Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Psychology of Reality-Based Self Defense

You have seen the advertising headlines. They prey upon the nagging fear that maybe you and your family will be violently attacked by a stranger “on the street.” They promise you life-saving “secrets” that will give any middle-aged business traveler the defensive acumen of an elite military operator. All contained in a set of DVDs. This has become the marketing platform for many of the so-called “Reality-Based” martial arts programs. Can the promises live up to the hype? Here are a couple of ideas to consider:
Learning to defend yourself requires training for self-defense: This may seem like the ultimate obvious point, but it carries two important implications. First, effective self-defense preparation requires actual physical practice – quite often, a lot of practice – to assure proper execution of even a couple of basic maneuvers. Based on what is known about human performance and motor skill learning, it would be nearly impossible for someone simply to read about a technique in a book or even watch it several times on a video, and then be able to perform the skill correctly. When you factor in the stress of being in a life-threatening situation, the chances of doing it right dwindle even further. Repeated and ongoing physical practice is a necessary condition for self-defense training. The DVDs may contain some great moves, but without a lot of physical practice, they probably won’t work for you when you need them.
The second implication is that training to defend your life can be quite different from training to master a particular martial art or fighting system. There is a mythical motto often heard in law enforcement and military combatives training that “under stress you will revert to your training.” This is only partially true. Under stressful or threatening conditions, your dominant response emerges. Getting the trained response to be the dominant response takes practice.
Just knowing a technique will not make it an automatic response. It is quite possible even to train a skill, but not be able to perform it if attacked. When I was a police officer (before I was a psychologist), I knew of multiple situations where a professional who had demonstrated classroom proficiency in defensive tactics and qualified as “expert” on the range could not apply either skill under high-risk conditions. Law enforcement has since moved to using more active, dynamic, scenario-based training. This is essential for transferring defensive skills to unpredictable, life-threatening encounters.
Self-Defense requires learning how to respond to an attack: We have established the point that getting your body to respond properly to defend you will require that you engage in physical practice and train under dynamic, unscripted conditions. Your brain has to work too, though. An advantage of training in reality-based systems is that you can gain experience getting hit and attacked. Believe it or not, this is an incredibly valuable experience – at least from the perspective of self-defense training. In a violent encounter, fear is not necessarily your enemy. Panic or “freezing” might be. You definitely need to keep your head in the game.
For most Americans, the statistical likelihood of being violently attacked by a stranger is is pretty remote. And most of the good people who read Black Belt Magazine certainly aren’t going to go looking for a fight. But some coward, drunk or bad guy hunting for trouble may cross your path, and chances are they will not be looking to fight fair. For many normal, law-abiding people, the experience of being hit in the face the first time is shocking and disorienting. Those moments of dismay when you are reflecting on the pain in your cheek or asking “What the hell????” are the moments your attacker is delivering the second or third blows. You may have lost before you even have a chance to think of that super-cool move you just learned on your new DVD set. If you are attacked, keeping your mental composure is every bit as important as knowing self-defense techniques. You must prepare to act under attack.
Find out what works for you. Some reality-based programs tell you that they are based on “natural” or “instinctive” human reactions. Others claim to have universal principles that are guaranteed to work in any situation. The reality (pun intended) is that situations vary and people who want to defend themselves are different from one another. When it comes to learning self-defense, one size does not fit all. Human beings are pretty complicated. Not everyone has an inner, violent barbarian just waiting to be unleashed. History is full of examples where armed people were killed by their attackers, even when they had opportunity to use their weapons.
If you are shopping for a self-defense system, you need to set realistic expectations about what you hope to accomplish based on the time you are willing to invest in training and on what feels right for you. Remember the power of the dominant response? Psychological theory and research show that people decide whether or not to act depending on whether they think can execute a skill effectively and whether doing so will cause them to be successful in accomplishing a goal. You need to develop confidence that you can respond in a particular way to an attack and a belief that it will work. This is part of what you hope to accomplish through repetition and practice in dynamic scenario-based training. Does it feel “natural” or do-able for you? Can you see yourself responding in this way under an actual attack? If not, perhaps that particular system is not a good fit for you.
There is no quick fix, or one-size-fits-all system for effective self-defense. Even carrying a weapon does not assure your survival. If your goal is self-defense, you should train specifically for that skill – not just for practicing an art. Regardless of the method or system you choose, it will be important to consider the critical role of maintaining mental composure and preparing to survive and respond to an attack. Finally, you should make sure that you have confidence in your approach to self-defense and in your ability to use it under the most stressful conditions. That is when you will need it most – really.
(Article first published in Black Belt Magazine, October, 2008)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

4 Most Effective Psychology Tips To Improve Your Life And Make People Like You

The 4 best tricks I learned while studying psychology in college and being around personal development in my free time are:
1. If you want others to open up to you or like you, make them the most important thing in the world. In psychology this is referred to as “Active Listening.” All you need to do is give your entire attention to them when they talk. There are various ways you can implement this:
Think that you have to give an hour-long presentation on what they talked about the next day.Act like they have something to share that will give you a million dollars.Listen like you would if you were talking to your hero or god.
Doing so will make sure you pay full attention to what they say. The difference is minute in your eyes, but the subconscious effect it has is massive! People will feel it and will love to talk to you, because you make them feel like they matter. Which is one of the most sought after feelings in the world.
Try going an entire day paying full attention to everyone and get their responses the next day. You will be surprised by the difference it made for them.
2. You see what you think about. Let’s use an example for this. A driver who believes the stereotype that women are bad drivers will see both bad drivers that are men and women, and good drivers that are men and women. But, even though he sees about an equal amount of each, he will consciously be aware of only the bad women drivers and the good men drivers.
This is a security mechanism in our brain to confirm that we are right and to boost our ego. The interesting part comes when you realize that this works for everything!
When we think about positive things, how great the world is and how amazing our life is, we see more proof of it in the real world. What might be considered normal will be considered great in this point of view. The same way when we think about how bad everything is and how life is going against us, we see normal events as being negative and small problems as being gigantic.
The best way to use this to our advantage is to think about how we want the world to look like. Because we find proof for everything we look for, it is up to us to decide how we want to see the world. If we do not do this, someone else will decide for us.
Using this effectively can lead to a happier life, filled with gratitude and amazement. But it does take practice and effort.
3. Motion creates emotion. It is a common research subject in psychology and has been studied in many different aspects. The most popular one is “How to feel more confident.” Studies in this area have shown that the more space you take up, the more confident you feel. When you sit, sit with your legs open and arms outstretched, when standing, stand up tall and wide.
What’s even more amazing than these findings is the fact that this works with every emotion. Whenever you want to be happy, excited, confident, sexy, loving, or whatever else, just think about what a person with those qualities would do. Imagine that person in the same situation: How would they act? What would they say? What would they think?
Ask yourself these questions and then simply copy that person in your head. Depending on how you move and behave, your brain will activate the areas in your brain corresponding to the emotion you portray and release the corresponding hormones to make you feel that way!
4. Reality Testing. A lot of our daily problems arise from us overthinking. We make the problems bigger or smaller than they actually are and need the help of these strategies to actually see the reality. Without this, we cannot solve the problem because we either get too scared to try, or think the problem isn’t that big and do not think it is worth solving.
In Reality Testing, psychotherapists encourage clients to look at their problems objectively and to back-track to the negative thoughts and analyze them. Some common ways we tend to do this are:
Over-generalizationThinking that one negative event will lead to more and more negative events is something we cannot know. We generalize the meaning of what happens even though we have no idea. Instead think that this is one event, period. It is just one event and the next event is completely separate from it. Even though in your experience that may not have been the case, if you think this way you will go into more situations feeling empowered and will believe in your ability to still change the events.Comparing to others. This is an extremely common occurrence. To be honest, we have no idea what the other person has gone through to get there. They may have worked 18 hours every day for the last year, crying and sweating, to get to where they are today. Do not assume that they got to where they are with the same effort you did. There is no point in comparing to others because, unless we actually lived through their life, we have no idea what it took for them to get there. Even if they tell us they will have a skewed perception and we will receive it through our point of view, which also skews the reality of it. Instead of comparing yourself to others around you, compare yourself to how you were a month or year ago. The only real reference point you have is a past self.Blaming others. We wish to make life easy on ourselves. And what is easier than saying that we are not at fault for anything that happens? It is so easy to push the fault onto others, or onto life itself, because they cannot defend themselves. When we blame others for our misfortune, Therapists will intervene and start a paradigm-shift with the clients. They encourage clients to take responsibility 
for everything for a while. Obviously this can lead to the other extreme, but the point is to first get out of the habit of blaming others. When we take responsibility ourselves it is more likely that we will act to correct it.Thinking in “All” or Nothing.” To overcome this you should be very precise in what you say. This is also how a lot of fights start with couples. Phrases like “You always do this” or “You never do that” lead to a skewed perception of reality. Instead think about how often something occurred in the last week or month and count the exact number. This will remove the extremist thinking, getting you closer to the solution of the problem

Originally posted on quora.com