Over the past few years I have experienced a large increase in my awareness of my intuition. The way I think of intuition is “Inner tuition.” The innate wisdom that is softly guiding us to our highest good and best selves. Key word being ‘softly’. In my experience my intuition never yells. Sometimes it’s stronger than others but in every instance it is something that could easily be ignored or rationalized as something other than intuition.
I first started noticing that I had this sense of intuition when I was reading a lot about using my emotions as a guide map in life. I was learning that I could rely on my joy and passion to guide me towards activities and life paths that would serve my highest good. This idea of having the ability to guide my life from within rather than relying on the outside world to determine my actions and decisions was very intriguing. For a while I really dedicated myself to following my joy as often as possible. I let the fact that an action felt joyful or exciting be the reason for pursuing it rather than thinking about what the action was going to net me in terms of results or rewards. This was the extent of my experience of intuition between the years 2011 and 2014.
In the summer of 2014, I started having bouts of intense anxiety and my world was turned upside down. I no longer felt that I could rely on my former stance of, “I’ll just follow my joy at every moment and everything will be hunky-dory.” If that were so why was I now experiencing this intense anxiety? This led to me getting in touch with myself and my intuition on a much deeper level.
While I go into more detail about my anxiety attacks in the blog post Why do I suddenly feel like crap?, the only solution I found that helped was slowing down. I started going through my days at a more conscious pace in terms of the speed of my thoughts. Whenever I noticed my thoughts starting to ramp up to speeds that were uncomfortable I would take a few moments to breathe and regain clarity.
I noticed that approaching life at this slower more easy pace made me much more aware of my intuition. Those slight internal nudges or words that came from other people that felt like they were spoken just for me were no longer being drowned out by a mind that was traveling at a million miles an hour. Being in tune with myself in this new way greatly boosted my confidence. I knew that if there was a challenging decision that I had to make that I already had the answer at some level. It was just a matter of getting quiet enough to hear it.
These days I rely on my intuition to guide me in every moment. From the ‘big’ to the ‘small’ decisions I follow what feels right. If something feels like it was said just for me then I take notice of that. If a word or phrase comes up 10 times in one day and feels as if it’s life’s way of trying to get my attention then I take notice of that too. Living this way is so much more rewarding for me than trying to figure out which direction to go based on external influences. It has led to a sense of confidence that no matter what comes up I have the wisdom and wherewithal to navigate through it.
Some practical tips for tuning into your intuition:
Set aside some time each day for quietness. This can be a formal practice of meditation, prayer or reflection or just simply a block of time that you dedicate to relaxing and being more open.
Notice times in your life when you have had to make a decision based on a gut feeling or instinct rather than tangible physical evidence. Maybe you’ve already been noticing and following your intuition without knowing that that’s what you were doing.
Do something creative or fun. Often I find that when I’m being creative or just having fun with no specific agenda I get insights about things that are related to my work life or questions that I have about impending decisions to be made.
Ask a question. If you have a specific question such as “Should I leave this job/partner/situation?” try putting the question out there and seeing what you get back. I’ve been surprised at how useful this tactic is. Just asking the question will make you more aware of when you’re getting slight nudges to go in a certain direction. Sometimes things that people say will feel like they were meant just for you or a word or phrase will come up repeatedly throughout your week for you to take notice of.