Despite the significant role that intuition plays in our lives, it’s difficult to define. It’s a subtle sense of knowing with no idea how you know it. Most people have experienced that “gut feeling”—the unconscious urge that compels us to do things without knowing why.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to dismiss your intuition. But intuition is a powerful gift that deserves to be noticed. Successful intuitive people have learned to listen to the guidance from their gut feelings. They don’t ignore these things.
Intuition has inspired centuries of inquiry and research in the related fields of psychology and philosophy, but its nature continues to elude us. It’s not the same as thinking, logic, or analysis. It’s a sense of knowing without knowing, and it can be strengthened.
Everybody has some level of intuition. But many people don’t acknowledge it as intuition. To make the best possible decisions, we need to balance rational thinking with our intuition, which bridges the gap between reason and instinct. The cultural bias against following our instincts often compels us to disregard our hunches, often to our detriment.
It’s not necessary to reject logic or scientific research to benefit from your intuition. We can use all of these tools if we strive for balance. This balance will finally call all of our mind’s resources to action.
Here are nine things you can do to nurture and grow your intuition:
- Be observant.
The first step to take is to notice details. To help you do this, keep a journal and make notes when odd things happen. This will heighten your awareness of how often mystical coincidences, esoteric connections, and accurate intuitions are occurring in your daily life. In other words, you’ll more easily notice when you’re tapping into your intuition.
- Be creative.
Intuitive people are highly creative. And just as you can develop your creativity through practice, you can also increase your intuition. Creativity works at its best when it’s functioning intuitively, so practicing one will help you build the other.
- Be mindful.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or guided imagery, is an effective way to encourage your intuition’s development. Mindfulness helps filter out mental chatter, impartially consider all your options, tune into your intuition, and make decisions you can completely and confidently stand behind.
Mindfulness also boosts your intuition by increasing self-knowledge. Paying mindful attention to our present experiences in an unbiased way helps us better comprehend and accept our personalities. Besides increased intuition, other desirable effects of mindfulness include peace, creativity, and compassion.
- Be empathetic.
Tuning into your emotions, observing other people, and listening to them all use empathy to boost your intuitive powers.
Mind-reading may sound like fantasy, but it’s something that we’re doing all the time. Also called “empathic accuracy,” it’s a seemingly magical way to accurately read another person’s mental state from their body language, emotions, and words.
For example, if you see an insect, you often feel a creepy sensation on your skin. Similarly, if you see somebody reaching out to a friend only to be pushed away, you also feel rejected. And when your team wins or you see a couple embracing, you feel emotions too, as though you are personally involved. Many social emotions like pride, guilt, disgust, shame, embarrassment, and lust are often felt in this way.
- Listen to your body.
Intuitive people are tuned into their bodies, which helps them more easily notice their “gut feelings.”
If you’ve ever felt queasy or nauseous when you knew something was going wrong, you know that it’s possible for intuitions to cause physical sensations and reactions. Gut feelings are known as “gut feelings” for a reason! Scientific research suggests that intuition and emotion are rooted in the gut.
- Think about your dreams.
Pondering your dreams is an effective way to access your subconscious thought processes. Dreams and intuition are both rooted in subconscious, so think about your dreams can help you tap into this part of your mind.
When you dream, you receive information from your subconsciousness. Tuning into your dreams can give you a lot of information that’s useful in life.
- Spend time alone.
A little quiet time by yourself can help you develop your intuition and connect to your deepest levels of inner wisdom.
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, spending quiet time alone can help you reconnect with yourself and engage in more profound thought. In the midst of life’s craziness, you can’t discern intuition through the daily distractions.
- Enjoy downtime.
Constant business, constant focus on screens, stress, multitasking, and burnout are aspects of modern life we all just accept. But all of these things are very effective at stifling intuition. We often receive communication from our hearts and our intuition. But most of us are too busy to heed them.
Most of us have intuitive connections to important people in our lives. We know there are good ones and not-so-good ones, but we aren’t always intuitive enough to notice the difference.
- Release negative emotions.
Strong emotions—especially negative ones—can block our intuition. It’s common to feel out-of-sort when we’re upset. This is, in part, because we’re not connected to our intuition.
When you’re depressed, angry, or in an otherwise heightened emotional condition, your intuition can shut down. A positive mood can boost your ability to make reliable intuitive judgments. Your intuition will be easier to heed if you can mindfully observe and release negative emotions, instead of concealing them or obsessing over them.
Nurturing our intuition and accepting its wisdom is key to thriving in life. Our intuition is always reading our situation and trying to steer us the right way. But do we hear it? Do we pay attention?