Intuition is more than just a ‘gut feeling.’ Intuition is a subconscious but measurable perception and understanding of your environment and your place within it.
Intuition is a skill, and just like any skill, some people are better at it than others, and some are born naturally gifted. But also just like any skill, the more you tune in and practice, the better you can get.
In this article, we’ll explore expert opinions, perspectives, hard scientific data, and our own experiences when it comes to developing a deeper understanding of harnessing our Intuition.
Let’s Dive In.
What Is Intuition?
Many of us only pay attention to physical reality ignoring our intuition. We often only get concerned with what we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. We trust what’s detailed, present, actual, descriptive, and real.
We are practical beings and we naturally like to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings. But, what is it that happens when we catch a ‘vibe’ or sense something is wrong with-out any physical evidence?
According to experts at Psychology Today…,
“Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning. Intuition bridges the gap between the conscious and unconscious parts of our mind, and also bridges between instinct and reason.”
For example, how do we know when someone behind us is staring at us? Call it intuition.
- Intuition is the wiser inner voice that speaks to you and steers you in the right direction in life.
- Intuition is the feeling in your gut, an inner compass— that hunch about something that guides you to make good decisions ( that mostly turn out to be the “right” decisions.)
Intuition Vs. Instinct: What’s The Difference?
Intuition and instinct-these two words are often used interchangeably. Although they are broadly related in meaning, they have different roots in their meanings.
Intuition is defined as the natural ability or skill that helps us understand or know something without physical evidence or conscious reasoning.
Intuition prompts us to take certain actions in life and can often lead us in the “right” direction.
On the other hand, instinct is a biological tendency. It is an inborn reaction and an impulse we activate when our bodies naturally respond to certain triggers. Like how a baby knows to hold their breathe underwater.
We acquire instincts from generations of learned behavior as it relates to survival. It helps us anticipate interactions and act with-out having to stop and think.
The best example that describes instinct is the concept of mating. It has existed among our species for eons, and from that, humans were able to gain basic skills such as being able to “instinctively” distinguish between “yes” or “no” signals from the opposite gender.
Intuition Is A Skill, Not A Gift
To be clear, intuition is not some mystical gift blasted into your brain from the skies. It is a skill. Intuition is a skill just like any other that you can develop over time through life experiences, passive learning, practice, and deliberate upgrade of your self-awareness (your higher self).
The Science Behind Intuition
Many people have had unexplainable moments of intuition. Likely you’ve either directly experienced these moments or your heard stories from someone close to you.
With such illogical moments of grace, we are quick to believe that intuition has very little to do with science. Skeptics, especially the less philosophical lot, believe that intuition is purely lucky guesswork.
But, there’s actually a great deal of scientific literature to support the existence of intuition. You might start trusting your gut instincts more when you realize that it’s neurological.
According to an article from Cambridge University, our brains store information from past experiences. And as it processes new incoming information, it is wired to identify predictive patterns.
This means that your memory has a catalog of everything you’ve ever experienced, whether happy or sad. And, your intuition draws from this pool to subconsciously influence your choices.
In their quest to shed light on the origins of intuition, RIKEN Brain Institute researchers conducted MRI brain scans and determined that, indeed, the right part of the brain has a hand in intuition.
According to the researchers, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is the brain region that acts as the storage unit for your previous experiences, including painful mistakes, regrets, and rewarding moments. Seemingly, this is the brain region that bridges to your intuition.
As it turns out, your brain predicts the aftermath of events in your life by continuously comparing the influx of sensory information and your recent experiences against the already stored knowledge of past experiences.
11 Tips For Tapping Into Your Intuition
Intuition is a powerful and important tool and an undervalued skill that’s vitally important for success in life. learning how to connect with your own intuition can get you through impactful decisions and the everyday “trivial” stuff in life, like what outfit to wear.
This is the power of intuition. If you learn to trust, listen, and follow your intuition, you can always make better decisions!
For many, it’s normal to struggle to connect to your intuition. After all, with all the pressures of this fast-moving world, anything (like a phone screen for example) can easily block you from accessing your intuition.
Luckily, there are ways to unlock your intuition.
1. Take Time To Relax (Alone)
Tap out of the bustling world around you and get comfortable somewhere, alone and in silence. Take time to catch up with yourself, which means no phone, no social media, no friends, and no distractions. In your solitude, close your eyes, listen to yourself breathe, allow yourself to get lost inside yourself, and just BE.
The intuitive pings that pop-up when you let yourself go where your mind wanders will surprise you.
2. Listen To Your Body
Honing your intuitive voice requires a heightened sense of self-understanding. You’ll be able to give labels to your thoughts, sensations, experiences, and feelings if you start paying attention to what your body says.
Are you self-aware? How do you feel? Are you nervous? Do you feel drained, heavy, or sad? Has an experience drained your energy levels? Are you content?
Stay committed to listening to your body, and you might just catch it as it picks certain cues around you.
3. Learn To Be Still
Silence can be soft and still, yet so loud. Learn to quieten the mind and stay still even when surrounded by chaos.
The power of intuition depends on how well you can extract sound from silence. Sometimes, the warning signs aren’t too far out of reach, just that you are too busy to notice them.
If you want to hone your intuition, then shut up and listen!
4. Play Intuitive Games
You can deliberately amplify your intuition, and there are some fun ways to do so.
Some people might look nearly perfect dressed up, but everyone has that “giveaway.” Try picking a spot, sit down and watch a flow of people pass by you. Don’t stalk; just observe people from afar.
Being able to pick someone’s characteristics by observing them is one fun way to be present, mindful, connect with people in your environment, and hone your intuition.
What is this person feeling? Do they have any insecurities or hobbies? Is that person ill? What could be the other’s favorite food? People watching can nurture curiosity and slowly build your intuitiveness.
Did you know that you read an image and pick up on the energy it transmits? For example, you can look at someone’s photograph and pick their personality, body-language, situation, mood, and general traits. What’s their vibe?
Find a partner to do this with. Let them hold a picture of someone they know very well, but you don’t. Write down the impressions you get, whether they make sense or not.
The world will open up to you if you learn to look at a picture, trust the sensations it evokes, and be able to see beyond the image.
Don’t rush to pick up your phone when it rings. Pause and try to figure out the caller before checking their ID.
What’s the impression you are getting? How is it streaming in? What’s your body acting like? Is your heart pounding faster when you think of a name?
Can you feel someone’s vibe through text? Here’s a guide we wrote on doing just that.
Phone-predicting allows you to notice how you identify with other people’s energies. It also trains you to identify how your intuition works and when it does.
5. Follow Your Hunches
How often have you thought about the whispers you ignored or how too self-absorbed you were that you brushed aside those slight discomforts you felt about a situation? If you are anything like me, you are certainly NOT immune.
We fail to understand how much wisdom and information such impulses contain (even if they don’t always make sense).
Try to open up to noticing and acting upon your hunches. The more you do, the more likely you will heighten your intuitive power.
6. Trust Yourself
Trust yourself to see the signals through should your intuition work and guide you towards a certain direction. But trusting yourself isn’t always easy. Here’s an article we wrote on unlocking the best version of yourself to help you trust in yourself more easily.
Trust the impulses you get, do as directed, and intuition will certainly become second nature to you.
7. Be Aware of Your Energy Levels
How are your energy levels? Do they feel spent, or are they balanced? Your soul could be pointing you towards something that’s robbing you of your energy if you feel uneasy, tensed up, drained, depressed, sweaty, or anxious. Here’s why you could be getting a bad vibe.
And if you feel replenished, at ease, peaceful, content, and relaxed, someone or something around you is charging your natural energy levels. Here’s 22 ways to give off positive vibes.
Quoting a line from a 1946 Autobiography of a Yogi by renowned Hindu monk Paramahansa Yogananda, “ Intuition is soul guidance, appearing naturally in man during those instants when the mind is calm.”
According to Yogananda, you can easily lose touch with your intuition by getting caught up in the ‘static of restlessness.’
True—it’s easy to stay disconnected from your intuition if you get caught up in disarray.
Create space for your intuition. In the stillness, concentration, and relaxation of your mind and body, you can cleanse your Chakras and attune to your intuition.
If you’re interested, here’s a beginners guide to meditation.
9. Nature Walks
Identify a safe place to go for a nature walk. It could be a park or along the beach. And if there’s some green space around you, take a break from the office and walk to the parking lot.
You’ll notice some peace and happiness with every step and breath of new air. The silence of mindful walking heals your mind, soul, and body, allowing the world to open up to you.
10. Long, Hot Showers
Long steamy baths and hot showers trigger dopamine (the feel-good chemical) that spikes up levels in your brain. Warm showers have been found to increase the flow of the feel-good hormones known as dopamine with-in your body.
Dopamine hormones provide an intimate connection to tranquillity. With a peaceful mind and relaxed body, you’ll be able to hone into your unconscious mind and make more insightful connections with your intuition.
11. Try a Float Tank
Float tanks, also called “sensory deprivation tanks” are an unusual and welcomed experience for anyone looking for a moment to relax, think, or meditate.
Invented by Dr John.C.Lilly in the 1950’s float tanks are called sensory deprivation tanks because they’re a pitch black soundproof hot tub where you literally float, relax, and think.
I personally use the float tank as a tool to help me find clarity when life gets complex. The sensory isolation forces my mind into a relaxed state of consciousness where I can pick and choose which thoughts, ideas, and feeling to explore deeper.
General Purpose Intuition Boosting Exercises
We’ve learned about favorable environments and situations that help us tap into our intuition. What exercises encourage the development of intuition?
Feed Your Brain
Intuition is all about the brain. One way to strengthen your intuition is to exercise your brain just like any other muscle.
Find new experiences, read about diverse topics, watch multiple news channels, binge watch the documentaries, travel the world, take classes to expand your knowledge and perspective, visit art exhibitions—anything to expand your conscious experience.
Whatever you capture, take it all in. Don’t filter out any information. Then let your brain store the knowledge deep down in the subconscious and watch how intuitive you become.
Realize It’s Possible For Gut Instinct To Be Wrong
Your gut instinct is one of your greatest and priceless resources. As humankind’s most vital survival mechanism, it has outdone itself in keeping us safe from danger for eons.
More often than not, our instincts are right. But there are times your gut may get it wrong.
Because your intuition feeds on the collection of the experiences in your mind or what is familiar to you, it can inspire opinion and misguidances like cognitive bias.
It’s good to trust in yourself and your intuition. But, there’s no sense in throwing out rational analysis of your decisions altogether.
For instance, when bosses let impulses override reason, they hire someone just because the person said the right things and made them feel at ease, only to discover later that they allowed an exploitative, manipulating sociopath into their investments.
Let’s also look at an exam room situation, where the first instinct fallacy flourishes the most. Learners tend to believe that in a multichoice situation, for example, intuitive answers are more likely to be correct, only for their results to prove they were wrong.
Intuition can misfire!
Final Thoughts: Harnessing Your Inner Intuition
Your intuition is such an important thing you need to develop. It is the one voice that’ll speak to you and guide you on if you should enter a relationship, if your current project is worth your energy, or whether you have the right words to say about something.
Harnessing your inner intuition prevents confusion or wastage energy by going in circles when making decisions. Once you tap into it, you realize that your life feels more fulfilled, peaceful, and streamlined.
Sometimes, the inner guidance might seem unfounded, but mate, the gut sensation you feel is legit enough to be trusted. If your senses pick on a cue and alert you on a soul level, don’t override it.
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