THE BLOG
01/27/2016 04:26 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2017

You Can Never Be Too Safe: 7 Tips to Protect Yourself

Cecilia Pensini via Getty Images

In a recent class I was teaching, we were talking about parenting. And one of my students was talking about how her parents used to beat her growing up. And during the discussion, it was revealed that some other students (and myself) had never even been spanked. This shocked the student who was beaten. She just couldn't wrap her head around growing up in a loving, non-violent home. While that is sad, it has given her an awareness that she needs to protect herself from people -- and the world.

We all grew up differently. I was blessed with loving, kind parents. But while this is a good thing, it has made me a bit naive. Unlike my student who grew up in a violent home, I am sometimes too trusting of people -- even though I hate to admit it. It never occurs to me that people will hurt me, lie, or do anything that wasn't ethical. The reason it doesn't occur to me is because I have been lucky enough to have not been a victim of something that can damage my life in one respect or another. Yes, it's a blessing. But that means that I also have to be even more conscious of how to protect myself, because it doesn't come naturally to me.

These days, the dangers lurk everywhere. It's not just muggings or rapes -- the threats to our well-being can go much deeper. So, it's never too late to think about arming yourself with some ways to protect yourself. Here are seven things you should think about to ensure your safety:

1. Awareness

This is where it all starts. First, like me, you have to be aware that there really ARE dangers out there. And once you come to this unfortunate realization, you can start to protect yourself. I always say, "You can't change what you don't recognize." And if you don't admit you need protection, then you won't take action. Educate yourself. Always be aware of your surroundings and consequences of your actions.

2. Intuition

Some people think intuition is a bunch of woo-woo mumbo jumbo. But I know for a fact that it's not. So many times, when I have that "feeling" or hear that "voice" saying that something is wrong -- it usually is. When I have gone against my intuition, I have always regretted it. But when I follow it, things have always turned out well. So if you feel like something is wrong -- don't be afraid to follow that feeling and take action accordingly.

3. Identity Theft Protection

I know a couple of people who have had their identity stolen. One was stolen by a postal worker, and another from the Internet. I think it's one of those things where people say, "That happens to other people... but not ME." Well, that's one thought you should definitely change. Unfortunately, there are many scam artists out there who are just waiting to steal your identity the first chance they get.

4. Self-Defense Training

I never really thought about taking a self-defense class before. However, when my son started taking Tae Kwon Do several years ago, I realized how powerful it is. In fact, one day on the bus there was a bully who was trying to mess with him, and he just looked at the kid straight in the face and made him go away. He said to me, "Mom, I know Tae Kwon Do, so I could have kicked his butt." It's worth your time and effort to learn how to defend yourself.

5. Cell Phone Boosters

I wasn't even aware if cell phone signal boosters weren't legal until recently. But after I learned about them, I realized they could really save your life. If you're not familiar with them, it is something that helps your phone get a signal when it otherwise couldn't (like in the middle of nowhere). Imagine if there is a home invasion and you're hiding in the bathroom trying to call for help, but there is no service due to zero reception. However, if you had one of these installed in your home, you could boost a signal in every corner of your home. This is something that I'm sure most people have never thought about.

6. Don't Share Too Much on Social Media

Yes, we all like to post photos of our vacations on Facebook -- it's normal these days. But what if a local burglar is stalking your Facebook profile? They'll see you frolicking around the Caribbean or Europe and think, "That's awesome ... these people aren't home! Let's break in and steal their stuff." It happens. Even if you just check yourself in saying you're in a movie ... the "not home" message comes into the minds of the criminals out there.

7. Make Eye Contact and Walk with a Purpose

In my classes, I teach about the importance on body language. It accounts for 80-90% of the meaning of a message! So if you are walking around with your head down, or as if you are just going for a Sunday stroll, you don't look like you're in the mindset to defend yourself. If you see someone suspicious walk toward you, make eye contact. It scares them because then you could identify them in a police line-up. Body language is everything, because criminals like to attack weak people -- since they seldom fight back.

These are just several ways you can protect yourself -- and the list is a lot longer. But you have to start somewhere. So hopefully these ideas will help you feel safe in this cold-hearted world!