“Intuition doesn’t tell you what you want to hear; it tells you what you need to hear.” Sonia Choquette
When you connect with your intuition, you have the ability to sense things before you really know them. You might also recognise that this knowing can’t be easily explained.
Unlike conscious reasoning, our intuitions are often felt or sensed in the body and sometimes they don’t seem entirely rational. When we’re being intuitive we’re not actively thinking or analysing but rather, we’re resting our awareness within and we’re curious and open to the information we intuit.
Once you connect, it’s then about really listening to and trusting that inner knowing – it can guide us in the most unexpected and helpful ways.
Everyone has the capacity to be intuitive, but there are times in our lives when we find it more difficult. When your mind is racing with thoughts, if you’re anxious, stressed or overly busy, it’s difficult to quieten your mind and tune in. If you’re in an overly emotional state or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s also unlikely you’ll be able to listen. But often not listening is something we do to ourselves — we ignore the little niggles when they’re telling us things we’d rather not hear.
While your intuition can protect you and keep you safe, it can also be a positive alert, telling you to be brave about a new relationship, to make a move to a new place or to take the job that sounds challenging.
If you’ve lost touch with your intuition, try the following things to help you reconnect.
A regular meditation practice is maybe the most effective way to cultivate the kind of self-awareness that helps you connect with intuition. Even just ten minutes of quiet reflection at the beginning of your day will help you to become more aware of the wisdom you have within you. If you’re new to meditation, try this track of mine on the free Insight Timer app.
Spend time in solitude
Regardless of whether you’re meditating or not, spend an hour or two each week without any distractions or entertainment. If possible, get out into nature to lower your cortisol levels and help you to feel grounded. When you’re able to evoke a greater sense of physical relaxation, you’ll find it easier to be aware of your gut instinct.
Listen to your body
Once you learn to tune in, you’ll notice that within seconds of meeting someone new or when you walk into certain physical spaces, you get a certain ‘feeling’ about them. Many people report that they have this sensation in their belly area (it’s why we call it our ‘gut instinct’). Our enteric nervous system, which is lined with 100 million neurons, is constantly sending messages back to the brain. And while the jury’s still out on exactly how this system impacts our thoughts, your brain is certainly impacted by your gut. Try not to ignore your gut instinct or rationalise your way out of the messages it sends you. Listen in and be curious about the wisdom it is offering.
It’s sometimes easier in hindsight to see when you had an intuitive hunch – and unfortunately didn’t act on it (maybe because you wanted to trust in people). If this happens, don’t beat yourself up for not acknowledging your insight at the time, be glad that you’re someone who sees the best in others and remind yourself that most people really can be trusted. You can be sure your radar will be sharp to instinctual warnings in the future.
Let your subconscious guide you while you’re asleep
Spend a couple of weeks paying attention to your dreams. Keep a notebook beside your bed and upon waking, jot down whatever elements of your dream you remember. Even just a sentence or two is a good start. Recall how you were feeling in your dream and think about how those feelings show up in your everyday life. Consider also that the characters in your dreams might represent different aspects of yourself. While it’s tempting to look to a dream analyst to decipher your dreams, trust your instincts about your own interpretations. You know yourself better than anyone and with an open and curious mind, it’s likely you’ll learn to interpret the messages on your own.
Tap into the transition between wakefulness and sleep
Sometimes our sleepy subconscious mind will guide us in ways we’re less open to when we’re using our rational, waking mind. The brief transition between wakefulness and sleep (a state known as hypnagogia) is a time where we often find a moment of clarity or discover the answer to a problem that feels inherently right. It’s not always easy to catch this time because it’s so brief, but if you’re interested to learn more about it, find out how Albert Einstein and Salvador Dali tapped into this fascinating state.
Give yourself time to pause
When you do have a strong intuitive thought, it doesn’t mean you need to rush into a decision. You may want to research your choices more thoroughly or you might prefer to just sit on your decision for a day or two. While you’re in this state of flux, it might be tempting to ask friends and family for their opinion. Instead, keep tuning in so you learn to trust what feels right for you.
Is it fear or is it intuition?
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the difference between intuition and self-doubt or fear. You’ll find it easiest to connect with genuine intuition when you’re in a state of calm, not in a highly excited or emotional state. If you’re fairly relaxed and still uncertain, try to break your decision into the smallest possible parts and ask yourself, “What does my intuition tell me about this aspect of the decision?” Be curious about your fears too. Write each of them down and ask yourself how you might overcome the worst-case scenario in each of those that you’ve noted. It’s likely you’ll find your intuition a good guide here as well.