We all have intuition, but not all of us use it for a variety of reasons. Maybe we don’t believe that we have it, maybe we never really thought about it, or perhaps some think that it belongs in the “woo-woo” realm of unexplainable spiritual things.
The fact is that using our intuition for help and guidance is something that everyone can practice, and you may be surprised at how much better you are able to maneuver in the world once you start trusting your inner voice more.
What exactly is intuition? Intuition is a gut feeling or instinct that helps us know or sense something without knowing why we know it. This feeling tells us to do something or not do something and is a natural process. Psychologists say that it is very fast “pattern recognition” that happens below our conscious level. Actually, only a small portion of our brain is concerned with conscious behavior like reasoning and making decisions. The majority of the time our unconscious brain is seeing patterns and associations that we are not aware of.
The main point is that we do not always have the luxury of taking time to think things through or consciously analyze every decision that we make. Sometimes we have to take a risk or a leap of faith and just go with what a strong feeling is telling us. Two studies published in the British Journal of Psychology give excellent examples of the advantages of using intuition. (See http://www.theemotionmachine.com/how-to-improve-y...
Ways to improve your intuition:
Our intuition is most reliable and strongest when it relates to something we are knowledgeable about or have a lot of experience with. So, the more experience we have with a situation, the more confidence we should have in following our intuition.
Intuition is often associated with physical changes in our bodies, such as skin tingling, goosebumps, a feeling in the pit of the stomach, or changes in heartbeat or breathing. Therefore, body awareness is very important in increasing our ability to tap into our intuition. Practices that help us tune into our bodies such as meditation, conscious breathing, or yoga are all ways that may help improve intuition.
Like any skill, we need to practice using our intuition if we want to get better at it. Here are some ways to do this:
- Believe that you really are intuitive and have a desire to want to improve your intuition. Doubting has no place here, for it will just put up a block and make the process difficult when it doesn’t have to be.
- Become more aware of yourself and your surroundings, as noted above when talking about body awareness.
- Start guessing about small inconsequential things, such as the temperature outdoors, who is calling when the phone rings, or anticipating what a friend is going to say before anything is said.
- Automatic writing is a good way to access the unconscious and is easy to do—just get in a quiet space, perhaps ask a question, or just start writing whatever comes to mind without analyzing or editing it. This is a good way to get ourselves outside the boxes of logic and reason (left-brain) and switch over to right-brain thinking.
- Spend some alone time outside in nature, or indoors in a quiet place. Ask a question about an issue you are dealing with. Focus on it, and then let it go. If outside, continue walking as you start to notice and observe what you see around you. For example, what animals or colors do you see? Later you can do an online search to find out what they mean. You can even pick up an object that you see (leaf, stone, rock, feather) and ask your intuition to give you some insights as you look at the object.
- When you have a decision to make, start to actually use your intuition by going with your first decision rather than looking a pros and cons or changing your mind over and over.
- Keep a dream journal so you can remember your dreams. Often insights come to us during dreams, so you may see patterns or realize that the same dream keeps occurring over and over.
- Think about someone you know and focus on this person. Then see how long it takes for you to hear from him/her and document it.
- As you go through your day, start observing what you see or hear—numbers, signs, billboards, a song on the radio. If you have been grappling with finding an answer to a problem, once you open your eyes to the messages around you, answers may start coming, but only if you are paying attention.
- Pick a book at random and open it to a random page. Read what is on the page, and see if it relates to something you have been thinking about. You may get valuable insights by doing this.
-Act on hunches you get rather than ignoring them. The hunch is your intuition speaking directly to you, so consider it to be an important piece of information.
Use your intuition to ask questions about yourself, not others.
Do not give intuitive information to others unless they specifically ask for your help.
Use common sense. Ask yourself if an intuitive answer is best in a given situation, or should you evaluate it more thoroughly.
Remember that intuition does not command us to follow what it is telling us; rather, it is one of several possibilities and perspectives.
See intuition as a gift that can help you deal with life in wondrous ways by focusing on intention and attention.
State the intention to develop your intuition and then just continue with your daily life.
Use your attention by staying alert to what you are noticing around you.
There are many resources available that provide numerous practice exercises that will help you develop more confidence in your intuitive abilities, such as Laura Day’s Practical Intuition. Once you make up your mind that you want to be more intuitive, you are already half way to achieving this goal.
“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
"I believe in intuitions and inspirations...I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am."