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The Power of Visualisation in a Risky Situation

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

The Power of Visualisation goes beyond what you might think.

Finding yourself in a risky or threatening situation is a terrifying moment. Your mind can easily go into overdrive. A clear mind and logical thinking can quickly go out the window which can easily escalate the situation at hand. Even though this is a difficult situation to handle and there is no way to predict what will happen, there are ways you can try to reduce the risk of something happening or a situation becoming more volatile. 

It is vital to your safety to understand that there is more you can do to protect yourself that goes beyond your physical protection. Unfortunately, in South Africa in this day and age, this is becoming more and more important for women to focus on.

Sexual Crime Statistics in South Africa

The statistics on crimes relating to sex and involving women are terrifying. An article in The Citizen summarised some of the crime statistics in South Africa from 2018-2019.

According to this article, a sexual offence is a broad crime category that includes rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, bestiality, statutory rape and the sexual grooming of children. In 2018/19, the number of reported sexual offences increased from 50 108 (in 2017/18) to 52 420. Sadly, the majority of these were cases of rape.

Total sexual offences recorded in South Africa in 2018/19

Crime statistics

Rape: 41 583

Sexual assault: 7 437

Attempted sexual offences: 2 146

Contact sexual offences: 1 254

Total: 52 420

Looking at these statistics, finding ways to defend yourself is the only way to make sure you will be safe. This is when the power of visualisation becomes an important asset. Learning how to control a situation rather than fight it can sometimes be more beneficial.

What is the power of visualisation?

The power of visualisation doesn’t always mean visualising how you want to achieve your goals and visualising your five-year plan. In this instance, the power of visualisation consists of but using the power of visualisation to perceive and predict possible situations that can happen before they do.

This is about taking note of absolutely everything around you. It might sound odd or a little over dramatic but being completely aware of the people and potential threats that surround you can save you from a very dangerous situation. The true power of visualisation comes from not only seeing a potential threat but from imagining how you would get yourself out of the situation before it’s even happened yet.

How to use the power of visualisation

It’s terrifying never knowing what may or may not happen to you. We live in a constant state of fear that at any given time, we may come into harm’s way.

These visualisation and awareness techniques could potentially help you avoid a risky or unsafe situation:


  1. Stop: we’re so busy that we don’t actually take note of what’s going on around us. This is where you are cognizant of your surroundings and the people within them.

  2. Look: once you’ve had the time to stop, you need to look at each and every person in your close proximity, what they could potentially do and their possible intentions.

  3. Assess: once you’ve identified possible threats, this is when you can assess the situation and see what you’re going to do and how you can protect yourself.

  4. Manage: this may be the hardest part but this is when you need to manage how you feel, take a breath and decide how you’re doing to manage the situation and prevent it before it happens.

Use your intuition

Sometimes your gut feeling is right. Use your intuition to avoid threatening situations. For example, your intuition will probably tell you it’s not safe to go out alone at night, this makes you vulnerable. Thus, you would have avoided a risky situation by listening to your gut instinct.

situational awareness

Learn to know what to look for

Often criminals have tell-tale signs, you need to learn to identify these characteristics and how to avoid unsafe circumstances.

This could be in the sense of how someone is dressed (are they possibly concealing something or are they hiding an element of themselves). How people are acting is also a big indicator, are they behaving slightly erratic or are they being a little sketchy?

By identifying worrying traits in others, you can identify how to avoid a situation easier.

Focus on your own body language and reactions

You need to always appear confident and in control – this is a deterrent. And even though it is very difficult, you need to focus on keeping your mind clear and alert without feeling the need to make irrational decisions.

The SLAM concept can help you manage the way that you’re thinking and feeling. By taking a moment to assess what is going on around you, you give yourself the time to manage your own thought process and the reactions associated with this.

We know that it is difficult to manage the outcome of every situation so it is still important to learn how to protect yourself.

How to protect yourself

In this day and age, it is imperative that you keep yourself safe and reduce your own level of risk. This can be done by:

  1. Always be aware of your surroundings – stay vigilant

  2. Never pull over when someone points at your car, claiming that something is wrong

  3. Always remember to lock your doors when driving or when you’re home alone

  4. Limit distractions in parking lots – put your phone away

  5. Never leave your bag or personal belongings unattended

  6. Make eye contact with other pedestrians

  7. Hit the body parts that are the most tender if you have to defend yourself against an attacker – their weaknesses are your strength

situational awareness

Keep in mind though, no matter how many self-defence classes you go to and no matter how hard you try to physically prepare yourself for a situation, your mind is a powerful thing. If your mind is erratic, it will be impossible to think clearly about to manage a situation. Learning about the power of visualisation and how to mentally prepare yourself for a situation will make the world of difference. For more information on how to maximise your safety and security, feel free to contact us.

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