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Burn with Kearns: Situational Awareness vs. Paranoia – Kevin Kearns

by Kevin Kearns, contributing writer on exercise and fitness

Situational Awareness vs. Paranoia: A Guide for College-Age Girls and Their Parents

Transitioning to college is an exciting and transformative time for young women. It’s a period filled with new experiences, independence, and opportunities. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges and risks. Understanding the difference between situational awareness and paranoia is crucial for maintaining safety and confidence during this pivotal phase. Coach Kevin Kearns’ “Self Defense 4 U’ ” principles provide valuable insights and practical strategies to help young women navigate this balance effectively.

Understanding Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend information about the environment to anticipate and respond to potential threats. It involves being mindful of your surroundings and recognizing anomalies that could indicate danger. This proactive approach empowers individuals to act decisively and confidently.

Key Aspects of Situational Awareness:

  1. Observation: Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice people, objects, and activities around you. Use your senses to gather information.
  2. Assessment: Evaluate the situation. Determine if anything seems out of place or poses a potential risk.
  3. Decision-Making: Based on your assessment, decide on the best course of action. This might involve leaving the area, seeking help, or preparing to defend yourself.
  4. Action: Implement your decision calmly and assertively. Trust your instincts and prioritize your safety.

Avoiding Paranoia

Paranoia, on the other hand, is an irrational and excessive distrust of others. It can lead to anxiety, stress, and impaired judgment. While situational awareness is rooted in realism and preparedness, paranoia stems from fear and suspicion.

Symptoms of Paranoia:

  • Constantly feeling threatened without substantial evidence.
  • Overreacting to harmless situations.
  • Isolating oneself due to fear.
  • Experiencing persistent anxiety about personal safety.

“Self Defense 4 U ” Principles by Coach Kevin Kearns

Coach Kevin Kearns emphasizes a balanced approach to personal safety through his “Be Your Own Bodyguard” principles. These principles are designed to enhance confidence and situational awareness without succumbing to paranoia.

1. Trust Your Gut Instinct: Your intuition is a powerful tool. If something feels off, it probably is. Trusting your gut can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations before they escalate.

2. Maintain a Confident Demeanor: Confidence can deter potential threats. Walk with purpose, make eye contact, and exude self-assurance. Predators are less likely to target someone who appears strong and aware.

3. Establish Boundaries: Clearly define your personal space and be assertive in maintaining it. Don’t hesitate to speak up if someone makes you uncomfortable.

4. Stay Connected: Maintain regular communication with friends and family. Let them know your plans and whereabouts. This network of support can be crucial in an emergency.

5. Learn Basic Self-Defense: Equip yourself with basic self-defense skills. Knowing how to protect yourself can boost your confidence and provide practical means of defense if needed.

6. Avoid Distractions: Stay focused on your surroundings. Avoid being overly absorbed in your phone or other distractions, especially in unfamiliar or potentially risky environments.

7. Plan Ahead: Think ahead about your safety. Plan routes, identify safe places, and have a contingency plan in case something goes wrong.

Practical Tips for Parents

Parents play a vital role in reinforcing these principles and helping their daughters navigate this stage safely.

Open Communication: Maintain an open dialogue about safety. Encourage your daughter to share her experiences and concerns.

Empower, Don’t Scare: Focus on empowering your daughter with knowledge and skills rather than instilling fear. Confidence and preparedness are key.

Provide Resources: Offer resources such as self-defense classes or workshops on situational awareness.

Encourage Independence: While safety is paramount, it’s also important to encourage independence and self-reliance. Balance guidance with trust.


Navigating the line between situational awareness and paranoia is essential for college-age girls as they embark on their journey toward independence. By adopting Coach Kevin Kearns’ “Self Defense 4 U” ” principles, young women can enhance their personal safety while maintaining confidence and peace of mind. For parents, fostering a supportive and communicative environment will further empower their daughters to thrive in this new chapter of their lives. Remember, the goal is to be prepared and aware, not fearful.



Read ALL articles by Kevin Kearns – here: BURN WITH KEARNS

Both of Coach Kearns’ books may be purchased on For more information about Coach Kevin Kearns, including scheduling speaking engagements and classes (both online and in person), please contact him at 508-404-8503 or [email protected].Author of “There’s Light In The Tunnel” How to Survive and Thrive with Depression  – “Always Picked Last“ A guide to navigating bullies on Amazon and Audible

Coach Kevin Kearns has been coaching in the world of fitness, nutrition, and tactical self defense for over 3 decades. As the former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pro Fighters, and ranked in the Top 5 in the UFC , he is no stranger to the the importance of proper nutrition and proper mindset programming. He has long advocated to all his clients – athletes or the general population – about the importance of programming mind, body and spirit. Coach Kevin Kearns BS FMS CPT – Former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pros Ranked in Top 5 by the UFC Personal Fitness Coach, Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant, Youth Wellness Program Provider, Certification Specialist, Personal Self Defense, and Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics Specialist.

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