Improving Your Intuition Will Improve Your Life

Intuition and Logic.

Intuition is an interesting topic. It’s one of those things that most women pay lip service to, but very few know anything about. That’s understandable given our lack of education on this phenomenon. It also explains why most women who experience glimpses of intuition, will acknowledge they felt something, but don’t fully understand what that something is related to. So they will never have the opportunity to see how this ability has the potential to transform their lives.

For many years we’ve used conscious reasoning or rational thinking to arrive at decisions and make logical sense out of events/situations that occur in our lives. France Cholle author of the book Intuitive Compass, suggests that “As a culture, we believe that rationality should prevail when making decisions about anything, from crucial business mergers to what to eat for lunch”. While I agree, this approach has been proven to be effective, it fails to recognise our ability to understand something instinctively and intuitively. By intuitively I mean, without the need for conscious reasoning.

Unfortunately, most women continue to have a distorted perception about intuition. As I mentioned earlier, this is most likely due to lack of education. Professor Gerard Hodgkinson, a leading researcher on intuition at Leeds University, explained why this had occurred when he said “Science has historically ridiculed the concept of intuition, by putting it in the same box as parapsychology, phrenology and other ‘pseudoscientific’ practices. It’s only now, that the scientific world has begun to acknowledge, that this psychological phenomenon is in fact real”.

What is intuition?

Women often refer to intuition as a hunch, sixth sense, gut feeling, heart whisper, inner voice or knowing. But there’s more to intuition then just bodily sensations. Frances Cholle describes intuition as “A process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and unconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason”. He also provides a brief explanation of instinct and body sensations and the role that they play in directing appropriate action in our lives.

Frances describes instinct as “An innate inclination towards a particular behaviour (as opposed to a learned response)”. And body sensations as,    “Gut reactions, feelings or hunches that appear quickly in our consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted on if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for their occurrence”.

Let’s take a moment to consider how intuition works on a more practical level. Have you ever gone to a place where the territory is unfamiliar and you felt unsafe? Perhaps you’ve felt uncomfortable around someone you just met and you don’t know why? or perhaps you just can’t make up your mind up because if you go in one direction it feels right, but the other seems more logical.

When you’re feeling uneasy, uncomfortable or unsure about something, these sensations/feelings are indicators that your unconscious mind is trying to communicate with you. Even if these sensations/feelings make no logical sense at the time, it doesn’t mean that you should disregard them. Quite to the contrary. They surface because your unconscious mind wants to steer you in a direction that’s right for you. So next time you’re feeling uncomfortable or conflicted in some way, step back and give yourself some additional time, so you can decipher what advice your unconscious mind is trying to give you. My bet is, that it’s something you’ll want to hear, if you want to make a decision that’s right for you.

Jack Canfield a well-known American motivational speaker, corporate trainer, entrepreneur and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Refers to the unconscious mind as “The source of your hidden genius. It will always provide you with the knowledge you need to move forward in the right direction. This is true for all people, not just those who consider themselves to be psychic or highly intuitive”.

How does intuition work?

It’s not entirely possible to explain how the unconscious mind works, given its complex operations. However, there is some evidence available to describe how intuition works. Karen Young of outlines what scientists have discovered to date. “The human brain has two ‘operating systems’. The first system is more deliberate and analytical and we know it as rational thinking. Whereas the second system, is both instinctual and effortless. This is where our intuition lies.

The first operating system involves a conscious, deliberate and slow process. It’s where we take time to consider things before we make a measured decision. But just because we are better acquainted with this system, doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to go or that it’s fail proof.

The second system intuition, works by drawing on patterns collected by our experience. It’s when we have to make a quick decision about whether something is real, fake, feels good, feels bad, right or wrong, that we draw on these patterns. It all happens ‘offline’, outside our conscious awareness.

Given, that there are a lot of things that we still don’t know about intuition. There are some things we do know for example, our intuition:

  • resides in all of us at all times, even if you’re not fully aware of it
  • always has your best interests at heart
  • can be developed and used to your advantage, if you so desire
  • is one of those things that happens when it happens. It’s not predictable or controllable, but it’s instinctual
  • acts as a warning system to have you reconsider your decisions/actions. Alternately it provides confirmation that whatever you’re doing is absolutely right for you
  • communicates with you in different ways, depending on the situation, and
  • it doesn’t operate off logic or reason but it works well in conjunction with both.

Why should we develop our intuition?

There are a lot of benefits in getting better acquainted with yourself. As your self awareness grows, so does your intuition. Developing your intuition will not only help you to access personal advice/guidance whenever you need it. But you’ll find that over time you’ll become much better at making decisions that are right for you.

This way you can move in the direction that’s right for you. Here’s what to expect as you become more intuitive:

  • you experience a more trusting relationship with self
  • your self doubt is replaced with self confidence
  • you become more independent
  • you are more likely to take risks that are good for you
  • you get better at making decisions that benefit you
  • you’re more likely to consider new possibilities and opportunities
  • to connect to people that are good for you, and
  • you live more authentically.

How to develop your intuition.

Developing your intuition is like developing a skill. It takes desire, dedicated time, persistence and practice to grow this ability. Here’s some things that you can do to help you develop your intuitive ability:

  • find a quiet space and spend some regular time with yourself
  • regularly practice activities that quieten your mind e.g. meditation, yoga
  • learn ways to deal with stress more effectively in your life
  • become more attuned to your body by noticing different feelings/body sensations as they arise. Also notice how your body feels when you do something you like versus something you don’t like
  • start a journal to document and describe the times where your intuition communicated with you
  • set yourself challenges and observe how you body feels and responds before, during and after these challenges
  • check in regularly with your body how it is feeling in everyday activities
  • don’t be scared to take action if your intuition communicates with you.

There’s a pre-existing wealth of inner knowledge and wisdom that resides in everyone. Yet this information is suppressed in most people. As you become more intuitive, you’re prepared to push logic and reason aside and to be more responsive to your instinctual something. As you develop your intuition you will rely on it for your personal guidance. And over time, you will know and trust that your intuition will always have the right advice for you.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift” Albert Einstein.

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