Have you ever had a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach just before you’re about to do something?
You know, that overwhelming feeling that goes against every rational thought in your body – the one that’s REALLY hard to ignore?
What’s happened for you when you’ve ignored that feeling? I’ll bet at some point you’ve looked back and thought to yourself ‘I wish I’d listened to that feeling! I just knew it!’
Intuition is hard to define and even harder to explain. Yet, we can’t ignore the power of our gut feelings – because we have all experienced them before and they are always usually right. The huge advantage in learning to listen to the sounds of your intuition is swift, near perfect decision-making (and who wouldn’t want some of that?).
Science proves intuition is a real phenomenon
The exciting thing is, intuition is no longer looked at as a wacky pseudoscience – in-fact scientists are now acknowledging it as a credible process that can be explained. Researchers at Leeds University Business School examined a number of papers that concluded that intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process and retrieve information on a subconscious level.
So, what does that mean?! Well it basically means that intuition is the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make super fast decisions that cannot be consciously comprehended. Still confused? Here’s an example:
Researchers noted an incident with a Formula One driver who braked sharply as he reached a hairpin bend without knowing why. The action of braking saw him literally save his own life as he avoided hitting a pile-up of cars on the track ahead.
When researchers interviewed the driver afterwards it became clear that he had subconsciously picked up on the faces of the crowd as he approached the bend. Instead of screaming and shouting him on, their faces were panic stricken and frozen which resulted in the split second intuitive decision to slow down.
Now this makes sense right! Intuition is simply our brains working in their fastest most accurate gear.
As Albert Einstein put it:
“Intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.”
How do we use our intuition more effectively?
This is the tricky bit. How do we know for sure when we’re using our intuition and when we’re just experiencing regular feelings or desires?
For example how do we know the difference between negative thinking and intuition? What if that feeling is just your fear of failing? Or what if that feeling is just overly optimistic thinking? What if you’re just secretly hoping for what you feel to be true?
It can be hard to tell the difference between the subtleties of intuition and general thoughts or feelings – but it’s well worth investing some time into this one – because in my experience, intuition is never wrong.
Take notice the next time you experience intuition
Awareness is always the first step when it comes to understanding how we process information. Next time you experience intuitive feelings notice what makes them different from your regular feelings. What is it that makes you feel that this is intuition instead of a regular thought or feeling? Try to pick up on what feels different so that you can differentiate in the future. Get to know ‘your own’ intuitive process.
Ask yourself a question and notice the immediate response you get
The subconscious mind works at an extremely fast rate – so if you’re using your intuition correctly your first answer is likely to be the right one. If you find yourself over-thinking and analyzing then you are definitely out of the intuition zone and into the conscious thinking zone. To be intuitive, we need to have a clear mind free from analytical thoughts. If you find that scrambled, confused thoughts are getting in the way, take a moment to clear your mind and then repeat the question.
Does the thought or feeling linger?
For me, when I experience intuition, it’s like this nagging feeling that just doesn’t go away. I find that other regular thoughts will tend to disappear after some time, but when it’s intuition, it just lingers. Perhaps sit with your feelings for a while and notice if the feeling is so strong that there’s no sign of it dissipating. If it keeps coming back time after time, it’s more likely to be your intuition.
Is the thought or feeling something that you secretly want to happen?
I’ve played around with my own intuitive process for a while now and I often find that I usually get it wrong when I’m secretly wanting a certain outcome. If I’m trying to make a decision and every thought I have is the best-case scenario then perhaps this is just my desire – rather than an intuitive process! Try to separate from wanting a particular answer and being open enough to listen to your unbiased intuitive self.
Intuition often tells you what you don’t want to hear!
In my experience, instead of telling us what we want to hear, intuition will often tell us something that we’d rather not hear. Intuition can also often try to push you out of your comfort zone – so don’t be surprised if you feel a bit uncomfortable when you experience your intuition. I have found that ultimately, our intuition has our best interests at heart because it’s the most intelligent aspect of ourselves – but that may involve doing a few things that we find challenging.
Did the thought or feeling come completely out of the blue?
I find that when I experience a completely random thought or feeling out of the blue – this is often my intuition in motion. These thoughts usually don’t follow any conscious or rational thought process – and they come in very fast, which means that this is more likely to be your subconscious mind in action. Look for those irrational, out of the blue thoughts because they may be your intuition in disguise!
Write down intuitive thoughts
Start playing with your own intuitive process by noting down any intuitive feelings you get and then referring to them at a later date. Check in to see if your original intuitive thoughts were correct! The more you get to know how you personally access your own intuition, the easier it will be for you to recognize it in the future.
In addition to these tips I have a process that I use in one on one coaching sessions with clients to uncover what their personal intuitive process is. If you’ve had enough of ignoring your intuition and are keen to get to the bottom of how your intuitive process works then I would be happy to work with you on this. Just email me to discuss the possibility of arranging a one on one session.
Simple Life Strategy: How to Use Your Intuition to your Advantage
1. Become aware of what happens when you experience an intuitive thought or feeling. How is this different to other regular thoughts?
2. Ask yourself a question and notice the immediate response. Take care not to listen to any thoughts that show up after this point as this is likely to be analytical conscious thinking
3. Notice if the thought or feeling lingers. Do you find it keeps popping up out of the blue? Is it a nagging feeling or does it disappear?
4. Is the thought something you secretly want to happen? Could it just be you wishing for a good outcome?
5. Is the thought something that you don’t want to think about? Is it pushing you out of your comfort zone?
6. Did the thought or feeling come completely out of the blue? Is it illogical or strange?
7. Have some fun by noting down any intuitive thoughts and then referring back to them at a later date. Before long you will start to notice your own intuitive process!
Know someone who needs some intuition? Share this article with them!
Get in touch if you’re ready to work out your own intuitive process in a one on one coaching session.
More Simple Life Strategies:
- How Neuroplasticity Can Improve Your Intelligence
- 7 Tips for Better Communication
- How to Switch Off When you’re Really Stressed
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