Developing Your Intuition
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble
In her book “Developing Intuition”, Shakti Gawain explains that learning to follow your gut can sometimes feel a bit like living on the edge. In a sense, it’s learning to live without the false sense of security that comes from trying to control everything that happens to us.
Gradually, however, we become less afraid and more comfortable with uncertainty. We learn to enjoy not knowing. We start to realize that the overly analytical mind gives us a false sense of control, and is full of limitations because it’s not open to possibilities other than the ones our analytical brain has created.
An overly analytical brain is like a muscle that is too tight – it’s range is limited and as a result, you are prohibited from reaching further than you could, would, or should.
A few things to note about developing your intuition:
- Be 100% certain that the decisions you’re making are not coming from a place of ego, worry, judgement or fear. This can be the toughest step of them all considering the immediate judgements and reactions we make on an hourly basis.
- Intuition is best accessed when we are calm and settled. This is a key reason that deep breathing is a constant recommendation in your wellness program and why the Deep Breathing challenge is before the Intuition Challenge. As Frederick Dodson states in his book ‘Intuition Training’, “a racing mind is not effective, efficient, creative, or intelligent.”
- Know that intuition is seldom dramatic. It may be as simple as feeling “I want to do this” or “I don’t want to do that”.
- The only way to develop an intuitive ability is to practice, pay attention, and be willing to make mistakes.
Baby steps for developing your intuition
The easiest advice I can give about following your gut is to remember the quote: “The second you start analyzing is the second you stop following your gut.” Anytime you catch yourself overanalyzing, ruminating, getting caught up in emotion or past memories, or worrying about outcomes that haven’t happened, remember 3 things:
- overanalyzing is causing stress in your body and causes those stress hormones to flood your body as if your life was at risk,
- being stuck in your head is keeping you from being present and in the moment,
- being stuck in your head is keeping you from being able to listen to your gut (and your body), missing out on opportunities to make decisions and get signals from your body relating to your health.
If you’ve never really considered following your intuition before, you might not want to jump feet first and leave a job or relationship or sell your home and move to another country! Start out with these easy steps to get in the habit of following your gut and help build trust in your intuitive sense:
- When choosing a meal or snack, whether at home or in a restaurant, choose the first meal that appeals to you. Don’t overanalyze. This doesn’t mean your chocolate and french fry cravings get the best of you – remember, if you’re reaching for sweets or fatty foods, it’s an imbalance that needs to be addressed. And if you’re emotionally or habitually eating more than you should, take note of the emotion – stress, boredom, anger, fear, or others – that came up before you reached for that treat.
- When driving, take the route that feels most natural, regardless of traffic or whether you’ve taken it before.
- At the grocery store, choose the line up that appeals to you first. Don’t think twice!
- If you feel like calling a friend or family member, do it! They’d love to hear from you 🙂
- When making a decision about exercise, choose the option that feels right to you in the moment, not the one you “THINK” you should do.
- When choosing which Netflix series to watch, don’t overanalyze. Choose the program that appealed to you first. (Peaky Blinders is a good one, FYI!)
- When picking your outfit for the day, go with what you chose first. If you struggle with knowing what looks good, choose what makes you feel great 🙂
- If someone asks you to attend an event or make a commitment of some sort, answer with your first thought. If it’s a no, say no, and move on. Don’t feel guilty.
- When your phone rings, guess who it is before you know. How many times have you been thinking about someone and then they actually call?