How to Cultivate Your Intuition
Practicing the following steps will help you hone your feeling of intuition in your body and bring it to the forefront to guide you through important situations.
1. Slow Down & Clear Your Mind
When you’re living in a cloudy haze and rushing here and there, whether physically or mentally, you miss information. Slowing down helps you better recognize and process the information you receive, not only in your mind but also in your body. To do so, you must mentally and physically clear away the clutter. In real life, it might look like pushing back a deadline to remove urgency from a decision. It could also mean stepping away from a situation in order to gain further clarity, for instance taking a vacation before making a career change or spending some time apart from a significant other to determine if you’re right for each other.
Slowing down means purposefully making space for your intuition to occupy. The slower pace helps to shift your perspective and clear away distractions so that you can see and feel what truly does matter. Explore meditation, yoga, meditation and other practices that move your focus from darting thoughts into a deeper space of calm and centered focus within you. Just practicing your daily journaling for 2-5 minutes and exercising has tremendous benefits to help you slow down and have a clear mind.
2. Notice Sensations in Your Body
Intuition is grounded within the sensations inside of the body, so learning to recognize what’s going on within your body—i.e. what you’re feeling—is key to developing your intuition. While we might use the terms “feelings” and “sensations” interchangeably to describe intuition, note the slight distinction here: specifically, we’re more interested in understanding how your body feels in response to an emotion—for example, anger feels tight, sore, hot, and tingly—rather than simply naming an emotion like sad, angry, or frustrated, and stopping there. A great way to practice is to label the emotion in the moment when you experience it—e.g. anger—and then feel what sensations arise within your body that are associated with that emotion—e.g. your jaw is tight and shoulders are raised and tense. Doing so helps you stay out of your head where you risk being swept away by thoughts and instead tune into your body where your intuition resides.
Begin practicing as an observer, merely noticing with interest what’s happening to your body in response to different stimuli and emotions. Exercises where you bring to mind a specific memory and then label and feel the emotions it elicits within your body Are a great tool to help you understand what your body senses with different emotions. When you do Pay particular attention to your breathing, muscles, and heart rate to see how your body reacts and what that reaction tells you. The information it holds is crucial to devising action that’s meaningful and relevant to you.
3. Focus on You
Ask yourself, “What do I really need here? What’s important for me?” This is one of those times when it should be all about you, so give yourself full permission to do so. If you find your focus shifting to other people and their needs, notice and purposefully return your attention back to being curious about what you need and want, because that is where you will find your intuition; concentrating on these needs helps to more easily pave the pathway there. To clear the air around your intuition, it might be helpful to first go through the list of culprits above to identify the external factors influencing you, acknowledging them so that you can then put them aside for the moment. Your intuition is part of your highest, wisest self, so make sure the focus is squarely on you.
4. Take Action (or Circle Back to Step 1)
The feeling of intuition is like an ocean current navigating you toward a purposeful life. Once you discover it, you still need to jump in a boat and set sail in order to derive its full value. After you answer the question “What do I need right now?”, do something to give yourself what you need. It might be the tiniest step, but size doesn’t matter here. Small steps can actually be beneficial at first to gradually build trust with your intuitive self whom you may be meeting for the first time or becoming reacquainted with after an unhealthy relationship separated you. What’s important is that you are following your intuition.
Remember that trusting your intuition is a journey which will lead you back through these steps often as circumstances change and life continues to move onwards. Consider your intuition as a muscle to strengthen. With purposeful practice and frequent use, it will become more powerful and better serve its purpose—guiding you home to yourself.