It’s two in the morning and you’ve just turned off the horror movie you’ve watched for the last two hours. It wasn’t great, but you just couldn’t seem to stop watching it. You’re exhausted and can hardly keep your eyes open as you head towards your bedroom. For some reason, you feel tense as you walk up those stairs and you just can’t help thinking, what if there’s someone around the next corner, waiting to “get you”. As you continue to walk, it gets worse; now you hear a noise. You ask yourself, did I really hear that or is it just because I’m tense over that stupid movie? You keep walking along, and now you hear another noise that definitely sounds like it’s coming from the roof. Now you ask yourself, could I really be hearing this stuff? It’s got to be the movie, right? Now you’re nervous and doubting yourself and you really don’t know what to do next.
Well, let me break something to you. If you heard noises—you heard them; they’re there. When we’re tense we are more in tune to whatever is happening around us. It’s a hyper-vigilant physical reaction that nature instills in all of us–to help us survive. We become hyper-aware. We hear and see things much more clearly. Regarding this example, you may have heard those same noises before, however, at that time, you thought nothing of it; not perceiving it as a threat and unconsciously skipping right over it.
So how best do we handle noises that go bump in the night?
• Know this: At night there may be no television or radio noise, little or no automobile traffic sounds, no sounds from lawnmowers or children playing outside, just silence.
When there’s silence, every little sound can be heard, such as the natural creaky sounds of a house that may be settling or reacting to the weather, to the sounds of the wind, or animals that may be near to—or actually on your home. As a policeman, I answered more calls than I can remember of people hearing noises in or around their homes at night. By far, the vast majority of those calls were caused by easily explained non-threatening phenomenon such as the ones mentioned above.
• When you are hypersensitive because of a scary movie you’ve watched or a crime report you may have heard about (happening in another area) remember this tip: TELL yourself you will be CALM and you will assess the particulars of the sounds you hear. You may be saying to yourself that being calm is easier said than done. Not true! Calm does not mean not feeling nervous or not being scared or tense. It means being calm to the point of assessing and reacting. You CAN do that and it’s not as hard as some people think. It starts with affirming that you will be a tad slower, calmer and in control to assess what is occurring. When you hear that concerning noise, tell yourself that you will be calm in assessing it and handling the noise. By doing this you’re actually helping your mind and body react together in an intelligent way to deal with stress. When you prep yourself this way your intelligence intertwines with your animal instincts. You are helping yourself by giving specific direction to deal with that stress. Again, AFFIRM that you will be calm and see things as they actually are and you’ll react appropriately. Do not sway from that affirmation no matter what.
• Always keep your doors and windows locked no matter where you live. I’ll offend some people hear but if you live in America and you don’t lock your doors (at least) at night—you’re being stupid. We live in a mobile society where a great neighborhood can be 25 minutes away from a terrible one. The reason builders put locks on doors and windows is to lock them. Do it!
• If you hear noises outside, turn outside lights on. Criminals are like cockroaches and do not like light, and most likely, if there’s something out there, they will leave.
• If common sense or calm assessing of noises shows you there’s the possibility of danger, call the police or take self-defense measures that you should consider now before something may occur with you or yours.
Most nighttime noises simply are nothing to be concerned with. However, there are the very serious sounds that can be caused by criminals. That’s why it’s the best course of action to remind yourself that you can handle anything that comes your way–when utilizing calm judgment.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
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