By Lauren Denos: 8/10/2015 (Mindset)

"The Intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." - Albert Einstein

We all have amazing internal guidance systems. They are the things that tell us if something is not right, even if we cannot see what that may be. This is called our intuition. Your intuition is a powerful guidance tool, but you just have to actually use it. The problem is that too many of us ignore our instincts and intuitions altogether. Sometimes because what our intuition is telling us seems impractical, and sometimes because we are doubting our own instincts and intuitions for what someone else says we should do.

Your intuition comes from your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind sees things in a way our rational mind can't. Have you ever been driving and you just knew the car next to you was going to come into your lane, even without them using a turn signal? That's because your subconscious picks up on the subtle movements that your conscious mind was not paying attention to.

Think about instances where your instinct was right, but you ignored it because everyone one told you something else. I have met people that everyone else said were wonderful and my instinct told me otherwise. In some of these instances, I listen to the other people because I figured they knew the person better. Some of these people turned out to be very dangerous people and harmful to the health. All I can say is, now when my gut tells me there is something wrong, I listen.

Did you ignore your instinct because the other way of doing something was more logical? This is a big one, too. It is so easy to negate your intuition when you see that logically it does not make sense. For example, I have had business ideas in the past and people would tell me, “that will not work you will not make enough money doing that. Instead you should use your talents and create some classes based on that.” Well, those classes bombed and I actually went back to what my instinct was telling me to do in the first place. Now don't think that I am saying to ignore logic. Logic and intuition are meant to be used in conjunction with each other. Instinct will tell you where you want to be headed, and logic will tell you the best path to get there.

How to Listen to Your Intuition More:

Create some quiet time. We live in such a loud fast-paced world that it can be hard to hear ourselves think. Many times intuition can be a quiet whisper, and if you are constantly on the move you may not hear it. You can take some time away at your lunch break and find some shade under a tree and just sit there, or you may want to go on a walk. You may want to meditate every morning to get yourself into a routine of quiet time. You may just need to have quiet time when an obstacle to the decision make process has been reached. There is not right or wrong, whatever works for you.

Step away from the situation that you are uncertain about, let it go for a little bit. Too often people get into a situation where they have a problem or a decision to make, and then they just dwell on it. They cannot see how they are going to choose what to do, and they are not being productive at all. This can cause what is known as decision paralysis. Instead of dwelling on it, look at the problem. Think of a couple solutions and options, and then walk away to do something else entirely. This gives your mind the chance to process everything and come back with a clear head. You may even have to do this a few times if the decision is a hard enough one.

Be honest, set your ego aside for a minute. Ego can steer you in the wrong direction. Have you ever been at the gym and you are feeling tired or sore or maybe a little ill? Your intuition says, “a light workout is all I can handle today.” But then you see other people watching you in the gym, and you decide to do some heavy lifting or some intense sprinting exercise. That is the ego kicking in. Yes, I have been guilty of this. Don't get me wrong. Ego can be a great tool sometimes, but you want to make sure it is not over riding your intuition in a bad way.

What does your gut say? We hear the phrase “gut feeling” often and for good reason, because we can get either a sick or just off feeling in our gut when we are making the wrong decision. This is not how it works for everyone, but many people have the gut feeling cue. For instance, you are debating on whether to stay in your current job. You hate this job and it is making you ill, but you make good money at it. You intuition is screaming let me out, and your logical brain says, “But we are making good money here.” Thus, you decide that you will stay and then your stomach starts churning, not like excited butteries, more like dread. That is a gut feeling. Now that is a very extreme example, it is not always that big of a reaction, but it makes the point.

Don't let fear take over. You want to make sure you are not mistaking fear for a gut feeling. Sometimes your intuition can be telling us to go in a specific direction, but it is new and not the "safe" route, so we can be scared. When you are going through a decision, pay attention to whether this is fear of something unknown or a bad gut feeling. A lot of times if you are scared, you will have more negative mind chatter or you will rationalize why the other choice is better. Make sure you are making a decision based on where you really want to be going and not running away from one because it is off the beaten path for you.

Don't mistake desire for intuition. Desire and intuition can sometimes work in accordance with each other and sometimes they are not the same thing. Here is an example I think everyone can understand: Your desire wants a doughnut and a caramel macchiato with extra whipped cream and caramel sauce, but your intuition wants you to just get a little extra sleep and have a real meal. This is when they do not cross paths. Your intuition knows that this is not a healthy option, but you desire it anyway. Other times, you may desire to do art work and that may be your intuition corresponding with your desire and sending you in the right direction. Pay attention and know the difference.

Keep moving! Don't let the decision paralyze you. If you cannot tell the difference between your intuition and your mind chatter, then just choose a direction and go with it. Staying stuck is worse than making the wrong choice. Besides, you are never stuck going one direction, you can always change courses whenever you want. In addition, you will be learning how to listen to your intuition more and more and during that process you will make mistakes.

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