Thursday's training opened and closed with a breathing exercise.
Sit up straight, place your hands on your lap and close your eyes. Then, inhale deeply through your nose, exhale slowly and repeat.
Focus on your body. How do you feel?
The exercise was a sliver of our daylong Global Journalist Security training, which covered situational awareness, risk reduction, weapons and ballistics, first aid, kidnapping and emotional grounding. I hope we're never faced with a situation that forces us to apply the tools we learned for working in hostile environments. But we can all draw from the intent behind a simple breathing exercise.
How do you feel when you're nervous? Does your heart beat faster? Do you take shallow breaths? Is there a pit in your stomach?
Don't ignore flickers of doubt.
If someone is pursuing you, you need to interrupt the momentum. There's typically a delay, a pause, between the moment a perpetrator decides to do something harmful and the moment that person acts. Time stops. You feel that. I have.
Instead, change the dynamic. If possible, cross the street; enter a commercial area; change direction; hop on a bus.
Always, always follow your gut.