As I age, gain more life experience, and grow my self-awareness… I learn to listen to my intuition, to trust it, to follow it.
According to Google, intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something without the need for conscious reasoning.” Basically, it means the ability to know something without knowing how you know it.
The beauty of intuition is that it is something that lives within each of us. The challenge with intuition is that we don’t always know how to find it.
We all have the capacity to connect with our intuition, but we have so much “background noise” in our lives –emails, text messages, 24-hour news cycles, and smart phones that always ping – that drowns out the gentle murmurs of our intuition. But just because we can’t hear it doesn’t mean our intuition isn’t there. It’s there.
Connecting with your intuition in today’s world takes intentionality. It can be done easily, if we consciously choose to do it. To be intentional, I’m sharing some very concrete steps I take to turn the volume down on life’s background noise and magnify the soft voice of my intuition.
This is especially helpful if I’m making a decision or have to respond to someone in the moment. I literally stop whatever it is I’m doing and take a big, deep breath. I fill my lungs with as much air as possible, sipping it in through my nose. I hold it for a second or two, then release it slowly, out my nose. I close my eyes while I do this. Taking breaths like this two or three times helps my brain slow down and process what I’m feeling, which allows me to get clear on how I want to respond.
2. Find some solitude.
It can be hard to find my intuition in a room full of people or sitting at a table with friends. I start thinking about their opinions, wondering what they would do, and asking them for guidance. Those steps are okay as I gather information and assess a situation. But when it comes time to make a decision or figure out what I want, being alone can help. It allows me to sink into my own body and listen to my intuition. Meditating, taking a shower, going for a walk, exercising by myself, sitting outside in nature, and even going for a drive are all solitary practices that help me connect with my intuition.
3. Take a break.
This one is helpful when there is a clear “problem” I’m trying to solve. Sometimes when I’m stuck and not sure what to do, I find that walking away can help. Whether it’s just getting up to get a cup of coffee, or going for a long walk outside, or even walking away from a situation for a day or two, giving myself a break from the “problem” helps me create space for the solution to come to me. It is usually during those breaks that my unconscious voice starts talking. Once that voice starts giving me guidance, I know I can return to the “problem” and start to solve it. For me, this tactic works especially well for work-related challenges.
4. Check in with your body.
I can literally feel my intuition in my body. I know what it feels like when I’m following my intuition, and I know what it feels like when I’m not. When I’m following my intuition, I feel more grounded. My chest feels calm and I feel a sense of relief throughout my body. When I’m not following my intuition, or when I’m going against it, I feel tense. My shoulders crunch up to my ears, my chest feels constricted, and I feel agitated. Learning these signs that my body gives has helped me learn to slow down in life and take the time to check in with my intuition. Usually when I feel signs that I’m not following my intuition, I go immediately to one of the other tactics like breathing or taking a break.
5. Take your time.
A lot of times we feel pressure to make a decision immediately. We don’t like the anxiety that comes with being in limbo, so we hustle through the decision-making process as fast as we can. We may not always like the results, but hey, at least we got to avoid the anxiety, right?
How about trying it this way… how about learning to be okay with the anxiety that might come with being in limbo? How about learning to say, “I’m not sure yet. I will need to think about it.” Many of the things we do in life are done to avoid discomfort. An approach that helps me is to tolerate some discomfort while giving my intuition an opportunity to make itself known.
You are never alone.
Life is cyclical in nature, filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and millions of moments in-between. It’s important to understand that you are not alone in this journey. Even if you are by yourself, your intuition is always there with you… waiting patiently for you to listen to its guidance and follow its path forward. Hopefully the tactics I shared in this article will help you to connect with it.