Maybe you've heard of intuition, but you're not quite sure how to use it. It's that little voice inside that guides us to our greatest purpose in life. But with all these many voices in our minds, it can get confusing trying to figure out which voices are the intuition and which are just silly thoughts. In this post, I'll give you 3 easy tips for following your intuition and finding the courage within you.
But before we get into that, consider this question:
What is stopping you from being brave today?
There's really only one thing: fear.
But not all fear is a bad thing. Some fear helps us avoid dangerous situations and stops us from going down the wrong path. How do we figure out which is the “good fear” and which is the “bad fear”?
This is where intuition comes into play. Our intuition will sometimes signal us with a fearful feeling when we should avoid a situation, person, place, or experience. This is the GOOD fear that we want to listen to. This type of fear helps us stay out of danger and stops us from wasting time and energy on the wrong path. (1)
Other times, our minds will play tricks on us by repeating fearful, self-critical thoughts like “What if you fail?” “No one will like you anymore” or “You're not good enough.” These are the fears that are silly traps from the ego – the BAD fear. We want to ignore these limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging thoughts so that we can be our best selves and live our highest purpose.
Okay, so how do we pick apart these different fears and follow our intuition?
Tip 1: Notice where you hear or feel the fear in your body
Intuition comes as a “gut feeling” or instinct. You'll feel it deep in your belly with a sense of inner knowing. Oftentimes, this intuitive guidance is more of a feeling than a thought. It may just be a sensation more than words, or there may be one or two really direct words like “stop,” “no,” or “don't do it.” Even if you don't hear words from your intuition, you just know it because you can feel it clearly in your gut. (2) (Some people even say that their intuition has been so strong in their bodies that it physically moves them!)
The fears that come from your mind are heard in your head, rather than felt in your body. These fears appear as a voice with a lot of stuff to say. The voice will ramble on endlessly with worries and assumptions, imagining the worst of outcomes and getting really ridiculously negative. This fear is a waste of energy, and it's best to ignore it. I recommend taking some deep breaths, going for a walk, listening to music, or journaling in order to get these crazy thoughts out and let them go.
*** A sure sign that the fear is just in your mind is that it passes within a day or even a couple of hours! Intuitive fear is firm, direct, and steady. ***
Tip 2: Try the A or B Test
Imagine that you're stressed out with making a big decision. You want to be brave but you're not sure which choice is the best for you. Which fear is real? Which fear is a setback?
In this situation, try the A or B test. Imagine that you could ask the advice of someone you really respect and love: should you do A or B?
And imagine that this person responds, “Definitely A, without a doubt.” Then feel what happens in your body.
If you get a sinking, sick feeling in your gut, that's your intuition saying, “Nope! Don't listen to them!”
But if you feel suddenly energized, open, and excited, that's your intuition saying, “Woohooo! That's the answer I really wanted to hear!” You know that choice is best for you, based on your intuition.
Tip 3: Practice asking your intuition a question
Once you've figured out what these different gut feelings are like (big yes or big no from your intuition), practice asking your intuition different questions to test this out.
The keys here are that you first calm your mind, and then be very patient with the answer.
I recommend closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Let yourself relax for a moment. Calm down your mind by becoming very aware of your body and how it feels. (Try meditation to help you relax before doing this exercise!)
When you feel ready, ask your intuition a yes or no question and then wait. Observe how your gut feels. Notice if your mind starting answering the question right away.
Try to be really patient and wait for that inner-knowing feeling or perhaps a few direct words of advice.
Have fun with this! Don't get discouraged if you find it difficult at first to keep your mind out of the way. It just takes practice.
And remember- the answer is not always what you “want” it to be, but you'll feel in your body that it's right.
Watch the video above for some practice with this exercise, and good luck!
(Try this next: 7-Day Gratitude Challenge)