Learning to Trust Your Intuition

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Call it intuition, or call it gut instinct, we’ve all had those moments where we just have a “feeling” about a situation that we can’t really explain. Maybe you just had a hunch about which line to choose at the supermarket, or got a bad feeling about a dating profile you saw online. What can seem like a split-second intuition may just be your brain processing information faster than you expect and delivering a well-balanced verdict on a situation at light speed.

When your intuition kicks in, it’s a good idea to stop and listen to what it has to say. But we’re often told to override our gut instincts, so how can we learn to tune in to that little voice inside? If you have time, it’s always best to take 24 hours to think about any serious decision before you make a call. There isn’t always that much time to make a decision, though, so here is a quick process to follow so you can learn to trust your intuition a bit better in the moment.

Reassess the Situation

Look around the room, ask someone to repeat themselves, or think back over your recent interaction with the situation at hand. Did you miss any important information? Is there any new information that contradicts your intuition?

Take a Deep Breath

Exhale your uncertain energy and breath in fresh resolve. Do you feel more sure of your first instinct now, or less so?

List Pros and Cons

Take a few seconds to imagine the scenarios you face. What might be the negative outcomes of trusting your intuition? What would be the positive outcomes? Is there a reward that is worth the risk of overriding your gut instinct? These are questions only you can answer.

Put Your Mask on First

Often when we second guess our intuition, it’s because trusting our gut may mean disappointing someone else. Remember to think like someone on an airplane—when the cabin pressure drops, the flight attendant tells you to put your mask on first before helping others. You have to take care of yourself first or you won’t be in any condition to help anyone else. Are you hesitating to follow your intuition because it would mean putting yourself first?

Trust Yourself

You’ve taken a moment to question your gut instinct. Is it still strong? If there’s no new information to make you feel differently, then listen to your intuition.