In our modern world, we have been taught to value rational thinking and reason over anything our own bodies tell us. How many times have you carefully weighed pros and cons to make a decision despite that strange rock-hard feeling in your stomach and still been disappointed, even though logically everything should have turned out the way you planned?
We have unfortunately been taught that the feelings of our bodies and hearts are nothing more than physical reactions that we need to learn to control, and our control of our intuition has resulted in a world filled with people who don’t know what they really want or how to get it.
The growth of the New Age movement resulted in more people turning to mindfulness and meditation for both spiritual and health reasons, but connecting to that serendipitous inborn feeling of intuition is still considered an impossible journey into a paranormal part of ourselves many aren’t even sure exists. Even the fables about infamously successful people ‘following their gut’ or family members avoiding dangerous situations because of a ‘funny feeling’ they had seem nothing more than lucky breaks.
But this notion is changing, and science has started to recognize that there is more to our innate compass than we realize. Recently a study discovered that people using their intuition could make quicker decisions that were accurate and confident. The study, published in Psychological Science in April 2016, found that intuition could be measured by subliminally exposing participants to emotional images as they tried to make good decisions. The participants used information from the subconscious images to make decisions more accurately and faster.
An interesting result of this study is that, according to lead author Joel Pearson, associate professor of psychology at the University of South Wales, intuition appeared to improve with practice – a strange turn of events in a world taught to value logic and reason above a ‘feeling’. Even stranger is that some of our greatest minds valued intuition above all else: poet Robert Graves believed it is a ‘supra-logic’ that could take you straight from the problem to the answer, while Swiss philosopher Johann Kaspar Lavater believed it is ‘the clear conception of the whole at once’. And yet we have somehow come to believe our own natural feelings are worthless.
So how exactly can you get in touch with your intuition?
You must first decide to notice your intuition and let go of rationality and logic, becoming attuned to the feelings and emotional and physical reactions of your body. Meditation and solitude is helpful for shutting out your ego – who is loud, selfish, and filled with fear – and listening to (and trusting) the quiet intuitive self.
Notice what is happening around you; keep a journal to keep a record of strange happenings or repeat events that may be trying to tell you something.
You also need to relax! Stress and anxiety have a negative effect on your intuition, and if you are performing under a constant umbrella of negative emotions, you are unlikely to feel anything from your body. Exercise.
Come into contact with your dreams. You can try to keep a dream journal to notice repetitions or messages you are trying to send yourself.
Practice using both sides of your brain. Write with your non-dominant hand or practice looking out of your non-dominant eye. Engage in creative activities such as painting or drawing to engage your right-brain, and stimulate your left-brain by joining a debating club or learning a new language.
Engage in some sound therapy. Certain sound frequencies have the ability to induce peaceful and mindful states, relaxing our minds and bodies so we become more open to our intuition.
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Research link for this information: Journals.sagepub.com