Trust your gut feeling.

A sixth sense, hunch, instinct, intuition, or gut feeling: Whatever you choose to call it, the sudden flash of insight from deep within can inspire plenty of faith. It is your immediate understanding of something; there’s no need to think it over or get another opinion—you just know.

Following your instinct can certainly direct you toward the best path for you. And yet, you might wonder whether you should put so much trust in a feeling, an instinct you can’t explain. Science suggests intuition can be a valuable tool in some circumstances.

What do ‘gut feelings’ actually feel like?

Ever experienced a nagging feeling of unease about a situation? Suddenly felt suspicious about someone you just met? You can’t explain your feelings logically, but you know something isn’t quite right.

Signs of a gut feeling

  • a flash of clarity

  • hearing some kind of voices inside your head

  • tension or tightness in your body

  • goosebumps or prickling

  • stomach “butterflies” or nausea

  • a sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach

  • sweaty palms or feet

  • thoughts that keep returning to a specific person or situation

  • feelings of peace, safety, or happiness (after making a decision)

These feelings tend to come on suddenly, though they aren’t always strong or overwhelming.

Listening to your intuition helps you avoid unhealthy relationships and situations. Throughout your life, many people will have ideas about what’s best for you, some held with good intentions and some coming from a place of deceitful, harmful, selfish intent. It’s sometimes hard to tell which category someone falls into, but if you put aside all of those external opinions and instead listen to the advice of your own intuition, it will guide you to what is truly best for you.

What Gets in the Way of your Intuition?

Overthinking: Since intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning,” overthinking is one of the biggest interferers. Putting excessive thought into every decision and walking through countless scenarios and outcomes can lead you away from your gut instinct, especially when you’re overthinking in order to rationalize or justify something.

Prejudices & Unconscious biases: They operate from quick judgments that the brain automatically makes based on past experiences, stereotypes, and background instead of based on reason or actual experience. As a result it becomes difficult to follow your gut feeling.

When you badly want something: When you’re really hungry for something, whether love, acceptance, children, social status, or something else, your strong desire to fill that gaping need can cause you to overlook or ignore any red flags along the way.

How to Cultivate Your Intuition?

Practicing the following steps will help you hone your feeling of intuition in your body and bring it to the forefront to guide you through important situations.

1.Slowing down helps you better recognize and process the information you receive, not only in your mind but also in your body. To do so, you must mentally and physically clear away the clutter. It could also mean stepping away from a situation in order to gain further clarity, for instance taking a vacation before making a career change or spending some time apart from a significant other to determine if you’re right for each other. Explore meditation, yoga, mindful breathing exercises, and other practices that move your focus from darting thoughts into a deeper space of calm and centered focus within you.

2. Notice Sensations in Your Body

Intuition is grounded within the sensations inside of the body, so learning to recognize what’s going on within your body—i.e. what you’re feeling—is key to developing your intuition.

3. Focus on You

Ask yourself, “What do I really need here? What’s important for me?” This is one of those times when it should be all about you, so give yourself full permission to do so. If you find your focus shifting to other people and their needs, notice and purposefully return your attention back to being curious about what you need and want, because that is where you will find your intuition; concentrating on these needs helps to more easily pave the pathway there. Your intuition is part of your highest, wisest self, so make sure the focus is squarely on you.

4. Take Action

The feeling of intuition is like an ocean current navigating you toward a purposeful life. Once you discover it, you still need to jump in a boat and set sail in order to derive its full value. After you answer the question “What do I need right now?”, do something to give yourself what you need. . Small steps can actually be beneficial at first to gradually build trust with your intuitive self whom you may be meeting for the first time or becoming reacquainted with after an unhealthy relationship separated you. What’s important is that you are following your intuition.

Remember that trusting your intuition is a journey which will lead you back through these steps often as circumstances change and life continues to move onwards. Trusting your intuition is the ultimate act of trusting yourself. Thank you.

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