Sometimes we make impulsive decisions. It happens. But after awhile, we begin to notice how these quick decisions get in the way of our happiness. We might regret those choices. Or we might feel anxious and question our decisions. Those times when you do slow down and listen to your gut, your decisions are aligned with you and what feels “right” to you. You become more confident and you trust yourself.
Nevertheless, I’m here to tell you that you can improve your ability to listen to your intuition. Let’s get to it
Acknowledge those “negative” feelings so that you can make room for a decision that’s aligned with you. When we’re a neutral or positive state, we’re better equipped to make decisions. We have more perspective. If we’re in a “negative” mood, we might be more likely to react.
Even if this voice tells you to do something that you don’t want to do, recognize that it might feel uncomfortable. We might not want to break up with our partner(s). We might not want to get off the couch. We might not want to put away that box of cookies. You get it. Generally when you get these feelings, you might not want to follow through because it might mean some “pain” on the other side, whether it’s feeling your feelings or feeling sad or lonely after leaving a relationship. You’ll have more space to think and to make decisions that fit for you.
Do something creative or “mindless” and focus on one activity at a time.
When we engage in these activities, we are less over-stimulated (unless there’s music playing and people talking and you’re watching a TV show). When we multi-task, there’s less room for us to pay attention to our internal cues. Get into your body. When we’re walking or practicing yoga poses, we generally aren’t overthinking. We don’t think about that next step when we’re walking (except if we are re-learning how to walk from an injury or accident).
Allow your mind to wander. When we are curious, we’re more likely to be open and intuitive. Whatever comes to your mind, let it arise. See what it’s like to allow thoughts without resisting them. Mindfulness is another way to practice this exercise.
Lieberman, M.D. (2000). Intuition: A social cognitive neuroscience approach. Psychological Bulletin, 126(1), 109-137.
Volz, K.G. & Von Gramon, D.Y. (2006). What neuroscience can tell about intuitive processes in the context of perceptual discovery. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(12), 2077-87.