Making Decisions Based on Intuition
Most of us experience "gut" feelings. Some might say, "I have a feeling this decision is right," or "I sense something is wrong," even though there is not much indication of it. These gut feelings, also known as intuition, urge you to make a choice. When you follow your intuition, you feel connected to your inner self.
I've had trouble tapping into my intuition because I get so wrapped up in my own thoughts. This makes decision-making difficult for me, as I tend to overthink and not focus on what feels right to me. There is value in listening to your intuition, however.
Quiet Your Thoughts to Tap into Your Intuition
Intuition, no matter how out-of-nowhere it sometimes feels, comes from past experiences.1 For example, you may have a feeling that you'll slip when you're carrying a heavy tray of food on a wet floor. Your brain is using your knowledge of past experiences to warn you to be careful.
When it's time to make a decision, my brain likes to bring up every possible "what if?" I become overwhelmed by all the different scenarios and postpone all decision-making. However, procrastination does not make a choice any easier. I end up finally coming to a conclusion out of desperation, and I'm often unhappy with the results because I worry I didn't make the best choice.
Something I've done to trust my gut more is quiet my thoughts when I make a decision. I do this by closing my eyes and taking deep breaths. While breathing, I identify which thoughts are from my brain and which are from my intuition, and I choose from there. I don't always pick one or the other; sometimes, I blend my gut feeling with logic. These habits are helping me make decisions based on intuition more often.
Practice Making More Decisions Based on Intuition
There comes the point where I have to stop visualizing every possible outcome, choose something, and be okay with what plays out, even if there may have been something better. It's good to strive to make the best decisions, but obsessing over it typically doesn't make me feel any more secure. In fact, this unhealthy obsession has only brought me more anxiety.
So, what will help you make more decisions based on intuition is actually doing it. Identify your gut feeling by tuning down your thoughts, and then go for it. See where it takes you. Maybe it won't always end up in an amazing result, but the real victory is in trusting yourself.
Note: Some mental illnesses cause intrusive thoughts that can be confused with intuition. This article is meant for general audiences. If you are struggling with serious intrusive thoughts, follow the guidance given by a professional.
- Sutton, J., Ph.D., "What Is Intuition and Why Is It Important? 5 Examples." PositivePsychology.com, November 2020.
Clawson, A. (2021, August 25). Making Decisions Based on Intuition, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2021/8/making-decisions-based-on-intuition