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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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angry monster

How to Steer Clear of Danger

The world is a safe and neutral and secure place, my home a safe haven. People are full of good intentions, and danger only comes to those who are looking for it. That's what my younger self thought. And then … age happens. And that's when you realize that is not always the case.

Some thoughts are not good right before bed. That's why I long ago gave up watching the 11 o'clock news, which is oftentimes filled with stories of violence, sadness or tragedy.

It just doesn't make for a good night's rest. I much prefer a peaceful book or the sound of my noise machine cradling my nerves with its serene sounds of ocean waves or a waterfall.

But the past few nights, I've broken my promise to myself and done two things that are knotting up my bed sheets with all my tossing and turning: one, I watched back-to-back, catch-up episodes of a new series on Showtime called "Homeland," a suspenseful cat-and-mouse whodunit (or more like who's-going-to-do-it) that I am absolutely addicted to, involving the CIA, terror threats and mind games.

The other thing? I'm reading the new book, Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Feelings Betray Us, and I'm having trouble putting it down. A collaboration between Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, a retired FBI profiler, and writer Alisa Bowman, it's both eye-opening and provocative—kind of a life guide to staying safe. Don't get me wrong: it's an important book, filled with advice that could protect you or even save your life. But, you might not want to read it right before bed.

Here are just a handful of the many myths about myself that this book has debunked:

  1. By now, I've had enough life experience to be able to make sensible and sound judgments: size up someone, pick out the liar or steer clear of the psychopath in the crowd.
  2. Most people are well-intentioned and trustworthy. And if I'm nice, no one will take advantage of me.
  3. If an intruder comes into my house while I am sleeping, I know how best to handle myself.
  4. I know how to get the truth out of my husband and find out if he is cheating on me.
  5. I know how to tell if someone is lying.
  6. If I'm hiring someone to do work in my house, it's enough to ask someone for a recommendation by asking a few questions like, "What did you think of him?" and "What kind of job did he do?"
  7. Just because someone is friendly, comes from a good family and looks harmless, they're safe.
  8. Trusting my gut is good enough.
  9. Body language speaks volumes. If someone has his or her hands crossed over her chest, she is defensive, closed-minded and a bad communicator.
  10. I know how to handle myself during an emotional conversation.

It's clear I still have a lot to learn.

And the old saying, "forewarned is forearmed," couldn't be further from the truth.

You might also want to read:
Is Being Healthy a Choice?
Medication Safety and Your Child

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