What is Intuition?
Intuition can give you a nudge in several ways. Sometimes it is a small voice or a thought. Other times it is a gut feeling or a warning dream. Occasionally it is a certan ‘knowing’. You have no idea how you know, but somehow you do. In some cases, your body takes an action before you conciously think about it. Intuition is a vital part of our feedback system and helps us in all kinds of situations. So it makes sense to develop your intuition so that you can rely on it and made use of it anytime you want.
Psychologists have explained intuition as split second thinking, where your brain weighs up a situation, compares it with previous experiences and gives you the best course of action. You’re not even aware of the process because it happens so fast. Many people have reported avoiding harm after an intuitive thought or hunch caused them to change direction, to not take their usual route home, or slow the vehicle they were traveling in.
Why Intuition is Important
A well-developed intuition is not only about keeping us safe, it is also useful when dealing with people and making decisions.
Intuition will help when a friend or family member is in distress – you just get a feeling that she’s not in a good place and so offer to help. Intuition will tell you when your child is being bullied in school, or your partner is cheating.
When you are considering moving home you arrange some viewings. Nothing grabs you. Then you walk into a house and immediately imagine yourself living there, it feels like home. That’s your intuition whispering to you. You just know that this is the right place. When you meet someone and your brain seems to be running on two tracks. Your inner voice is yelling, albeit very quietly, “He’s the one!” In the same vein, if that little voice is telling you to leave as soon as possible, then don’t think twice – follow your intuition.
When you are confident in your intuition, you feel less anxious. You know that you can set your worries aside because you can rely on your own guidance.
5 Exercises to Develop Your Intuition
- The first exercise couldn’t be easier. When you need help – with anything – ask. A trainee surgeon was trying desperately to insert a guide wire into a patient’s radial artery. After several attempts he suddenly had the urge to stand up straight and take a step back. He silently asked for help. Immediately he returned to the task and completed the insertion successfully. So next time you’re stuck, facing a problem, or not knowing what to do, take a step back and ask for guidance. Try it next time you are trying to remember a name or a word.
- The second exercise to help you develop your intuition involves focusing on your five primary senses. It’s surprising how often we ignore them. They are in play constantly, so stop reading now and look around you. What can you see? What are you hearing? What sensations can you feel. Can you smell anything? Lick the back of your hand… what do you taste? Make this a regular practice. At least twice a day, give your senses free rein and pay attention to their messages. By doing this, by honoring your own senses’ feedback, you will also be encouraging your sixth sense to join in.
- Be creative. Writing and/or art are ideal ways to connect with your intuition. Grab some paper and crayons. Begin making marks without thinking about it. Or tear up some magazine pages into small pieces and use a glue stick to make a college. Work quickly, without making any conscious decisions about composition. You are aiming to get into an intuitive flow. You can write in this way too. Stream of consciousness writing, where you write words that come into your mind, can be very freeing. Don’t try to produce anything that make sense, simply write. Allow your intuition to guide you.
- Play the racing game. This is a fun one to play with a friend or family. Turn your TV channel to one that shows nothing but horse racing. Pick your horse, based on nothing but your gut feeling. You can even use pretend money to bet against each other.
- We couldn’t talk about developing your intuition without recommending meditation. In that still, quiet place, your intuition is the loudest voice.
Reading about intuition can help you recognize and cultivate it.
"The Gift of Fear" by Gavin De Becker is not as negative as the title implies. However, it shows you how to honor that intuitive feeling that something isn’t right and to act upon it.
"Like every creature on earth, we have an extraordinary defense resource: We don’t have the sharpest claws and strongest jaws–but we do have the biggest brains, and intuition is the most impressive process of these brains." Gavin De Becker.
"Developing Your Intuition: 5 Simple Steps to Help You Live a More Intuitive Life!" by Michael Heatherington is highly recommended and, right now at the time of writing, is free on Amazon Kindle books.
"The guidance principle stems from the notion that there is a unifying thread of intelligence that weaves its way through all things." Michael Heatherington.
"The Intuitive Way: The Definitive Guide to Increasing Your Awareness" by Penney Pierce, is a course in a book. A workbook filled with suggestions and exercises to guide you gently toward your ‘knowing’.
"Living by intuition is an art that when mastered produces a thrill like no other." Penney Pierce.
Using Your Intuition Daily
Sometimes the main reason why we forget to use our innate intuition is because we are so busy. Yet, some of the most successful people openly admit that they rely on their intuition all the time.
“Learning to trust your instincts, using your intuitive sense of what's best for you, is paramount for any lasting success. I've trusted the still, small voice of intuition my entire life. And the only time I've made mistakes is when I didn't listen.” Oprah Winfrey.
So make tuning into your intuition part of your life, as routine as brushing your hair. The more you listen to your inner voice, the bigger the part it will play.