Everyone has an intuition, an inner wisdom and guiding force. Intuition is our biggest resource in finding joy, peace, compassion, fulfillment, and love in our lives. Intuition is defined as ‘the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.’ Or ‘the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.’
Many of us are disconnected from our intuition. We haven’t been properly encouraged to listen quietly inward for answers, instead, we get confused and misguided by chatter, fear, and the inner critic that has been instilled by a culture and society that promotes self-doubt.
Intuition is the little voice that whispers ‘somethings not right here' or a little nudge in a certain direction. Too often we hear things like ‘I should have trusted my gut’, or ‘I knew something was wrong but I didn’t do anything about it’. You don't ever hear anyone say, ‘I really wish I hadn’t listened to gut on that one.’ That’s because your true intuition always has your best interest at heart, and listening to it will always serve you in the long run.
So how can we reconnect to our intuition?
How can we begin to listen and recognize its presence? Here we discuss a few actionable ways to reaffirm your truth through intuition.
5 WAYS TO STRENGTHEN AND TRUST YOUR INTUITION
1. SELF-CARE AND SELF ACCEPTANCE – It is impossible to fully embrace your true intuition if you are constantly crippled by self-doubt, judgment, fear, and criticism. The first step in learning to tap into your inner wisdom is through radical self-love and affirmation of strength. If you truly believe you are capable, worthy, and intelligent then it will become much easier to trust your inner guidance when it comes to you. Adopting some simple methods of self-care can begin to build a bond of love and compassion, which can pave the way for inherent trust in self. Try using affirmations in the morning, adopting an attitude of gentleness in your everyday activities, fuel yourself with healthy food and activities, surround yourself with those who support you, and make time to honor the things that make you feel good.
2. MEDITATE / YOGA/ BREATHWORK – Meditation is a practice that can help us tune into our bodies and minds. Meditation helps us disconnect our identity from our thoughts as we become the observer. This, in turn, helps us disconnect from the inner critic - the place where fear, judgment, self-doubt, and negativity live. Once we stop associating our identity with the critic, it frees us to listen to what our inner voice is really trying to tell us. It clears space for the voice that’s screaming ‘you are worthy, you are valuable, you are strong, you can do this!’ If you’re not a big fan of traditional meditation, you can try ‘moving mediation’ which can be as simple as taking a walk without distraction and just letting your thoughts free flow, or you can practice Yoga. Yoga also helps cultivate a connection and gratitude for the body, connecting to its inner wisdom and guidance, which we elaborate on more in the next step. Breathwork falls into the same category, which all comes back to mindfulness and quiet listening.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – Our bodies are a powerhouse of instinctual wisdom. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘trust your gut’ and there’s a valid reason for the widely used expression. It’s because our bodies speak to us if we can tune in and learn its language. Physical practices such as yoga can help us build a fundamental connection with our bodies. Many of us are disconnected, often angry at our bodies for not performing in a certain way or for not looking a certain way. When we perceive our body as a source of betrayal, we can’t trust it to guide us. Yoga is a practice that can help re-establish the connection to our physical form, a way to honor our bodies for all they do for us. From there, we can more easily tune in to our instinctual reactionary responses, our ‘gut reaction’. Through practice and awareness, we can learn to recognize when our body is telling us that something feels off. A common trick to assist in this is to recognize whether you feel expansion or contraction as you approach a situation/subject? Does your body feel like it's opening up or closing in? Our autonomic nervous system is made up of two branches, the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our fight or flight response, and our parasympathetic system, which our state of rest and digest. When something feels off, it triggers our sympathetic nervous system, causing a feeling of contraction or a ‘NO’ answer, when our intuition guides us toward ‘YES’, you feel at ease and open, a feeling of expansion. With practice, we can begin to quickly discern the, albeit often very subtle, differences between the two responses.
4. THINK LESS, FEEL MORE – Rationality is the antithesis of intuition. Rationality can only take us so far in a decision-making process, and often when faced with the choice between two similar options, rational deduction falls short. Ultimately our intuition takes over and makes the decision for us, which we later justify through a cherry-picking of rational arguments. Of course, rational thinking and rational response serve a valuable and valid purpose in our life, but we must not be fooled into believing it is the only way to fight the true and correct answer. Leaning too heavily on rational thought causes over-analyzing which can lead to even more self-doubt and confusion. Additionally, rational thought doesn’t care about what nourishes you. Our minds, our bodies, our souls know the appropriate response before our minds even have a chance to catch up. These responses, or ‘gut reactions’ are guided by our instincts and intuition. When we connect more to how we feel in response to a situation, rather than what we think, we encourage the voice of intuition to come through .
5. JOURNAL – Journaling has a multitude of benefits. Journaling, or engaging in a method of free-flowing thought, can not only help you unburden yourself of all the ideas bouncing around in your brain all day long, but it can also bring thoughts/ideas to the surface of the mind that lay deep in the psyche and are guided by your intuition. Journaling can also be a form of mediation and self-care, a time that is just for you, without distractions, that promotes awareness of feeling and state of being. Journaling creates an atmosphere that encourages exploration of ideas/thoughts and as you release them onto the paper, it frees up space for deep, instinctual, subconscious guidance to come up from the depths of being. When you journal, you being to have a more profound and robust sense of who you are, the things that are important to you and you are able to notice recurring themes that perhaps come up time and time again, areas in which you can direct your focus (areas your intuition is pointing your attention toward.) If you’re new to journaling and not sure how to start, you can use some prompts to help get the thoughts flowing. Some prompts that may be useful are:
What was my biggest source of joy today, and what was my biggest challenge?
In what ways have I been critical of myself and others?
What was something I did today that I am proud of and what was an area of my day in which I could have improved my behavior?
What in my life is deserving of gratitude, and how can I express that gratitude in actionable ways in the future?
In what ways do I feel like my life is lacking, and what is the source of this feeling?