Intuition. What is it?
Call it your gut, say it’s your instinct, but ultimately, it’s a sense of knowing, whether you can explain it by thought or fact. It’s just something you feel. You sense that something isn’t right, even though you cannot explain why.
Now, how often do you feel it and then ignore it? Your inner voice is talking to you, but you’re not listening because it doesn’t make sense.
Now, the majority of us recognize that our inner voice has value. The problem is we have no idea how to tune into it, how to hear it, and listen. It’s even more baffling to learn that there are people who can tap into it whenever they want. Half of the time, the problem is that we’re just not paying attention.
When we look back on our lives, we can recognize so many opportunities we’ve had to use it and been completely blind to it. Of course, it’s incredibly difficult to listen to a voice that’s not telling you what you want to hear.
Just remember that it is telling you what needs to be heard. It’s up to you to listen.
It’s Beyond Reason
Your intuition or your gut is essentially a storage of your instincts, senses, and experiences. Over the years, we have our lived experiences, the experiences we have watched, as well as observing our emotional and mental processes. It isn’t about logic, it’s not about reason, it’s about your feelings. It’s the ability to sense something coming before it does, even if you have no way to explain it.
All of your senses are involved. For example, you’re at a networking event and upon shaking someone’s hand you get a sense that you can’t trust them. You may be overwhelmed with intense feelings because you just know something is off. There is no logical reason, but you can feel it throughout your body. Do you listen to your instinct? Or, do you ignore it?
On the flip side, you may meet someone and be overwhelmed with a feeling of comfort. You know they’re okay.
Here’s the thing about our intuition. It speaks to us in different ways. Some people hear it, some people see it, others just feel it deeply. This intuition is speaking to you whether you’re listening or tapped into it or not.
Unfortunately, a lot of us dismiss our intuition because we fall into the trap of believing it’s fear.
The truth of the matter is, it can be confusing, which is why it’s so important that you learn to determine the difference between fear (and other emotions) and your gut speaking to you. If you don’t learn how to do this, then you’re going to miss out on a variety of opportunities. They’re going to speed right by you, and you will continually wonder why nothing ever goes your way. It is, you just keep missing it!
The overwhelming feeling you get and write off as just a feeling, it’s your inner guidance system and often, it’s simply trying to lead you to the right path or away from danger. Negative emotions and fear often express themselves in physical ways. It may be sweating, racing heart, aggressiveness or a simple adrenaline rush. It’s the fight or flight feeling of needing to run, having to hide, and avoid the danger.
Either way, you can allow it to dictate your decisions. Following your gut leaves you feeling relieved, while fear chases opportunity away.
That isn’t to say that intuition won’t provide you with the same rush that fear does, which is why you have to learn to differentiate between the two.
You can’t improve your ability to tune into intuition until you learn to shut the noise out of your life. Tuning into your intuition requires you to slow down! You have to listen and sometimes, the only way to do that is through solitude.
Step away from the busy life you lead and find some quiet time. A brief walk, a moment of meditation, time spent practicing yoga. All of these are acts of solitude that can help you get in touch with your intuition.
Try the following suggestions to improve your access to your gut.
Mindfulness isn’t as scary as you think it is. It’s also not what most people think it is. Mindfulness is simply being focused on the moment you’re in. It’s an excellent technique to weed out the distractions, to purge your brain of all the environmental noise.
When you learn how to do that, then you will start to hear your intuition loud and clear. It’s the ultimate way to befriend yourself.
Your literal gut is lined with neurons. You have likely heard it referred to as a second brain. Research suggests that intuition is far more than a feeling, it’s a physical presence within your gut (*).
Some people believe that the reason we get physically sick is that we’re acting against our intuition. Or because we have to deal with a situation to make tough decisions. Or because we make a bad decision.
That might be too far for you to buy into. However, in tense situations, in difficult moments, your intuition is your coach.
- Dream Well
Your brain process information overnight. When you fall asleep your brain downloads, processes information, refreshes, and resets. Your dreams are filled with the memories, learning, and experiences of your day.
Dreams can provide you with information you can’t access during your waking hours. So, before you fall off to sleep you should directly consider unresolved issues. Think about the possible solutions as you fall asleep, let your brain and dreams take care of the rest.
- Enjoy It
Do you know someone who is amazing at following their intuition? You look at them and you wish you could be as confident as they are. You wish you could believe your inner voice the same way they do, but you’re too busy valuing logic and reason.
Of course, these are helpful in a wide variety of situations, but sometimes you have to allow your intuition to override. There’s a big difference between applying logic and reason to completely run your intuition over.
Let’s use an example to highlight the importance of hearing your intuition. Try to place yourself in the example to feel what’s happening.
You’re checking your emails and your heart sinks as you spot the name of a difficult client. Anxiety, dread, confusion, frustration coarse through your body as all happiness and energy seeps out of your pores.
It only gets worse as you read the message, adrenalin flooding your system. One question flashes through your brain, like an angry neon light on a darkened street.
What do I do?
You don’t know.
The email is from a client you have been working with for a long time. It’s something who makes you unhappy and has done for a long time, all because they don’t listen. They demand, they insist, they speak to you rudely, and it doesn’t matter what you give them, they always want more.
As you read the email over and over you realize it’s time to make a decision. Can you really go on like this? Can you continue to deal with this client? While they helped you establish yourself in the business, it seems too much. You rely on the income they provide, and cash is tight, but it’s a lot.
What do I do?
The only thing you can do is listen to your intuition, but to do that you have to take a step back and take time for yourself. Go outside and take a walk, take a beat to meditate, grab your yoga mat and find a quiet spot.
So, you do just that.
24 hours later you find yourself contacting the client to explain. You believe it’s time to move on, that there is someone better suited to their needs. It’s time for you to move forward.
There’s a good chance you will struggle but being free of a toxic client will allow you the time to find a more appropriate client. They may just fall into your lap.
When your feet hit the sidewalk after the conversation you feel as though you’re walking on sunshine. You find a sense of peace, there’s a quiet, calm understanding. More importantly, there’s clarity. Your intuition was speaking to you and you honored it.
When a situation distresses you, you have to divorce yourself from it. Often, we force ourselves to continue. Your body is breaking down, your soul is screaming, and yet, you ignore your intuition and push on regardless. That’s not the way to honor your instinct.
Start listening to your body, listen to your intuition, and let go of negative feelings. By doing so you create fresh space, space for new experiences, people, adventures, and places. You will know it’s right because when you make the right call the weight that lifts from your shoulders is enormous.
When you honor your gut, you will find your happiness and energy returning to you in abundance. You know, with certainty, that it’s the right call. Your intuition has served as your compass and it hasn’t let you down.
It becomes more difficult to tune into your intuition, though, when the noise of life becomes overwhelming. We are faced with so much information and clutter that it’s difficult to overcome distractions.
How To Listen To And Honor your Intuition
In every situation, making space is the right choice. Breathing space is everything, whether it’s a walk in the park, meditating, hiking or, something else. By doing something you love, something that calms you down, this is the time to indulge it. It’s all about providing your mind with the space to wander in order to hear your intuitive voice.
Sometimes it’s just easier to push your feelings away and ignore them. We push them aside when a seemingly easier option presents itself. Why? It might be that we’re scared of a change in direction, it could be fear of saying no or perhaps being terrified of failure.
For whatever reason, the choice to ignore your intuition is stealing your chance at happiness. When something doesn’t feel right, you should be moving in the opposite direction, not going with the flow because you’re scared of the alternative. It’s keeping you down.
You have to be honest with yourself about unsettled feelings and what that means for you.
A journal is the answer to a lot of life’s problems. In terms of listening to your gut, a journal is an excellent way to tune into your intuition. Your journal is a safe space. It’s a spot to allow you to let your emotions out and vent.
It’s a place for you to work through your issues and problems. It’s somewhere for you to safely process your thoughts, discover, and understand yourself.
When you’re struggling with following your intuition, take a moment to journal. If you don’t have one, just grab a pen and paper or open a word document and get typing.
Allow yourself the space to explore your feelings, look at the big picture, and reflect on your situation. It’s a great way to work through blocks and allow your intuition to lead the way. Just let it pour out.
Let’s think of intuition as your sixth sense. You can improve it by honing your five senses. So, spend time daily trying to notice everything you possibly can with those five senses. A good opportunity for this is when you’re eating or hanging out in nature. There is plenty to smell, see, touch, taste, and hear.
Like meditation, expressing your creative side is a great way to quiet your cognitive mind and invite your intuition out. We already mentioned journaling, but coloring, painting, drawing or scrapbooking are also great.
You step outside. The forecast hasn’t predicted rain, but you can feel it in the air.
Everyone is putting bets on the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, but you have a hunch the outside tip is a winner.
You go on a double date with your best friend and you can just sense their new partner is off. When you get a hunch, take it for a test-drive. Make a note of it somewhere and check in to see how often you get it right.
Do you ever get a nasty sick feeling in your stomach?
Do you get saddled with a terrible headache or find yourself running to the bathroom more often?
Do you feel weighed down?
Sure, you could have picked up a bug, but there’s a good chance that it’s stress. Stress often comes when we refuse to listen to our intuition. So, don’t be afraid to consult your body and think about where you are in life.
Some IBS patients suffer as a result of dietary choices, but others point to stress. When the stress flares up, so does their bowel issue.
Do yourself a favor and start paying attention to what your body is telling you – it’s your intuition giving you hints.
Sometimes you have to escape from your routine and allow new surroundings to help you reconnect with yourself. This is particularly true when you’re overly busy. You need an escape to find the quiet that will allow your intuition to speak.
The natural world has a lot to offer. It provides you a technology-free space, it injects you with energy and provides you an opportunity to soak up nature’s beauty. Sometimes, the quiet of nature is exactly what you need to tap into your intuition.
Think of a negative experience you have been through in the past, but not too far in the past. Go back to before the negative experience occurred. Did you have feelings that were urging you to avoid the situation, a gut feeling that you ignored? Maybe you had a vision or dream or just a feeling that something wasn’t right? But you went ahead anyway.
Think about it in as much detail as you possibly can. The more in touch you can get with the intuition that was warning you, the most you’ll trust it in the future.
Don’t Think It – Feel It
Your mind is always on, there’s a constant stream of chatter going on. Sometimes, it feels as though your inner voice is in there arguing. While the mind is busy thinking, your intuition is busy feeling.
That’s the way to differentiate between whether you’re following your intuition or giving in to fear. If you’re thinking it’s likely fear, if you’re feeling, then it’s likely intuition.
Your intuition will never allow you to stray from your values, but your mind will. Before you act, ask yourself if you’re acting in a way that aligns with your values. Sometimes the best way to figure out what your intuition sounds or feels like is to understand what it isn’t.
Play an instrument, fold towels, jog, chop vegetables or dance. All of these actions are repetitive, and repetition can provide your cognitive mind the calm it needs to allow your intuition to speak.
Before you meet or speak to someone, try to glean information from people. Observe them, feel their energy, simply pay attention to everything about them before you introduce yourself and get to know them. When you observe you learn and know more than you could via your cognitive mind.
If you feel your intuition speaking to you, if you feel its guiding hand, don’t brush it off. Do not dismiss it by calling yourself crazy. Often, your intuition and cognitive mind will lock themselves in a battle to override each other.
Your cognitive mind is refusing to trust your intuition and trying to convince you to rationalize yourself out of relying on your intuition.
You have to release your resistance and let go of the logic that’s holding you back. There is a time and place for applying logic and reason, but don’t disregard the importance of your intuition. It’s your guiding light in this life.
There is no voice more powerful than your intuition. Unfortunately, as powerful as it is it might not be loud enough. It needs a calm, quiet environment to make itself heard. It’s important to learn where you are most at peace.
When you’re dealing with difficult times you should seek that peace and tune into your intuition. It’s there to support you, it’s there to guide you, to serve as your compass, but you have to provide it with the space to be heard.
The culture we live in obsesses over control. No one enjoys feeling uncertain, so we try our best to micromanage every situation. We look at everything that could possibly go wrong and we try to guard against disaster. It’s exhausting. Isn’t it? In fact, it might even be making you sick!
If you view fear as your protector, it’s time to flip the script. It isn’t fear that protects you. Fear holds you back. Fear keeps you captive. It won’t make you happy. Intuition is your protector. It’s far more trustworthy and powerful than fear. Just like any other life skill, it’s something that you can cultivate.
We hope that you find the advice above helpful and that you can successfully cultivate your intuition to improve your life.