how to follow your intuition
Mindset | Personal Development

9 Ways to Trust and Follow Your Intuition

Have you ever wanted guidance and wished there was someone to tell you the right choice to make? Well you don’t have to look far, that someone is your intuition and I’m going to show you how to get in touch with it. We often look for external sources to guide us to the right choice but the answer is actually inside us.

Lets talk about what exactly intuition is, why it’s hard to tap into, and how you can learn to trust and follow your intuition from now on.

What is Intuition?

Intuition is the ability to instantly know or understand something without conscious analysis or reasoning. Intuition doesn’t need specific evidence to be present, it’s based on information your subconscious has already gathered either in that moment or in the past. You don’t need to be aware of that evidence on a conscious level.

This is also referred to as a sixth sense, gut feeling, inner voice, or higher self.

Even if you haven’t been in touch with your intuition before it’s still been there and you can learn to tap into it starting today.

Intuition is backed by science

Research shows that intuition comes from the ability of our brains to absorb information on an unconscious level. One study showed that when participants were shown images while being distracted they actually remembered them better than when they were paying attention.

Scientist believe that intuition works in the right side of the brain and through the neurons in your gut, thus your ‘gut feeling’ being related to intuition.

Think about women who just have a strong feeling they need to turn around and go home because they suspect their child is unwell, even though they didn’t consciously see any evidence of them being sick. Where does that feeling come from?

It comes from the mother subconsciously noticing from their body language that her child did not look or act well, even though the conscious mind didn’t realize it until later.

And good news for women, it’s actually easier for us to use our intuition because our brains are slightly different from men’s. I bet you’re not shocked though because your intuition already noticed this.

Studies also show that tapping into your intuition gets easier with practice!

What gets in the way of your intuition?

What’s been getting in the way of your ability to tap into intuition? There are a couple factors. Life can be so busy that we just don’t have time to stop and tune in, and our attention is pulled in so many directions by a noisy world.

Intuition is usually quiet, it’s not like the busy internal commentary we have going on inside our heads all day. The number one culprit for that ongoing commentary is your ego.

So how does your ego get in the way?

What is the purpose of the ego?

Before we get into how the ego can interrupt your intuition I want to talk about what it’s purpose is.

Your ego is both a protector and a childlike part of you. It is fiercely protective, but it’s also shaped by your beliefs, biases, fears, identity, and sense of self.

The ego is all about I, me, and mine.

This isn’t always a bad thing, and at the core it’s connected to your instinct to stay alive. Your ego tells you ‘don’t walk down a dark ally’ because obviously that could jeopardize your safety. You ego tells you being accepted by society equals safety, because being part of a group means you won’t get eaten by a lion and you’ll have access to shelter and food.

Obviously getting eaten by a lion or other predator isn’t as much of a risk today, but the ego is still quite primitive and you have to learn how to work around it sometimes. Lets talk about some things to watch out for.

Fear

Your ego uses fear a lot. It fears failure and rejection on a very deep level. It wants you to be safe, but it often has an irrational definition of safety.

Your ego loves your comfort zone. It loves to know what to expect. It loves the familiar.

Even if your current circumstances are making you miserable your ego wants you to stay there because that’s what is knows. So when you want to venture into the unknown in an attempt to improve your life your ego is like “hold up, if you do this WE COULD DIE! Stay here where it’s safe!”

What if??????

Your ego loves to play the ‘what if’ game.

What if you fail?

What if you embarrass yourself?

What if this doesn’t work?

What if you get screwed over?

What if you get hurt?

What if they don’t hire you?

What if he dumps you?

What if they laugh in your face?

If your mind is going through all the ‘what if’ scenarios you know that’s your ego talking, because your intuition automatically knows and doesn’t need to question everything.

Overthinking

Have you ever initially been excited or certain about something, and then later the gears in your brain start turning and you start to second guess your decision or action?

I know I do this all the time. I wonder if I should have declined an invitation, if I locked my car, if I should have taken an opportunity, if I should have done something a different way.

This happens when your intuitive certainty gets drowned out by the ego.

Worrying about what other people think

As we discussed above, the ego wants to be accepted by society at a primal level because there is safety in numbers. But as you’ve probably noticed it can be a little too obsessed with fitting in.

Worrying about fitting in with the crowd can get you into trouble.

It might lead you to do dangerous diets, spend too much on trendy clothing, and consume unhealthy substances because your friends are doing it, to name a few.

It can lead to wanting the wrong thing for the wrong reason because you’re not aligned with your intuition.

The benefits of trusting your intuition

Now you know some of the ways your ego can drown out your intuition. In case they aren’t obvious, lets go over some of the benefits of learning to trust your intuition. There are many but these are some that I’ve personally experienced.

Fear doesn’t control you

When you develop your intuition you are less likely to act or not act out of fear. You can recognize your ego’s fear response and let it know that you are safe and that no matter what happens you will be ok.

You’ll be able to trust yourself to make the right choices and work through any challenges that arise.

You won’t be tapped inside your comfort zone, unable to expand and grow as a person.

You find amazing opportunities

When you’re led by ego there are opportunities that you don’t even see because your ego is filtering them out.

When you start to tap into intuition it’s like cleaning the windshield of your car. You didn’t even realize you were missing all those little details. The sky is bluer, the trees are greener, you see important signs on the road more clearly and are able to navigate through life better.

You are able to go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

You make better choices

Making intuition based choices will change your life in such a profound way. Imagine how good it would feel to always know you are on the right path.

Remember your intuition comes from your subconscious which is constantly learning and analyzing data. On top of that your subconscious is literally keeping you alive right now by regulating all your bodily functions, it’s that smart.

When you follow your intuition, you are in far better hands than when your ego, with all it’s fears, leads you.

You get to the real source of pain

The ego covers things up out of the desire to be protected, sometimes it doesn’t want to face uncomfortable truths.

But the thing is, you can’t really clear away pain until you get to the root of it.

Sometimes when we’re upset because someone did something to us, it’s not really about the other person. It’s about a hurt or insecurity you have that was triggered. The only way to resolve those feelings is to acknowledge and address the real issue.

Lets say you went on a few dates with someone and thought you had a connection but then they ghosted you. One person might shrug it off and just assume it wasn’t meant to be without feeling more than a little disappointed. Another person might take it really personally and be upset for weeks. They’d questions their very worth and whether they could ever be loved.

Why do they have different reactions? Because the second person has unresolved issues that were triggered by the event, however it wasn’t the ghosting that was the true source of their pain.

You can use your intuition to figure out what the real source of your pain is so you can deal with it and let it go.

9 Steps to Follow Your Intuition

Trust your first response

Have you ever been taking a test at school and your first instinct was A, but you second guessed yourself and picked C? Then when you got your test back you found that your first instinct was right.

I know this happened to me all the time in school. What I didn’t know then was that even if I zoned out in class my subconscious was paying attention and knew the answer immediately, meanwhile my conscious mind was slower to respond and my ego had time to jump in and start worrying about being wrong.

Trust your first instinct, the first answer or feeling that comes to you.

Ask yourself questions

Ask yourself what you want from the situation or opportunity. Will it benefit you? Can you grow from this? Will the end result get you to where you want to go?

Your ego might chime in and tell you that you don’t really want to start a business or travel to Europe by yourself, but ask yourself what is truly aligned with your desires.

If you weren’t afraid what would you do?

You can also ask why you feel excited, scared, or sad about something.

You might find that you’re excited because this opportunity will help you grow and achieve a goal. Or you’ll find that you’re sad because this situation triggered old pain that you’ve been covering up for years.

How do you feel?

Noticing how you physically feel is a great way to recognize what your intuition is telling you.

Listen to your body, do you feel light or heavy? Peaceful or anxious? Are you leaning forward or away? Are your muscles tense or relaxed?

Does something make you feel happy and excited despite it not making sense?

When your intuition is saying yes you will feel light and expansive in your chest. When it’s saying no you feel tightness like something heavy is constricting you.

Remember that intuition is literally felt in your gut through neurons, so pay attention to if a situation gives you nausea or butterflies.

And sometimes discomfort in the body can be a sign that there is emotional pain that needs to be resolved.

Listen

Some people feel intuition in their bodies, other people might hear a calm voice.

The easiest way to ‘hear’ intuition is to notice your inner dialog. Listen to the thoughts you’re having.

How do you know when your intuition is talking to you, versus when your ego is talking?

Lots of chatter is usually the ego. Usually the chatter is worried or frantic. It’s wondering if this is a big mistake, if doing this thing will lead to disaster, if you’ll fail or embarrass yourself. It’s going through the ‘what if’ doomsday scenarios and assuming the worst.

Or it might be trying to justify something you know deep down is wrong or selfish. It’ll tell you “it’s fine if other people get hurt, as long as I get mine.” When you know a choice you make will have negative consequences and cause someone unnecessary pain but you feel the urge to do it anyways, that’s not intuition.

Intuition is usually quiet and peaceful. It doesn’t try to plead with you or negotiate. It tells you what’s up and leaves you to make the decision.

Uncover your limiting beliefs

Earlier you learned that your ego is shaped by your beliefs, so one way to bypass the ego and get to your intuition is to spend some time uncovering your limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are thoughts and feelings you believe to be true about yourself and the world that hold you back in some way. They limit your ability to expand to your fullest potential and experience the things you wish you could do but have been to afraid to act on.

All your beliefs are based on the things you’ve observed and experienced in your life starting from the moment you were born. Chances are you’ve picked up some not so great beliefs that are working in direct opposition to your intuition and highest good.

When you notice a negative thought and you realize that it has influenced your actions look for the story behind it, what happened to make you believe this? Then you have to choose a new belief that you will replace it with.

Learning to change your limiting beliefs can be difficult, this free worksheet can help get you started.

Don’t let other people influence you

Sometimes the doomsday chatter is not coming from inside you, it’s from your family, friends, coworkers, or the internet.

Remember that they don’t have to live your life, they aren’t stuck with the consequences of you doing or not doing something. Unless this situation directly affects them, their opinion really doesn’t matter.

If something feels right for you, and you know it won’t lead anyone to harm, do it.

Practice mindfulness

A great way to regularly get in touch with your intuition is to take a few moments every day to slow down, give intuition space to expand inside you.

Our lives are so busy, and there are so many external and internal things pulling at your attention. Getting in touch with intuition requires that we block out the noise and put away the distractions for a while to just have just a few quiet moments each day.

Something I do every night after I stretch is sit quietly for just a few minutes and clear my mind. I find that putting my hand on my chest helps connect me to my body.

The ego likes to chime in during quiet moments, when that happens just redirect your attention to your breath and the sensation of your body taking air in and letting it go.

Let your dreams help you

Sometimes your dreams can hold clues from your intuition.

Your subconscious is working all day along with your conscious mind. While you sleep your conscious mind goes dormant but your subconscious is still working. Not only is it regulating all your body functions it’s also working through problems.

When you sleep your brain replays all your memories from the day and files them in the long term memory folder. Dreams are a physiological process in which your brain is trying to make sense of your thoughts and experiences of the day.

You can ask your subconscious mind, or higher self, a question before falling asleep and sometimes it’ll provide an answer in your dreams. If you have trouble remembering dreams try writing them down as soon as you wake up.

You can’t let it go

Sometimes we say no or ‘maybe later’ to something but the desire or opportunity keeps coming back.

Now sometimes we do obsess over things that aren’t good for us, so go back to the previous steps.

What was your first instinct when the situation came up?

How did your body feel?

What is the dialog in your head? Is it your ego chattering?

Are you letting other people influence you?

When you take time to quiet your mind what comes up?

Based on all these steps you should be able to determine if something should be pursued or if you should let it go.


Final Thoughts on Tapping into Your Intuition

We’ve covered that intuition comes from your subconscious mind and is based on evidence it gathered without you even being aware of it on a conscious level.

We learned that though it tries to protect you, ego can get in the way of connecting to your intuition and presents itself as fear, ‘what if’ scenarios, overthinking, and worrying about what other people think.

The benefits of following your intuition are not being controlled by fear, noticing new opportunities that you didn’t see before, making better decisions, and getting to the real source of pain.

You learned 9 ways to listen to your intuition including trusting your first response, listening to how your body feels, practicing mindfulness, and more.

I hope you found this information helpful! I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the subject of intuition.

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