This post was written by Wendy Betterini.
How to Develop Your Intuition
Intuition may seem to be a spooky, otherworldly talent, but it’s actually a very natural skill that anyone can learn to develop and use in their everyday lives. At its core, intuition is nothing more than the ability to tune into subtle subconscious messages that we perceive from our environment. We may not always understand the reasons why we feel anxious about a certain situation or wary of a specific person, but our subconscious mind is busy in the background picking up and processing little bits of information that we may not notice right away. All of these little bits of information are compiled, catalogued and formed into a conclusion that triggers bodily signals.
For example, have you ever gotten a “bad feeling” about something without knowing why? If you ignored that feeling and proceeded anyway, you probably experienced negative consequences. Likewise, have you ever had a “gut feeling” that a certain job or experience was perfect for you? If you trusted that feeling, you likely discovered that you were right and everything worked out wonderfully. That’s because your intuition was working quietly in the background, perceiving little details that you were not aware of – and directing you to back off or move ahead.
In today’s modern world it may seem like our intuition isn’t as necessary as it was to earlier humans. Our forebears relied heavily on intuition to avoid dangerous predators, determine the best hunting times and even decide on the most beneficial place to build a village to ensure the longevity of the tribe.
While we rarely have to worry about predators anymore (except perhaps the human variety), our intuition can still serve as a powerful and effective tool to guide us in nearly any situation, whether professional, personal, romantic, or even spiritual.
Developing your intuition is a very simple process; it just requires a bit of patience and persistence.
Step One – Tuning Into Signals
The first and most important step is to develop an awareness of how your body feels in normal circumstances. Since most intuitive prompts are perceived as bodily sensations, you’ll need to be able to tell when you’re receiving signals from your subconscious mind.
Start by “tuning in” to your own body several times during each day and noting how you feel. Most often you’ll probably find that you feel neutral, neither good nor bad. However, be on the lookout for any feelings of dread, wariness, fear – or on the opposite end of the spectrum, feelings of eagerness, excitement, and enthusiasm. Ask yourself if any of these feelings might be signals regarding your current activities or decisions you are about to make.
In addition to assessing your emotional state, notice any bodily sensations like tingling, warmth, chills, nausea or fluttering in your abdominal area.
One of the most common ways that our intuition speaks to us is through “gut feelings,” which can vary in intensity. Sometimes you’ll get a super-strong reaction like a clenching or wrenching sensation. This is usually in response to a dangerous or volatile situation. At other times your gut feelings can be very mild, like the sensation of “butterflies” or nervousness.
As you get used to tuning into your body, you’ll begin to notice how often the feelings change in response to your activities. Throughout the course of a single day you can run the gamut from feeling calm and centered to frightened and defensive.
Don’t worry if you can’t define the sensations you experience right away. More important than anything else is simply being able to recognize when you’re feeling neutral, good or bad. These three states alone can help you know immediately which situations will be beneficial and which should be avoided.
Step Two – Deciphering The Messages
Once you’ve developed a familiarity with your own bodily sensations and intuitive prompts, it’s time to strengthen your interpretation skills. Deciphering messages from your intuition can often be like fitting together puzzle pieces. At first glance the signals might not appear to make sense. However, if you examine them more closely and build up trust in your own intuitive insights the full picture usually comes clear.
When you feel like you’re receiving a message from your intuition, stop what you’re doing and try to tune in more clearly. Pay attention to your bodily sensations and ask yourself a series of questions that will help you understand why you’re feeling that way. You might ask, “Would this be a bad move?” or “Is this choice the best one for me?” Then pay close attention to any feelings that seem to provide an answer. You might feel a wave of dread or a twisting sensation in your abdomen that seems like a warning. Or you may experience a feeling of lightness and excitement that seems to urge you forward.
Occasionally you may not receive clear messages at all, just a vague feeling that you’re not sure how to interpret. When this happens, try to put off taking action or making decisions until you’re sure which direction would be most beneficial. If nothing else, your intuition might be telling you that the time simply isn’t right yet – but could be at a future time.
Step Three – Building Trust
The more you practice working with your intuition, the messages will get clearer and stronger. Eventually you’ll be so used to tuning into your intuition that you’ll do it almost on autopilot. At the beginning, however, you’ll need to focus on learning to trust the messages you receive – even if they don’t seem to make sense right away.
You may find it helpful to keep a written journal of your insights and the ensuing outcome when you acted on them. Over time, you’ll have dozens of examples of undeniable accuracy which will help build trust.
In the meantime, assessing the consequences of your actions can be a reliable way to test your intuitive insights. Before making any decisions or taking further action, ask yourself what the possible consequences of doing so might be. If your intuition seems to be telling you to hold back, would anything bad happen if you chose to do that? Likewise if your intuition seems to be urging you to move forward, what possible consequences could there be to doing so?
If it feels too frightening to trust your intuition on very important decisions, try it on minor decisions first. Use it to determine the right foods to eat, the best outfit to wear, and which activities would be most beneficial for you. Eventually you’ll find yourself tuning into your intuition on a regular basis, but there’s nothing wrong with starting slowly and feeling your way along.
As you work on developing your intuition, remember that it’s really nothing more than a heightened awareness of subtle clues that exist in each situation. By learning to recognize these clues and trust your feelings about them, you can drastically improve your success and growth in your professional life, personal life, spiritual life, or in any other areas that you want to make positive changes.