Posted on April 6, 2016

#WellnessWednesday: Developing Your Intuition


“Use your intuition.” “What is your gut telling you?” “Do what you feel is right.”

We hear these lines, but we don’t always know exactly what next steps to take towards fulfilling them. The decisions we make in life involve multiple factors: different people, thoughts, feelings and experiences. These factors and how we perceive them push and pull how our minds think, which in turn affects our emotions and behaviors. Ultimately our quality of life seems to be largely determined by how we view and respond to our experiences. This back-and-forth “communication” between what happens to us and how we react helps us strengthen our intuition and creates an easier access for us to tap into it. Conscious effort is required on our part in order to develop intuition, and there are concrete steps we can take in order to understand and act on our gut feelings.

Think about your thoughts as energy. A certain type of energy, positive or negative, exists between yourself, your surroundings and your  potential experiences. Give yourself permission to totally and completely immerse yourself in the adventure we call life. Get wrapped up in your thoughts, be purposeful about your actions, and act on what you believe is right for you and for your journey. Explore what makes you tick, angry, happy, sad, aware and apathetic. Understanding all of these factors and the unique and specific combination of how these vary in accordance with each other is important in getting to know your mind and body.  Your journey is unique to you. Appreciate that. Take your time. Don’t pressure yourself into finding some profound truth about life; live it. Think about your intuition as a sixth sense and have a clear intention for why you want to develop it and what you hope to gain.

Take risks. It may be difficult to find out what you really want in life if you don’t experiment and come in contact with emotions that you maybe tend to avoid. The experience of suffering is really an opportunity to understand what we like and don’t like about ourselves, others and the world. Let’s use this opportunity to gain deeper insight about the human condition including details about our strengths, weaknesses, common goals and failures, and other factors. If there is a person you are drawn to, for whatever reason, don’t fight that feeling. Being attracted to certain people or decisions is normal, but acting with curiosity rather than selfishness or greed really does make a difference in what you experience and how you experience it. Listening to that voice that tells you whether or not you should go down a certain path shouldn’t involve making judgements about whether or not the path is “right” or “wrong,” as this varies from person to person and their experiences. It should involve a true and deep intention to explore the world and become a better you.

Keep a diary. Writing down your experiences and reactions allows you to more easily reflect on how you’re experiencing life. It’s easy to live aimlessly and without intention—it’s easy and comfortable. The hard lessons we learn in life should be valued and remembered. What’s the point in experiencing happiness or suffering if you don’t use these experiences to better yourself or help others? Keeping a record of what we go through in life, how we feel about it, and how we reacted and how we wish we reacted to it may be helpful in our future endeavors, relationships and over all attitude.

Meditate. Meditation is a very useful tool in learning how to develop your intuition and bring your true intentions and motivations to light. Allowing yourself around 30 minutes a day to sit alone with your thoughts may allow you to see some problems areas in your life. What makes you anxious? What helps you feel better? What do you really think about the world? If time prevents you from engaging in formal sitting meditation, mindfulness meditation is a practice in which you don’t necessarily have to set aside time to do. You can do anything mindfully. The key is to be aware and present in the activity you are engaging in. If you are driving, drive mindfully. Try not to listen to the radio or eat food. Pay attention to the roads, signs or how your hands feel on the steering wheel. If you’re eating, try not to watch TV. Pay attention to the colors and textures of your food. When you write, paint, read, talk to friends, clean or exercise, try to do those things without multitasking. Be totally and completely engaged in that activity and that activity alone.

Be consistent and persistent. If things aren’t working out ideally and not in your favor, appreciate that you received the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be in an unfavorable circumstance – unfavorable to you. This is a part of what makes you, you. Get comfortable with standing up for what you truly believe in, and get used to rejecting what you truly don’t want in your life. The more you practice acting on your intuition with regularity, the easier it become to understand other, yourself, and the ever-changing nature of life. This really does make life more tolerable and maybe even more enjoyable, if you choose to create that avenue for yourself.

Implementing these ways of thinking and being allows us to view and experience life as an adventure, like a story that’s worth living from a first-hand perceptive. Through each of our unique experiences, we’re able to gain deeper insight about how our minds and bodies work independently and with each other, how healthy relationships can be maintained and how to attain inner peace. Develop your unique curiosity for the world, appreciate how different you are from others and use your intuition.

Photo courtesy of 99u

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