In one way or another, we’ve all experienced that “gut feeling”—a twinge of anxiety about an ominous conversation; a fleeting vision of something working out perfectly; even the ability to predict a major life event like a pregnancy, death, or engagement based on an intangible sense of the future. Intuition, when accessed properly, can give you those kinds of results, but it’s also easier than you might expect to tap into it on a simple, everyday basis.
“Intuition can help us in many areas of our lives,” says intuition teacher Diane Brandon, author of Intuition for Beginners: Easy Ways to Awaken Your Natural Abilities. “For instance, maybe you take the same route to work every day, but one day you think, hey, maybe I should take a different route. It’s possible that if you ignore that seemingly random thought, you could wind up delayed due to unforeseen factors or even get into an accident. This kind of thing can happen in all areas of life—from relationships and work to house-hunting or vacation planning.”
Intuition consultant and coach Joan Marie Whelan echoes how important it is to pay attention to your gut feelings—but says lots of people don’t. “Intuition is the highest wisdom within you that wants to take you down the easiest path of your life,” she says. “It’s a free gift available to everyone, but lots of people think it’s hokey and silly, so they discount it. People block or fail to access their intuition when they consciously or unconsciously ignore subtle messages and feelings, and listen to the loud voice instead. Intuition isn’t logical, and often when we get an intuitive hit, we say, no way, that’s crazy—yet that was likely the better path for you, and you may never know it.”
I asked Brandon and Whelan for a few key tips to help people get in touch—and stay in touch—with their intuition. These pointers are a great place to start.
I’ve helped many people create six- to seven-figure incomes by helping them open up their intuition.
“Every day, take some quiet time—it can be in the shower or on your way to work,” says Whelan. “Silence is the key to hearing and connecting with your intuition. Spend time building a deep and trusting relationship with your inner truth, and your intuition will become stronger and healthier. I’ve helped many people create six- to seven-figure incomes solely by helping them open up their intuition and revealing their true purpose. In my experience, wealthy people tend to be intuitive and use their guts to create and make the right move at the right time in their careers.”
Set an Intention
Let the universe—and your gut—know that you want to receive its messages, says Whelan. “You need to say all day long, I’m listening to hear what is best for me; I’m listening to hear how to make more money; I’m ready to tap into my creativity and problem-solving abilities,” she says. “Intuition is ideas that come from your heart. It’s not hard or meant to make you struggle—we do that on our own.”
When you fail to listen, you can lose major opportunities.
Don’t Discount Negative Feelings
When you have a feeling of dread or fear come up, don’t ignore it. “Look deep within and make sure it is not your intuition warning you,” says Whelan. “An idea, thought, or vision are all forms of your intuition showing up to help you. When we fail to listen, we make bad decisions and that’s when life becomes bumpy. You can lose major opportunities, or miss out on an easier career path, create health challenges, end up in unhealthy relationships, and much more.” So basically, the payoff to tuning into your intuition can be major.
Write it Down
Write down how you feel when you wake up, says Whelan. “Are you excited you’re here and doing what you do, or are you dreading it? Start to be aware of how you’re really living your life.” She also suggests writing down key moments from your life and memories that may have represented a turning point. “Did those events help you run towards yourself, your passion, and desires, or did it make you run away from your truth and what you really want to be doing?” Getting in touch with this information, says Whelan, can help you remove blocks that could be causing you to question or not trust your gut.
Our culture regards intuition as suspect, so people think it’s not credible.
Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
Many people are brought up not to believe in intuition, which can affect their ability to hear it, says Brandon. “Our culture still regards it as suspect, so people may not think intuition is credible. They talk themselves out of it, saying things like, that makes no sense, or intuition isn’t reliable,” she says. “For instance, you may need to hire a new employee, and as you go through resumés, one stands out with great credentials. When you interview that person, your gut tells you something doesn’t feel right, but because of the credentials, you tell yourself you’re being ridiculous and you hire the person. Within a month, you’re kicking yourself because of problems with performance or attitude.” Save yourself the time and don’t ignore your gut.
“One of the most important things you can do is create a hobby or do something often that brings you joy,” says Whelan. “This will help open your heart and build a healthier relationship with yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be scared or worried. It means you’re communicating with the highest wisdom inside yourself in order to create, heal, grow, play, and learn.” It also shouldn’t feel like work, says Brandon. “Does it feel like your love interest gets you and accepts you as you are? Do you feel that you can be yourself and still be loved by the person? Does the relationship feel right in all or most respects?” If something feels natural, odds are, it’s meant to be, whereas if it’s a constant struggle, your intuition might be nagging at you to take a different path.
Strange feelings should never be overlooked.
“We tend to focus on gut feelings, but the truth is that intuition can come in many different forms,” says Brandon. “That can include feelings of dread or excitement, an aha moment, or a vision. Information can come through one of the senses—touch, hearing, taste, and even smell. Our bodies are also intuitive information receivers, so strange feelings in the body should never be overlooked for presenting intuitive information to us.”
Originally published September 2016. Updated November 2017.