People often say “Go with your gut”, “Trust your instincts”, “Follow your intuition” and “Listen to your inner voice.” But, what is this inner voice? How do we hear it?
The brain does all the thinking, analysing, decision making etc and there are words associated with it all which we have been trained to understand. However, the instinct or the gut communicates in terms of “feelings” and “sensations”. Think about the times when you were afraid, nervous, excited or spooked. Even before your brain analyses what is happening, your body has already evaluated the situation and given you a message. It comes in the form of a tingling sensation, butterflies in the tummy, sweaty palms, tightened jaw, quickened heart beats or breathing. Haven’t you said or heard something like – “I just know it” or “I have a bad feeling about this”. We are not able to explain the feeling or rationalise it. Our education system is designed to teach us to focus on the thinking brain, but we have lost touch with our ‘feeling’ brain, the gut!
“Trust your hunches. They are usually based on facts filed away below the conscious level” – Joyce Brothers
Intuition seems like a mysterious, magical thing which is out of our reach. In truth, everyone has the faculty of intuition. Our intuition is shaped by our past experiences, and our existing knowledge which we gained from them. The human brain consists of two parts, the conscious mind, which we have control over, and the subconscious mind, which we have little control over. The human brain processes huge amounts of information, most of which is done subconsciously. Therefore, intuitive thinking, which arises from the subconscious, can be extremely powerful, giving us access to information that is not within the grasp of our conscious mind.
You can learn to recognize your intuitive senses; it is just a matter of paying attention and tuning in. Practice slowing down, clear the clutter and pay attention to the sensations in your body. Explore meditation, mindfulness, yoga and other practices that move your focus from darting thoughts into a deeper space of calm and centered focus within you. Consider your intuition as a muscle to strengthen. With practice and frequent use, it will become more powerful and better serve its purpose of guiding you. The more you learn to tune in, the more powerful and accurate it will become. People with higher emotional intelligence are able to use their instinct better as they are more aware of their emotions and the sensations in their body.
Gut feeling decision making is when we are able to integrate the information processed by the brain with the inputs provided by the gut to arrive at a decision; it becomes very powerful.
The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.
Khyati Shah is a Transformation Coach and seasoned professional dedicated to helping people overcome limiting beliefs and balance the demands of life and career more effectively. You can reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org.