Have you ever considered that there may be more to life than just your thinking mind? Have you ever thought yourself into a state of love and joy and bliss or did it just kind of happen? Sort of came up from somewhere, and then left again?
This is the magic and intelligence of our inner bodies. Although we live in a culture where the egoic, thinking mind is in charge all of the time, we only have to look (without thinking) within to find a whole new part of our being.
Gut instincts are a major part of this internal world that speaks in non-verbal form. Your gut feeling gives you hints, indications, and other pointers as to what you should be paying attention to, what you need to do for growth, and what people or situations you should avoid.
Where Does Your Gut Feeling Come From?
Your gut is often considered to be your second brain. According to mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin, the cells in your gut carry memories from your past and sends these signals to the brain – even if the thinking mind can’t identify the specific memory.((Elite Daily: Can I Trust My Gut? A Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist Says Your Gut Probably Knows More Than You Think))
Because of this, the gut is often what people refer to when they have a ‘sixth sense’ about something or when they use something called their ‘intuition’. These subliminal messages about whether things are right or wrong, whether you should or shouldn’t go ahead, often bypass the logic of the brain and you receive the signals at a much deeper level.
Depending on how spiritual you want to get, many people believe that the universe, God, spirit (or whatever terminology you want to use) communicates through your inner body, rather than places like your head.
Should You Trust Your Gut Feelings? Why?
There is always a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not you should trust your gut. We live in a society where mind and logic rule all and the power of gut instincts has been left for the past or for crazy mystics that live in the mountains.
This is one of the main reasons why we even need to ask the question about whether or not we should trust our gut feelings. For most of us in the western world, they are a completely foreign concept, so no wonder we have trouble knowing whether or not we should trust them.
This point is emphasized by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. In one of life’s most analytical games, he explains that the total possible number of moves in a single game of chess is more than the number of seconds that have elapsed since the Big Bang created the universe!((MITSloan Management Review: Intuitive Decision Making))
Because the game is so complicated, he explains that intuition – rather than analysis – is key to success. This idea transfers to the most complicated ‘game’ that there is: life.
The truth is that your gut feelings are just as important as your mind, if not more important. If you know how to use them correctly, gut feelings are rarely as incorrect as the mind is.
Your gut feeling communicates in more subtle and truer ways than your mind, and it speaks closer to who you really are – rather than going through the filter of your negativity and overanalyzing biases in your head.
Like with any skill and habit that is worth training, listening to your gut can be very difficult to learn to begin with, especially if it is something that you have never really tuned into before. With a bit of practice though, your mind and your gut can work in tandem to help you manifest your best possible life.
5 Gut Instincts That You Shouldn’t Ignore
Mastering listening to your gut and intuition can take months and even years of practice, but it is certainly a worthwhile path to lasting inner peace and happiness.
However, for now, there are five gut instincts that you shouldn’t ignore, and these are ones that you are probably already familiar with:
1. I’ve Done This Well Before
Everyone comes across particular stumbling blocks in their life. Sometimes there are obstacles that when looked at objectively and from a zoomed-out position, you can’t believe that they are obstacles because they seem so small. Yet here you are on the ground level, falling again and again at the same place.
Whether you are a basketballer who keeps messing up three-pointers, a footballer who can’t score a penalty, or someone who gets anxious about something that they have done loads of times before, it is all in the mind.
The mind can always get in the way and ironically, the more that you allow the mind to step in during those crucial moments, the more power it gets whenever you re-enter those crucial moments – leading to a negative cycle.
The only way out of this is to trust your gut feeling. Be aware that your mind will want to step in and tell you that you should do this and should do that. You might be tricked into thinking that it is helping you, but it isn’t.
How many times have you put a golf ball from this distance? A million. You don’t need your mind telling you how to do it.
Be still. Be aware. Let your body and instincts take over.
2. I’m in Danger
This is probably one of the most powerful gut instincts that you will have experienced. Our survival instincts are arguably our most powerful set of instincts and are always on standby, waiting for us to need them.
These feelings often come from deep within your body and can be anything from a mild tingling that something isn’t right to something more extreme like a sharp pain. Either way, it is worth tuning in to your body and realizing that something is probably up.
In his book, Intuitions: Its Power and Perils, author and psychologist David Myers Ph.D. believes that the feeling you get about a person in the first 10 seconds expresses an “ancient biological wisdom”.
He relates this idea to the story of Jackie Larsen, who had a really bad feeling about someone who was asking for her help by the side of the road. It turned out that the man was a criminal fleeing a gruesome crime scene.
However, it is also important to consider the other side of this gut instinct. Because danger often relates to life and death situations, it is extremely important that you don’t just factor in your intuitions. This is one of those cases where the mind should still be there in the background to make sure you aren’t missing something obvious.
For example, the shooting of unarmed young men usually comes from this ‘I’m in danger’ intuition that was completely incorrect. This often comes from unconscious programming about what is and what isn’t actually dangerous – your rational mind should step in here.
Similarly, if your ‘I’m in danger’ feeling goes off inside of you frequently, it is probably faulty. The reason that this intuition is so powerful is that it is reserved for those very rare (sometimes never) events that can occur when your life is in danger
If you frequently believe that your life is in danger, it might be time to review how much you listen to this intuition and why it is going off when it doesn’t need to.
3. I Feel off With This Person
One of the most common intuitions that almost everyone has experienced at some point is the gut feeling of ‘feeling off with someone’. It is that small but noticeable shift in your energy field that tells you that something is not quite right when you are interacting with someone.
Just like with most gut feelings, this particular one is there to be noticed, not immediately jumped on. After all, it can be difficult at first to distinguish between a shift inside that signals something positive versus one that signals something negative.
If you just assume that something is wrong whenever you feel a shift, you are going to be running away from so many situations that could be great for you.
Notice the feeling, remember the feeling, see what your mind has to say, and let everything play out over a bit of time. As long as you notice initially that something is ‘off’, you will be more aware and present. In this state, your judgment is clear and you can decide whether you want to follow through on your initial gut feeling or not.
4. I Feel I Need to Show Empathy
A positive gut instinct that is prominent within our lives is the instinct or intuition that we feel when we feel that someone might need our help. Because showing support and compassion for others is always a good thing, this is definitely an instinct that you will want to listen to.
You may feel it when you are at a group gathering and you see someone shy on the edges. Your intuition may tell you to invite them in. You may feel a shift when you see someone you care about facing a difficult time. Your intuition may tell you to comfort them and see how they are.
Notice that many people think that these sorts of actions come from the mind when they don’t. “I should go over there and make her feel welcome” comes after your intuition has already pushed you in that direction. Your mind might even push back insisting that she is fine and doesn’t need your help. It is your gut instinct again pushing back saying that you should show empathy.
Whenever your gut instincts are telling you to be empathetic, it’s a good idea to listen.
5. This Is Special
If you ask anyone about some of the greatest decisions that they have made in their lives, whether it be marrying the right person, jumping at a scary business venture, or deciding to write a book, most people will have the same explanation: it just felt right.
The mind is the perfect tool for making small-scale decisions that only involve a few variables. When it comes to the truly meaningful and life-changing events in this world, intuition is what it’s all about.
The human experience is deeply engrained with a greater sense of ‘knowing’, far beyond what the mind can ever comprehend. This is what people talk about when they say something didn’t really make sense, but it felt right.
It is one of the most important gut instincts to listen to. It symbolizes a potentially pivotal moment in your life. As soon as you notice it, you just have to take the final and most difficult step: will you go against your thinking mind and trust your gut? If you can, you will find joy and happiness beyond your wildest, mind-based dreams.
So there you have it. These aren’t the only gut feelings that you can and will experience in your life – there is a broad spectrum that will gradually open up to you – but these are the most important and noteworthy ones.
If you start to listen to your intuition more and give your thinking mind a back seat role, your life will completely open up to so many amazing possibilities. This is perhaps the best-kept secret of a Life Hack.
More About Trusting Yor Gut Feeling
The Art of Instinct: 9 Ways to Trust Your Gut
Should We Trust Our Gut Feeling When Making Decisions?
5 Gut Instincts You Don’t Want to Ignore