How do you know when it’s your head talking or your intuition? And how do you make decisions using your gut? I’ve put this post together to help make hearing your gut intuition a little clearer.
Our minds tend to be hyperactive and we’re generally very conscious of what we think. For example, I think this is right, or I think this is a good idea. So often we are so busy thinking, we forget to listen. Our mind is even dictating what we think our body is telling us.
Our body’s do communicate with us, but in more subtle ways than the noisy voice of thought in our heads. Our body, gut feeling or intuition, gives us little clues; like the icky feeling in our stomachs when we know something’s wrong, or our knees ache after running, letting us know there’s an issue.
Trust your Gut
Trusting your gut intuition is a commonly thrown around expression. But what does it actually mean and how do you know when your gut is talking to you?
My ‘gut’ has been telling me things all my life, but it’s only been in recent years I’ve started to listen. Sure, I’ve been aware of the feelings and sensations, but I had never connected the dots.
I’m not someone who does ‘stress’. I rarely consider myself stressed and don’t tend to react under high pressure situations; I’m a pretty cool customer. Except I get psoriasis and have been for a solid decade. Anyone with an autoimmune disease will tell you they’re aggravated by stress. So whilst I thought “I don’t get stressed”, what was actually going on was my gut/body has been in overtime! I had just been ignoring my body!
So what kinds of feelings am I talking about?
My most recent job was completely wrong for me. The work was out of sync with my talents and passions, I never fitted in to the workplace and there wasn’t a single thing I could honestly say Ioved doing at work (my last jobs there was hardly anything I didn’t love). The only thing right about it was that I didn’t have to work away.
Every day I would get ready for work, have breakfast and walk out the door. As I locked up, tiredness would hit. Like a flood of sleepiness everytime I stepped out to hallway of our apartments. WTF I wasn’t tired, why was I feeling this way? I would feel super sleepy all the way to work. Once at work it would go away, but it was the same pattern almost every morning.
This was where I started to connect the dots. My body reacts to situations I’m in. It’s healthy and well when I’m in the right place, and it freaks out when I’m not. In this case, it was quite literally shutting itself down!
Learning to Listen
I’ve previously written about listening to your body when it comes to your health. But today I wanted to write about listening to your body when it tells you about making decisions. Your body will tell you when something is right or wrong for you. You just have to stop and listen to it.
Start paying attention to how your body responds in certain situations or when you met people.
- Do you feel tense or relaxed?
- Do you feel anger or happiness you can’t quite explain?
- Is something giving you goosebumps?
- Do you suddenly feel tired and sleepy, like your energy is being drained?
- Have you suddenly got a headache or a tummy ache?
- Or perhaps you feel brilliant and energized all of a sudden.
These are all little signals our body sends us to let us know when something or someone is right or wrong. Generally we will ignore the messages, but now you’re aware of them you can start to pay attention. Don’t reach for a cup of coffee or a panadol, stop and listen.
Sound too simple to be true? Der, it’s your gut. It’s not as though it’s going to use words to talk to you. It’s just going to make feelings and you have to choose to observe them.
It took a while for me to figure it out. My body was reacting to a situation I didn’t like being in. But how do you tell the difference between what your body is telling you, versus your body reacting to your thoughts? Was it my body telling me I was in the wrong job, or was it my body reacting to my head saying “I hate this”?
The difference between your gut and your head
Your head, led by your ego, tends to make decisions based on fear.
Your gut or your intuition, lead by your higher self, tends to make decisions that best serve you. Your gut will rarely lead you astray.
Fear can be a great motivator and can be helpful on occasion, but you certainly don’t want to live your whole life driven by fear! Fear will arise if you’re out of your comfort zone, so you don’t want to be listening to fear when you’re striving to reach new goals.
Marie Forleo has a brilliant video on the difference between fear and intuition if you want to learn more, check it out here.
Let your gut guide you
This is a trick I learned when I was struggling working away from home and was deciding whether or not to leave my job, without another one lined up. Foolish or brave, I wasn’t quite sure!
Sit in a quiet place where you wont be disturbed. Take a few deep breaths in and out, breathing through your nostrils. Take a moment to really bring your attention to your breath. If any thoughts pop up, let them pass on my like clouds. Just bring your awareness back to your breath.
When you are calm and centered, bring to your awareness the decision you’re struggling with. Then choose a one side, for example, “if I stay in this job”. Feel how your body responds, does it relax? Does it tense up? Pay close attention to how you feel. If thoughts arise, just let them pass by and return your attention to your body. Give yourself some time to feel your gut and mind responding.
Then choose the opposing side, for example, “if I leave this job”. Once again, observe how your body feels. Does it feel worse or is it relieved? Repeat the process again.
You may not get a definite answer at first, but if you come back to your body with the question a number of times, you’ll likely develop a solid gut sense of which decision is right for you. For me, when I suggested leaving to my body, a smile came across my face and my body completely relaxed. I left that job and everything worked out just fine.
And a word from the queen herself, Oprah:
“Check your ego at the door and check your gut instead. Every right decision I have ever made has come from my gut. Every wrong decision I’ve made was the result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself”
Every time you get a gut message or feeling, observe it. Let your awareness be on that feeling and ask yourself why?
Why are you feeling this way? It’ll take some time while you get used to listening, but with patience and practice you’ll soon start to get tuned in to your body’s frequency.
Don’t let your head dictate the process or provide the commentary. Just focus on your breath and the feelings that are arising. Use the same trick as above as you ask yourself why. You’ll be a gut-listening pro in no time!
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