Do You Ignore Your Intuition? How to Activate It
Have you ever experienced a strong feeling to pursue something that doesn't make sense to your mind but feels right? Or an inner knowing that something is off even though you have no proof?
What Is Intuition
Your intuition is your gut instinct, your inner knowing. It acquires knowledge immediately without conscious rational thought. It is your inner compass that bypasses the linear mind to bring you valuable clues and insights. It is that wise part of you that sees from a bird-eye perspective and knows about something before it happens.
Why We Ignore Our Intuition
Intuition is not encouraged in our society. Many of us are trained to think that intellect is superior and intuition is unreliable and unfounded. We look outward instead of inward for guidance. We are taught to trust authority figures more than ourselves.
Starting at a young age, our parents make all our decisions and tell us to follow their orders. We rely on our schools to teach us how to think, our doctors to tell us what's wrong with our bodies, and our experts to inform us what to do. We are told to fit into the established system to belong. As we focus on developing a persona reinforced by the outside world, we lose touch with our intuition.
How to Activate Your Intuition
1. Change Your Concept About Intuition
Many of us are taught that our intuition is baseless and that our logical brain is superior. Your heart and body can discern at much subtler levels than your mind. To receive intuition, you first have to change the limited idea you have about it. Once you change your concept about intuition, it is no longer undependable, and you can open yourself to using this powerful inner guidance.
2. Your Body Knows Before Your Mind Does
Your somatic body (your nervous system) feels instantly. Unlike your mind, it doesn't have to take the time and go through the process of analyzing information and making a judgment. Before your mind even kicks in, you already feel what's happening.
Listen to your body:
Do you find yourself leaning away or crossing your arm in the presence of someone?
Does a tightness appear in your stomach suddenly?
Does the hair on the back of your neck stand up right away?
Do goosebumps show up in an instant?
Is your heart racing out of the blue?
Your body knows before your mind does. Your intuition speaks to you through your body. The more sensitive you are to your body, the faster you can tune into your intuition. Intuition is a listening skill. You don't listen to it with your intellect. You listen with your whole body.
3. Record Your Impressions
Jog down any impressions and sensations that come to you as you experience an event or a person. Write down specific feelings, mental images, sounds, tastes, and smells that come to your mind. The trick is to do it quickly and not think too hard because you want to avoid your analytical mind taking over. What you write down might make little sense at the moment, but don't worry about it. Check your notes later and compare them to your hindsight. This is my favorite way to explore my hunches. As your intuition sharpens, you get better at recognizing patterns and subtle changes in your emotions.
4. Dialog With Your Heart & Mind
Whenever I am at a crossroads and struggling to choose between two paths, I invite my heart and my mind to have a chat with me. I picture myself sitting between them at a round table, and I listen to them deeply without interruption.
My mind - Knows how to stay safe and secure. It reflects on past experiences and cautions me against taking risks. It says there are right and wrong ways of doing things and that one must analyze and weigh the pros and cons before making a move. It talks about what experts and authorities think and how to live up to others' expectations.
My heart - Speaks to me with kindness and hope. Reminds me of wishes, dreams, and passions. The exhilaration of feeling alive and the joy of connecting with a greater whole. It gives me the courage and strength to take a leap of faith. It points me toward peace and love.
After hearing both, I ask myself which path feels true. Which one feels more expansive and open, lighter and less contracted? I then choose the path that feels true to me. The keyword here is FEEL. Not think, feel. The language of intuition is non-verbal. You don't analyze your intuition; you feel it.
5. Your Dreams
Your intuition speaks to you through dreams. Your dreams reveal your deepest needs, desires, and fears. Your subconscious mind often knows more about your inner working than you do. Pay attention to symbols, archetypes, and patterns in dreams to reveal rich insights into your issues and current state of mind.
Intuition is the way your subconscious mind communicates with your conscious mind. Your inner voice can't come through easily when your mind is overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Meditation is a powerful practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. It quiets down your conscious mind to give you access to your deeper and more powerful subconscious mind.
Neuroscientific research shows that meditation increases grey matter in the prefrontal cortex - the more gray matter you have in this region, the better your ability to evaluate your decisions.
7. Heal Your Emotions
Some of us numb our feelings or disconnect to protect ourselves from emotional trauma. Unhealed trauma can create self-doubts and make it hard to trust your intuition, or it can shut down your intuition altogether. Healing your emotional wounds is crucial in trusting yourself to hear the guidance your inner voice is telling you.
8. Time in Nature
When we immerse ourselves in nature, our internal rhythms harmonize with mother earth, and we feel we are part of something larger than ourselves. Our brain begins to produce alpha waves. Alpha brainwaves are associated with a flow state of mind. They occur when we feel calm and relaxed. Being in this state resets our neural network and enriches our capacity to tune into our senses.
Being in nature brings you powerfully into the present moment. It stills your conscious mind and heightens your ability to tap into your intuition.
9. Stimulate Your Right Brain
The right hemisphere of your brain is associated with intuition, emotion, symbols, sensitivities, and creativity. It is where you tap into your inner knowing and draw your emotional intelligence. Engaging in the right brain activities will help you access your intuition. Try these activities for your right brain exploration: daydreaming, reading, writing, dancing, singing, acting, playing an instrument, etc.
10. Intuition or Anxiety
Sometimes we confuse intuition with anxiety. Here are key points to differentiate them:
Intuition is a calm knowing; it feels like a gentle nudge, while anxiety is fear-based and accompanied by ruminating thoughts.
Intuition is in the moment, while anxiety reflects on past hurts and focuses on future disastrous scenarios that might never happen.
Intuition feels affirming and grounded, while anxiety engages your fight or flight response.
Have you trusted others more than yourself and been led to experiences that don't resonate with your heart? Have you ignored your inner voice only to realize it knows the truth the whole time?
Next time your intuition comes knocking, invite it onto the center stage and let it speak to you loud and clear. Trust your inner voice to guide you back to yourself.