. Give yourself 30 seconds to examine the tray. Cover it. Now, list all of the items. If you do this with other people, then you can remove items from the tray. People need to be able to say what’s missing. You also can vary the time. This is called KIM’s game (Keep in memory).

Here’s an example:

I bet now that you’ve seen this list, you can think of a few other ideas. List them in the comments!



About KMiller

Kori Miller began studying self-defense when she was 17 years old. Over the years, her formal practice has seen its ups and downs, but her desire to continue learning never has. She's trained in Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate, and Hapkido. It is this last style that won her heart. Her philosophy is, "don't be there, but if you must, then protect yourself." Your personal safety starts with a healthy respect for situational awareness and using powerfully, positive body language. Kori is an author, speaker, and trainer.
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