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the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Intuition is an interesting thing, isn’t it? We have all felt it before. A pit in our stomach before making a decision, the feeling of knowing what is coming just before it happens, a strong desire to do something out of nowhere- even something you wouldn’t expect to want to do. That’s all intuition; and intuition is almost always right.
We have all heard (and probably said) the saying “follow your gut” or “go with your first instinct”. These are both referring to intuition, and yes- you absolutely should!
Have you ever taken a test then changed some of your answers when you went through to double check, only to find that your first answer was right? Trust your first instinct! Trust your intuition.
Even when making the big decisions we have all believed should be “more informed” than just relying on your gut, intuition is a better choice. In one study specifically, scientists found that when buying a car, consumers who did a ton of research and analytical thinking about which car to choose were later happy with their purchase 25% of the time. While consumers who just relied on their gut feeling, their intuition, were later happy with their choice 60% of the time.Psychology Today
Clearly we should be giving more credit to that gut feeling than we previously believed, but what if we aren’t sure what intuition feels like. Or even more, what if we don’t know how to “hear” our intuition at all?
Well worry not, because here are 4 things you can do to strengthen your intuition.
1. Detox your gut
It may seem strange to have a gut detox on the list, let alone in the number one spot, when talking about intuition. The gut is a very physical thing and intuition is more emotional/energy based, but hear me out because it’s all about to make sense.
Most important to remember is that our emotions, mindset and energy are all connected. There is not one part of us that stands alone from the others.
The gut is also known as your “second brain”. Scientifically it’s called your enteric nervous system, and it lines your digestive tract from your esophagus all the way to your rectum. The ENS is made up of 100 million neurons, and while it is not (as far as we know now) capable of “thought”, it does communicate with the brain in our heads. Not only that, but 90% of the serotonin our body creates is made in our gut and about half of the dopamine in our bodies is there as well.
a compound present in blood platelets and serum, which constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter. (dictionary.com)
Also known as the “happy chemical”
It has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, though its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes (google.com)
a compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances including epinephrine. (dictionary.com)
Also know as the “feel-good hormone”
All of this is to say that the gut has a serious connection to our brain and to our mood/emotions. Which means a healthy gut = more connection to your emotions and energy, and a better mindset.
So a really big and important step is to detox your gut. This will allow you to feel what your intuition is saying to you more clearly. Think of it as if you have super dirty, scummy windows. When you clean them, you can see so much clearer. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it is a great way to picture it.
2. Pay more attention to your other senses.
Taking the time to pay more attention to your other senses, conditions you to be more observant to all of your senses. Another way to put this is to focus on mindfulness.
1.the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
2.a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. (wikipedia)
If we are making sure to focus on our other senses in each moment, to start to bring awareness to the feeling of things we touch, how the air smells, or the intricacies of taste in our food, then we will naturally expand to noticing how we feel in each moment.
The other part of mindfulness that is often missed, is the non-judgmental part. From the definition above, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
In order to be able to hear our intuition speaking to us, we have to be ready to accept what it is saying. Practicing mindfulness means that you are present in the moment and you are allowing yourself to feel or think in the way that is natural in that moment.
Feeling in the moment and in anyway shaming how you feel or think means you are not allowing yourself to be, and you won’t be able to hear your intuition if it is trying to alert you to something negative.
Many times, your feelings are exactly your intuition speaking. The mindfulness part allows you to figure out what exactly your intuition is telling you about, and allows you to accept it.
Fun exercise to try if you have a collection of essential oils (sub candles if necessary): smell through a variety of essential oils, pick out 2 or 3 just based on whether the smell makes you happy in that moment. Smell them all together and if they blend well, diffuse.
Now go look up what each one that made you happiest is helpful for. (If using candles, pick just one candle and look up the main fragrance notes in the candle) These are the things your intuition is telling you to focus on in this moment. Since you are already diffusing the oils, you have already begun to listen to your intuition.
3. Be aware of your reactions.
Again, this has a lot to do with being present in the moment and being hyper-aware of your emotions and physical reactions.
This especially helps when you are trying to make a decision between two things. The whole exercise is based on being honest with yourself, and allowing and accepting whatever feelings come up.
Start with one of your options. Think about it in depth. Let’s say, for example purposes, you are considering leaving your job to work at home. Think about what that looks like. You get to make your own schedule, be home when your kids are sick without losing pay or having to use a precious vacation day, go to your children’s in-school events, and vacation on your own schedule. You get up in the morning, you set your own schedule for the day and keep yourself accountable. Your income potential is directly linked with your own production.
After you have been thinking about this option for a few minutes, and really taking the time to consider all of the ins and outs of what this decision would mean for you, take notice of how you feel.
Are you smiling and you didn’t even realize? Does your chest feel light, are you feeling a bit euphoric? Or do you have a pit in your stomach?
Do your emotional assessment quickly, and then start thinking about the alternative. In this example, start thinking about staying in your current job. Think about the daily work you do, the people you work with, your boss, what your everyday looks like. Do you work with clients? Think about them. Do you drive a lot for work? Picture the time you spend in the car. Think about all of the ins and outs of your current every day.
When you have spent a few minutes thinking in depth about the second option, focus your attention to how you feel.
Are you happy? Sad? Is there a heavy feeling in your chest or your stomach? Maybe you feel physically sick, or achy.
The happy feelings and the sad, the emotional and the physical, they are all signs from your intuition. It is telling you exactly what you should be doing.
The more you practice doing this before you make a decision, the more it will become a habit to notice your intuitive responses. Eventually you will be able to notice those responses without having to consciously go through all of the steps.
Meditation is at the core of all things mindfulness. Meditation allows you to more easily still your mind, become aware of your sense and get in tune with your body as a whole.
Honestly, meditation is my answer to most everything. I will preach about meditation until the day I die, and then hopefully I will have preached enough that my children will continue my legacy. Here are a few of the benefits I personally experienced when I started meditating daily.
I have always believed in following your intuition, but until meditation came into my life I only ever noticed my intuition on the big things. The life-changing things, or the things that were so right or so wrong that there was no mistaking what was going on.
Once I started meditating on a daily basis, I was able to start noticing the little things my intuition was telling me. Not only noticing them, but trusting that what I was feeling was what my intuition was saying, and not just a random feeling.
If we are being honest, one of the hardest things about hearing your intuition, is actually trusting that the feeling you are having is an intuitive feeling, and not just a whim.
Meditation can feel a bit intimidating at first, so feel free to check out my article on how to meditate. This article specifically speaks to people who can’t silence their thoughts, but will benefit everyone.
Strengthening your intuition is a process.
There is no overnight fix to having ignored your intuition for however long it has been. If you neglect a plant for a month, the first time you water it will not turn it back into the bright and lively plant it once was. However, if you keep nurturing it, you can revive it and keep it alive as long as you would like.