Practising Sustainable Situational Awareness

Practising Sustainable Situational Awareness

Published: March 15, 2023 | Last Updated: May 4, 2023

No matter where you are or the time of day, situational awareness should be at the forefront of your mind.

Whether you are walking a road you walk every day without fail or are somewhere you have never been, it’s crucial to be prepared for any hazards you may be faced with.

Situational awareness is a state of mind that many practice daily without even realising, but what's important is choosing the right state for the situation. 

The following blog will discuss the levels of awareness that can be achieved and informs on how to adapt this in everyday life.

Levels of Awareness 

There are five levels of situational awareness in total: tuned out, relaxed awareness, focused awareness, high alert and comatose. 

The level of awareness somebody practices at any given time is determined by their level of focus and understanding of their surrounding environment. The level of awareness that is practised determines the speed of the reaction that one can give to danger.

Below are some explanations of each level of awareness and how this may affect their environment.


If somebody is tuned-out, they are not paying any attention to what is happening around them. 

Many individuals in a tuned-out state can compare the feeling to daydreaming or performing routine tasks such as driving in a familiar area. As the individual has completed the task hundreds, if not thousands of times, they are on ‘autopilot’, meaning very little concentration is exerted. 


In a relaxed state, individuals would find themselves relaxed but still watching to see what others are doing around them. 

This is much like enjoying a picnic in the park and having fun but still keeping an eye out for the forecast rain. Though you enjoy your surroundings, you remain vigilant and aim to anticipate danger when it arises. 


Being in a focused state demands prolonged and total concentration and can be mentally taxing at times.

Rather than being mindful of hazards like you are in a relaxed state, you fixate on spotting the dangers before they have a chance to affect you; this means pre-empting danger and knowing how to handle this type of situation should it occur. 

High Alert

Being in a state of high alert generally induces an adrenaline rush. 

The adrenaline rush you get can often aid your reflexes and make you more capable of reacting appropriately to a situation. For example, if you were driving at a reasonable speed and a deer darted into the road in front of you, you would be so shocked that your natural reflexes would slam on the brakes. 

However, one struggle with being on high alert is keeping the amygdala (often called your lizard brain) from reducing your ability to think rationally and diminishing your fine motor skills.


When somebody is in a comatose state, they physically cannot respond to stimuli. This means that those in a comatose state are either asleep or in total shock. 

People react this way because their brains cannot physically process the information they are absorbing and are plunged into panic-induced paralysis. This subsequently means that they cannot respond to the unfolding situation.

Finding The Right Level and Sustaining it

To achieve the correct awareness in a situation, people need to be aware of when they are practising the wrong awareness. 

Remaining in the same state of awareness at all times is not healthy for the mind or the body, especially when coupled with a constant stream of adrenaline. 

To achieve effective situational awareness, individuals should practice “shifting” up and down through awareness states, much like a car’s gears. Leaving your car in first gear on the motorway is a prime example of the car demanding a higher level, but its current state is not appropriate for its surroundings. 

Improving Situational Awareness

There are a few ways to incorporate improved situational awareness into everyday life, as well as providing multiple benefits. It’s possible to help train the mind to switch between the different levels by practising some simple awareness drills

You can also practice ‘what if’ drills, especially in public places, to begin to actively think about how you would react to a particular situation or what steps you would take to protect yourself and others. 

Practising these exercises daily can help train the mind to be better aware.

Professional Situational Awareness Training for Businesses from ATR.

If you want to improve your situational awareness and train your mind to become better prepared to deal with challenging environments, look no further than training courses from Advanced Tactical Resources. 

We are experienced in training businesses on a group or individual basis with training courses such as trauma training, hostile environment training and first aid training. To find out more about the courses we can offer your business, get in touch now!

Practising Sustainable Situational Awareness

Published: March 15, 2023 | Last Updated: May 4, 2023