Gut instinct – one of my favourite topics!
I so often have talked to people about listening to their gut instinct (I certainly keep telling my children about it), and I really believe that our gut feeling is right far more often than our brain.
But decision-making is actually a lot more challenging for so many of us than we are willing to acknowledge. I have to admit that I can feel most stressed simply from having to make small decisions day after day after day. What to feed the family, shall I make my child go and join this or that club, should I let them go out Friday night, and if so, how long, how do I organise my day, when do I force myself to keep exercising even though I am exhausted and when do I stop and rest because my body needs a break? I can go on and on, but I hope that all of you will recognise some aspect in this.
And this hasn’t even hit on the big life decisions – work, relationship, lifestyle choices!
And one of the reasons it is so incredibly challenging is because of the concern and worry that we might make the wrong decision, and what the consequences could be.
So, how do we know what the right decision is? How can we make the right decision? This is where gut feeling comes in. People tell us that when we listen to our gut feeling, it will generally be right.
Equally, we are also told not to let fear stop us, but where does fear sit? In our gut. So here is the Million Dollar question: how do we know when those feelings are fear-based and when are they our gut feeling that we can trust?
Tip of the week:
Today, what I’d like to do is share a little tip I was given some years ago, which I absolutely love and which has seen me through so many occasions when I wasn’t sure whether my behaviour might be driven by fear or whether my gut feeling was telling me to do/ or not to do something. It involves a short quiet time or meditation. I have written it out below, but if you prefer, click on this link for an audio recording to take you through the meditation.
Before making your decision, sit down for 10 minutes in a quiet space and relax deeply. Take some deep breaths, relax your body completely and still your mind. If your mind is busy and racing, let all the thoughts that come into your brain drift past. Pay attention to your body, especially your gut area and see what feelings emerge. Just observe them and let them pass through your body without getting attached to them. This can possibly create a feeling of anxiety or stress initially, but just allow those feelings to come up and watch them move through you. If your feelings around your decision remain the same for about 5 minutes, then it is your gut feeling. If however, the initial feelings have changed, then the initial feelings were your fear and it is the feeling after about 5 minutes, that is your genuine gut feeling.
This has worked for me every single time and there have been times when my feelings changed from almost panic at the thought of doing something to complete calm within just those few minutes.
If you want to research this topic further, look at intuition rather than gut feeling. I called it gut feeling as that is how we often talk about it, but you will find that most articles differentiate between an initial gut feeling, anxiety and intuition and this article refers to intuition. Here is a nice article that explains things a bit more:
Determining the difference between anxiety and intuition:
For some of my favourite resources for all manners of wellbeing, click here.