I used to think I was psychic (I’m not) because I have a knack for predicting what’s going to happen or knowing instinctively if someone is untrustworthy.
But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised that what I was using to make these predictions was in fact my gut instinct.
I was researching the gut for medical reasons and I had an “ah ha” moment when I came across a lot of research on the gut being our second brain and the science behind the gut instinct.
I delved deep into the research and was pleasantly surprised by the validation given from the science community that gut instinct does exist and is real.
I now take my gut instinct so seriously that nearly all the life decisions I make are by listening to my gut and trusting it will lead me in the right direction.
This is not mumbo jumbo, I’m deadly serious. I gave up my former career based on a gut instinct I had and I haven’t looked back since.
What Is A Gut Instinct?
I can guarantee that you will have experienced lots of gut instincts in your life but may not have appreciated what they were.
A gut instinct is that intuitive feeling, normally felt in your tummy (but not necessarily) that you just know that something is going to happen or you have a perception of what someone is truly like and you’ve only just met them.
Ring any bells?
My gut instinct has got me into LOADS of problems in the past. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken an instant disliking to someone and can’t shake a feeling of mistrust despite assurances from other people or the facts in front of me that I’m wrong.
In the end, I’m always right.
Your gut instinct is an intuitive knowing about something or someone without any tangible evidence. I personally don’t get any physical sensations in my body, I just “know”, but many people do get a physical feeling also.
The Science Behind Gut Instinct
A study conducted by the University of New South Wales in 2016 confirmed how our gut instinct can help and even improve our decision making process. Their findings were published in the Psychological Science and can be accessed by clicking here.
A simple summary of the experiment can also be found here if you would like the details, but it was concluded that intuition is very real and that it can be improved over time and with practise.
There is also the fact that our gut is our second brain. This is because the brain and the gut are literally connected by an extensive network of neurons, chemicals and hormones called the brain gut axis. Husband and wife, microbiologists, Justin & Erica Sonnenburg P.h.D.s run Stanford University Sonnenburg lab which study gut bacteria and they have confirmed that the brain gut axis works both ways and that gut bacteria send messages to the brain and the other way around.
Why Is Gut Instinct So Powerful?
The gut is so powerful because it has been collecting both conscious and unconscious experiences since you’ve been alive and has logged them. Good and bad. You’ve learnt a lot in your life and your gut instinct allows you to draw on the forgotten or unconscious experiences you can’t immediately recall in the conscious mind.
Incidentally, famous people who have trusted their gut instinct: Einstein, Steve Jobs and Oprah.
Top 3 Tips For Using Your Gut Instinct
I used to mistake gut instinct with my anxieties, they are similar, the big difference being that my anxieties can normally be rationalised when I work through them (another blog post) but my gut instincts can grab hold of me and despite me trying to rationalise with them, they rage even stronger.
So, my number one piece of advice for tuning into your gut is that when you think thoughts that seem irrational or left field, try not react immediately and go off somewhere to digest what you’re thinking. Can you rationalise what you are thinking?
If not, it’s probably your gut talking to you.
This takes time to pay off, but start to keep a log of your thoughts / predictions and every now and then check back into your notebook and assess if what you were feeling about a situation or person is accurate. Did it happen?
As I said, this is a slow burner, but it will provide you with concrete evidence at some point that your gut instinct works.
- Trial It
The next time you get a gut feeling, explore it and act on it. Obviously don’t do anything drastic to begin with, but have a little play. See what happens. Very rarely have I come across someone who listened to their gut instinct and regretted it.
To conclude, I recently ignored my gut instinct to my detriment.
I wasted a lot of time and energy on something, that if I had just listened to myself in the first place wouldn’t have happened. I didn’t trust what I was being told despite the fact that the company and the person I was dealing with had an impeccable reputation. I even discussed this issue with my nearest & dearest to get their views and I was told I was being silly.
I wasn’t. I was right. The company and the person turned out to be untrustworthy despite their supposed pedigree.
I will never let that happen again.
Gut instinct all the way for me now, it’s never let me down.
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