Have you ever walked into a room and sensed incredible tension, a thickness, or heaviness in the air or your chest? The room can be filled with voices or even silent, yet you know something is just not right? Conversely, have you ever walked into a room and felt a lightness, maybe a sense of joy or inclusion, and you feel connected and welcomed? The feeling that you are in the right place; makes sense and feels good. This is your intuition.
Whether you have heard it called an “inner voice,” “sixth sense,” or a “gut feeling,” intuition is much more than just a quick decision and is a form of unconscious reasoning. Intuition is the process of our brain, heart, and gut collecting and storing information. This circuitry has likely evolved over time, allowing us to quickly size up a person or situation.
While it may be easier to grab onto other’s viewpoints without consulting ourselves, learning how to quiet the outside noise and turn inward long enough to listen and understand the signals from our bodies will allow us to make authentic decisions in the face of confusion and turmoil.
- Science has devised a technique to measure intuition, proving it exists and can be measured. In 2016, Galang Lufityanto, Chris Donkin, and Joel Pearson conducted experiments that found nonconscious emotional information can boost decision accuracy and speed up response times.
Nonverbal understanding, or the reading of body language, plays a significant role in intuition. When meeting others, we not only read their nonverbal cues to make judgments, but simultaneously communicate with our internal state, typically without conscious attention. The flow of awareness occurs through intentionally focusing on the essence of the situation and letting go of preconceptions and is a clear connection with the brain, heart, and gut.
“Your intuitive learning systems are always operating and accumulating information and beliefs, mostly without conscious awareness.” Robin M. Hogarth, 2008
Many scientific studies are now looking into the three brains, which consist of the cephalic brain (head), cardiac brain (heart), and enteric brain (gut), and how these sophisticated systems can work together receiving, process, storing, and accessing information when we need it. It is the result of listening deeply within ourselves and building our self-trust.
While all moments are great moments to practice and utilize intuition to build capacity and coherence, I typically ask my clients to focus on times when:
- Working on things they are good at.
- When faced with multiple options.
- Shopping for a big purchase.
- When seeking the truth about something or someone.
- Hiring someone for a position.
- Making a life change.
Know that intuition is rooted in science. The feelings result from our bodies creating physical sensations and emotions in a given environment, providing us a road map of our centeredness. Great news is this is like any other skill; you practice and become more proficient. With awareness and dedication, the cephalic, cardiac, and enteric brains can sense, learn, remember, communicate and change!
“Intuition, as with other skills, the suggested route to improvement is paying attention, practice, and reflection.” J. Gore & E. Sadler-Smith, 2011
So how can we start practicing our inner voice and utilize our knowledge from within? Here are a few ideas to become “in tune” with your intuition and how to purposefully practice in low-stakes environments.
- Practice through role play and connections with others
- Be intentionally aware of your five senses.
- Pay attention to your dreams, have a journal.
- Be creative and collaborate with others.
- Test your hunches.
- Understand your bodies baseline and consult your inner compass.
- Break out of your daily routine.
- Spend time in nature.
- Learn from the past.
- Engage in repetitive actions and movement.
- Feel more, think less.
- Practice feeling the essence of people while they speak.
- Mindfulness techniques
- Keep a journal
Intuition is all about making choices that feel just right and increase enthusiasm and joy inside of you. I am a believer that as humanity starts to increase personal self-awareness, the ease and practicality will be a game changer in every environment.