Ever thought of someone and out of the blue he or she called you? Ever felt uneasy about a situation without any logical explanation? Such situations defy logic and instead conform to your intuitive knowing about it.
Intuition is the inner voice that guides you like a master guides his pupil. It is your inner insight that arises without conscious reasoning. Gerd Gigerenzer of the Max Planck Institute says that “people rarely make decisions on the basis of reason alone, especially when the problems faced are complex”. Intuition plays an integral role in decision-making. Some people are inherently intuitive while others are not so much. But you can always strengthen your intuition by connecting more with your inner voice.
Intuition is a product of your subconscious that is the powerhouse of your personal unconscious. It contains all the elements of your personal experience. Though intuition is a regular occurrence, it is often not well acknowledged by the scientific community as it stems from cognitive and motivational biases while lacking a logical or empirical foundation. There is however a scientific basis to intuition and it was found that sometimes decisions made intuitively were far more superior than those made reasonably.
How does intuition work?
Francis P Cholle, the author of The Intuitive Compass, defines intuition as “a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.”
Gut feeling often comes with a flash of clarity, a feeling of tension or uneasiness in your gut, goosebumps, sweaty palms or feet, or overthinking. The connection between your gut and brain enables your experiences to be registered as gastrointestinal distress.
Researchers have found that intuition is associated with certain brain processes like evaluating and decoding emotional and other nonverbal cues. The amount of information that your brain collects is invariably more than what you can consciously register. What you might consider an instinctive decision may actually be a result of your subconscious evaluating information without your awareness.
Why should you trust your intuition?
Given the fact that intuition lacks a scientific basis, can you solely rely on it for decision-making? It was found that intuition works best when it is paired with rational thinking. Daniel Kahneman – a noble prize winner in economics proposed two different thought systems. System 1 i.e., fast and intuitive, and system 2 i.e., slow and rational. Of the two, he suggests that system 1 functions at a survival mode making it more prone to error. System 2 on the other hand, is more reliable for good judgments as it makes decisions based on analysis by weighing the pros and cons of a situation rather than being fast and impulsive.
According to Kahneman, just relying on intuition alone can cloud your judgment as intuition is often influenced by the way choices are framed. For instance, when the glass is perceived as half full it presents a more optimistic outlook than when it is perceived as half empty.
In one study researchers measured the subtle physiological responses of participants who were asked to predict whether a picture would appear behind either of two curtains on a computer. The results showed that participants were able to predict the correct curtain 2-3 seconds before the computer did. Studies also suggest that while making major life decisions like choosing your life partner or deciding what investments to make, intuition leads to better outcomes.
However, trusting intuition does not come naturally for everyone. It takes understanding the way in which your inner voice connects with you. But you can always strengthen your intuition with the help of the seven following tips:
7 ways to strengthen your intuition
Learning to trust your intuition will give you an edge over others both in your professional and personal life. You will become more aware of the factors leading to success and also learn ways to leverage the situation in your favor. Basically, you will become aware of the different consequences of your actions and also perceive how they will influence your life in the long run.
Like any other muscle in your body, intuition too requires exercise. Thus, to strengthen your intuition, it is imperative that your start acknowledging your inner voice. Following are the ways to strengthen your inner connection:
1. Get to know yourself
It is crucial that you know who you are before you can start trusting your intuition. When you discover your true self you become aware of your true values, beliefs, and motifs, the knowledge of which will help you connect with yourself better.
Introspecting the motifs behind your actions, indulging in hobbies that you enjoy, journaling about your feelings are a few of the ways in which you can discover yourself. In fact, the very process of getting to know yourself better will trigger your intuitive insights. And in the process, you will become more intuitive.
2. Look for patterns in your past
Ever had situations in your life you wished you approached differently? How different do you think they would be if your choices were different?
Such moments of missed opportunities are indicators of how your gut communicates with you. Some people have a deep knowing in their hearts, hear a strong inner voice warning them, have sensations like deja vu and in some cases even have a vision. Be aware of these signs in your everyday life and you will begin to connect with your intuition.
3. Capture your flashes
Intuition comes in flashes of awareness like “aha” moments. It feels like coming to the realization about something that you have always known. For instance, when Archimedes ran out to the street naked thrilled by his discovery, he was awestruck at the revelation of his intuition.
When you have such flashes of intuition, it may feel like something supernatural or even divine. You will scream “I know it” in your head and feel immensely happy about your premonition. The more you capture these flashes, the more their frequency will increase in your life. In this way, you will strengthen your intuition.
4. Open your third eye chakra
The better you know yourself, the more you grow spiritually which opens your third eye. The third eye or the pineal gland is the energy center between your brows. It is the point of connection between your conscious and unconscious selves. The third eye is associated with your ability to perceive things beyond the five senses and is connected to your body’s pituitary and hypothalamus glands.
Your brain emits beta waves when you experience sadness and anguish. It releases alpha waves when you feel happy and calm. Dolphins too emit a high level of alpha waves that function as sonar to help them navigate the sea. In humans, the pituitary and hypothalamus glands radiate the alpha waves in the body. Since children have tender glands it allows them to be more perceptive and intuitive.
5. Connect with your heart
The heart has a little brain of its own. It has about 40k neurotransmitters just like that in the brain. Hence, the heart is as much conscious as the brain or perhaps even more.
The brain functions as your autopilot mode of consciousness that navigates you through life based on patterns of neural behavior. While the heart can be perceived as the conscious driver of your life. Patients who had their hearts implanted experienced the same emotions, sensations, and even memories of the donor. Listening to your heart is like listening to your intuition because the heart always acts with love while the brain always thinks about survival.
6. Have an open mind
Often times you shove away your intuition because you are so close-minded even to the possibility that something more can exist beyond your five senses. However, just because you cannot perceive something does not mean it cannot exist. For instance, there are frequencies of sound and spectrums of light that humans cannot perceive but other organisms can.
Instead of shoving away information that does not conform to your notions of reality, at least give every perspective one chance to prove its worth. Consider finding facts and evidence before validating or nullifying an idea. Because sometimes reality can be much stranger than fiction.
7. Meditate for 20 minutes every day
Meditation is therapeutic. It clears your mind and calms you down. With a calm mind, it is easier to navigate through your day and your life.
There are different kinds of meditations, you pick one that you like the most. As a beginner, you can opt for guided meditations that work on breathwork and focusing your awareness. You can also listen to high frequencies while meditating like 432 Hz love frequency for connecting with your heart. For opening your third eye, you can listen to binaural beats that produce specific patterns in your brainwaves. It contains very high frequencies that resonate with third eye-opening, love, beauty, sensuality, and harmony. Sit or lie down comfortably with no disturbance and relax as you consciously breathe in and out. Try it for 2 weeks, 20 mins every day and you will notice a difference in your energy and will also strengthen your intuition.
The bottom line
With practice, you can strengthen your intuition and become more aware of your life choices. It all about finding your connection with that guiding inner voice that always prioritizes your best interest.
And always remember that intuition works best when paired with reasoning. How luck is a byproduct of opportunity and preparation, right decisions are a result of instinct and reason.