We all recognize that feeling we get when in our gut we know that something is right for us, or maybe even wrong. There is no concrete reason for this, other than a deep feeling. This is our gut instinct or intuition.
“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business- everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is the emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.” David Lynch
A while back I wrote about eating intuitively, and I decided today to expand on this concept of intuition. Intuition is about acknowledging, listening to, and following those feelings we know as gut-feelings, inner knowing, or awareness.
I recognize that the more I listen to my intuition, the better my life turns out. In fact, I chide myself when I don’t follow my intuition, because it regularly comes back to bite me- in a sense.
I am not the only one focusing more on intuition. Researchers and scientists have labeled our gut as our second brain, acknowledging that over 100 million neurons are linked to our digestive tracts and thus are filled with information. These neurons have the capability to process so much of what happens to us (Wilding, 2018).
Our gut, among other parts of our bodies, is essential to our intuition. Intuition guides us and helps us make decisions. I’ll tell you how to do it, but first give you a reason why it benefits us.
Decision fatigue happens when we feel overwhelmed by the amount of decisions we have to make in our day-to-day. We are responsible for our families, our partners, our work, and all of these areas of our lives come with decision-making. At times, decision-making is so tiresome that even trivial choices, such as what to wear and what to eat, become hard (Wildermuth, 2018).
To overcome decision fatigue, some people suggest automating some decisions, particularly those that revolve around a schedule. This reduces the number of decisions we make. It could mean wearing similar outfits every day or planning and cooking meals in advance.
It also involves recognizing what we need to get a better perspective before we make a choice. It is important to be self-aware and check-in with ourselves to recognize the right moment for us to make decisions. For instance, going for a walk to clear our heads. Or, making important decisions in the morning after a restful night’s sleep. Also, eating something sugary to boost mental energy (Wildermuth, 2018).
For me, this means learning how to tap into our intuition. The first step to do that is to get quiet.
Getting quiet can involve a myriad of practices, including sitting in silence, spending time in nature, taking a shower, meditating, going for a walk, going for a drive, or journaling. It is any practice that involves spending time alone and away from distractions to make sure our thoughts are calm and our feelings more prominent. This quiet allows us to become clear on what our intuition is telling us, Then, we consider how we truly feel about the situation.
Listen to Our Body & Our Feelings
When we are faced with making a decision, getting quiet can help us listen to our bodies and our feelings more clearly. We are used to checking items off our to-do lists and keeping ourselves active. This can mean we are too busy to listen to our body and our feelings, yet these hold the key to our intuition.
Our gut is at the heart of our intuition. When we get butterflies in our stomach with excitement and anticipation, we are accessing our gut. When we feel our hearts sink to our stomachs from remorse, regret, or dread, we are accessing our gut. Getting comfortable with what our gut is telling is important.
So is getting comfortable with how our hearts feel, our muscles, our heads. Many parts of our bodies are involved in our intuition. Our gut is perhaps more familiar to us, but the more comfortable we get to listening to our bodies, the more we identify other means that our bodies and feelings have to communicate with us. Perhaps we feel nervous and sweat, or we feel anxiety and get headaches, or we feel dread and our hearts beat faster.
Our bodies are in tune with our intuition much more closely than we are. When we feel illness, aches, tightness, headaches, or other forms of malaise, it is likely we have acted in ways that are not supportive to ourselves and our life purpose. When we feel ease, freedom, comfort, and security, it is likely we are acting in a way that is supportive.
The feelings and symptoms are different for everyone, yet they hold vital information. Identify with them, let them arise, and listen.
The Difference Between Good Fear & Warning
I feel it is important to explain the difference between feeling fear and getting a warning, and the more we work with our intuition the easier it becomes to discern the two.
Perhaps we are pursuing a dream that we’ve always wanted, but doubt and insecurities stop us from moving forward. We feel fear because we are moving in a direction that is unknown or different, and this fear is mixed with a sense of excitement. We know it is the right choice, but we feel that we don’t have everything ready, that conditions aren’t “perfect,” that we don’t have what it takes, or that it won’t be well received. These are normal feelings and are not signs of warning. They are pushing us out of our comfort zone to do what we need to achieve our dreams.
When we feel warnings, and our intuition is telling us not to move forward, we feel tightness, aches, pain, or discomfort. It may come across as suspicion and lack of trust. It isn’t that conditions aren’t perfect, but rather that the circumstances or situations aren’t quite right- something feels “off.” That is when we know our intuition is telling us to steer clear from this choice.
Learning to work with our intuition takes time and practice. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. When we don’t get it right, reflect on what our feelings were telling us, versus how we acted. When we get it right, do the same, so we learn to identify the signs of our inner knowing.
The more we practice the more comfortable we get with using our intuition. When we come to a decision that is “crazy” to others, yet it makes sense to us, we know we have fully trusted our intuition. I leave you with some quotes on intuition:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” Alan Alda
“There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.” Albert Einstein
Wildermuth, E. (2018). The science of decision fatigue. Michael Hyatt. Retrieved on December 4, 2018 from https://michaelhyatt.com/the-science-of-decision-fatigue/
Wilding, M. (2018). How to make better decisions by improving our intuition. Medium- Better Humans. Retrieved on December 4, 2018 from https://betterhumans.coach.me/how-to-make-better-decisions-by-improving-your-intuition-a5ede405d7af