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Published on June 11, 2020

5 Gut Instincts Not to Ignore If You Want to Get What You Want

5 Gut Instincts Not to Ignore If You Want to Get What You Want

Have you ever considered that there may be more to life than just your thinking mind? Have you ever thought yourself into a state of love and joy and bliss or did it just kind of happen? Sort of came up from somewhere, and then left again?

This is the magic and intelligence of our inner bodies. Although we live in a culture where the egoic, thinking mind is in charge all of the time, we only have to look (without thinking) within to find a whole new part of our being.

Gut instincts are a major part of this internal world that speaks in non-verbal form. Your gut feeling gives you hints, indications, and other pointers as to what you should be paying attention to, what you need to do for growth, and what people or situations you should avoid.

Where Does Your Gut Feeling Come From?

Your gut is often considered to be your second brain. According to mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin, the cells in your gut carry memories from your past and sends these signals to the brain – even if the thinking mind can’t identify the specific memory.[1]

Because of this, the gut is often what people refer to when they have a ‘sixth sense’ about something or when they use something called their ‘intuition’. These subliminal messages about whether things are right or wrong, whether you should or shouldn’t go ahead, often bypass the logic of the brain and you receive the signals at a much deeper level.

Depending on how spiritual you want to get, many people believe that the universe, God, spirit (or whatever terminology you want to use) communicates through your inner body, rather than places like your head.

Should You Trust Your Gut Feelings? Why?

There is always a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not you should trust your gut. We live in a society where mind and logic rule all and the power of gut instincts has been left for the past or for crazy mystics that live in the mountains.

This is one of the main reasons why we even need to ask the question about whether or not we should trust our gut feelings. For most of us in the western world, they are a completely foreign concept, so no wonder we have trouble knowing whether or not we should trust them.

This point is emphasized by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. In one of life’s most analytical games, he explains that the total possible number of moves in a single game of chess is more than the number of seconds that have elapsed since the Big Bang created the universe![2]

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Because the game is so complicated, he explains that intuition – rather than analysis – is key to success. This idea transfers to the most complicated ‘game’ that there is: life.

The truth is that your gut feelings are just as important as your mind, if not more important. If you know how to use them correctly, gut feelings are rarely as incorrect as the mind is.

Your gut feeling communicates in more subtle and truer ways than your mind, and it speaks closer to who you really are – rather than going through the filter of your negativity and overanalyzing biases in your head.

Like with any skill and habit that is worth training, listening to your gut can be very difficult to learn to begin with, especially if it is something that you have never really tuned into before. With a bit of practice though, your mind and your gut can work in tandem to help you manifest your best possible life.

5 Gut Instincts That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Mastering listening to your gut and intuition can take months and even years of practice, but it is certainly a worthwhile path to lasting inner peace and happiness.

However, for now, there are five gut instincts that you shouldn’t ignore, and these are ones that you are probably already familiar with:

1. I’ve Done This Well Before

Everyone comes across particular stumbling blocks in their life. Sometimes there are obstacles that when looked at objectively and from a zoomed-out position, you can’t believe that they are obstacles because they seem so small. Yet here you are on the ground level, falling again and again at the same place.

Whether you are a basketballer who keeps messing up three-pointers, a footballer who can’t score a penalty, or someone who gets anxious about something that they have done loads of times before, it is all in the mind.

The mind can always get in the way and ironically, the more that you allow the mind to step in during those crucial moments, the more power it gets whenever you re-enter those crucial moments – leading to a negative cycle.

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The only way out of this is to trust your gut feeling. Be aware that your mind will want to step in and tell you that you should do this and should do that. You might be tricked into thinking that it is helping you, but it isn’t.

How many times have you put a golf ball from this distance? A million. You don’t need your mind telling you how to do it.

Be still. Be aware. Let your body and instincts take over.

2. I’m in Danger

This is probably one of the most powerful gut instincts that you will have experienced. Our survival instincts are arguably our most powerful set of instincts and are always on standby, waiting for us to need them.

These feelings often come from deep within your body and can be anything from a mild tingling that something isn’t right to something more extreme like a sharp pain. Either way, it is worth tuning in to your body and realizing that something is probably up.

In his book, Intuitions: Its Power and Perils, author and psychologist David Myers Ph.D. believes that the feeling you get about a person in the first 10 seconds expresses an “ancient biological wisdom”.

He relates this idea to the story of Jackie Larsen, who had a really bad feeling about someone who was asking for her help by the side of the road. It turned out that the man was a criminal fleeing a gruesome crime scene.

However, it is also important to consider the other side of this gut instinct. Because danger often relates to life and death situations, it is extremely important that you don’t just factor in your intuitions. This is one of those cases where the mind should still be there in the background to make sure you aren’t missing something obvious.

For example, the shooting of unarmed young men usually comes from this ‘I’m in danger’ intuition that was completely incorrect. This often comes from unconscious programming about what is and what isn’t actually dangerous – your rational mind should step in here.

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Similarly, if your ‘I’m in danger’ feeling goes off inside of you frequently, it is probably faulty. The reason that this intuition is so powerful is that it is reserved for those very rare (sometimes never) events that can occur when your life is in danger

If you frequently believe that your life is in danger, it might be time to review how much you listen to this intuition and why it is going off when it doesn’t need to.

3. I Feel off With This Person

One of the most common intuitions that almost everyone has experienced at some point is the gut feeling of ‘feeling off with someone’. It is that small but noticeable shift in your energy field that tells you that something is not quite right when you are interacting with someone.

Just like with most gut feelings, this particular one is there to be noticed, not immediately jumped on. After all, it can be difficult at first to distinguish between a shift inside that signals something positive versus one that signals something negative.

If you just assume that something is wrong whenever you feel a shift, you are going to be running away from so many situations that could be great for you.

Notice the feeling, remember the feeling, see what your mind has to say, and let everything play out over a bit of time. As long as you notice initially that something is ‘off’, you will be more aware and present. In this state, your judgment is clear and you can decide whether you want to follow through on your initial gut feeling or not.

4. I Feel I Need to Show Empathy

A positive gut instinct that is prominent within our lives is the instinct or intuition that we feel when we feel that someone might need our help. Because showing support and compassion for others is always a good thing, this is definitely an instinct that you will want to listen to.

You may feel it when you are at a group gathering and you see someone shy on the edges. Your intuition may tell you to invite them in. You may feel a shift when you see someone you care about facing a difficult time. Your intuition may tell you to comfort them and see how they are.

Notice that many people think that these sorts of actions come from the mind when they don’t. “I should go over there and make her feel welcome” comes after your intuition has already pushed you in that direction. Your mind might even push back insisting that she is fine and doesn’t need your help. It is your gut instinct again pushing back saying that you should show empathy.

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Whenever your gut instincts are telling you to be empathetic, it’s a good idea to listen.

5. This Is Special

If you ask anyone about some of the greatest decisions that they have made in their lives, whether it be marrying the right person, jumping at a scary business venture, or deciding to write a book, most people will have the same explanation: it just felt right.

The mind is the perfect tool for making small-scale decisions that only involve a few variables. When it comes to the truly meaningful and life-changing events in this world, intuition is what it’s all about.

The human experience is deeply engrained with a greater sense of ‘knowing’, far beyond what the mind can ever comprehend. This is what people talk about when they say something didn’t really make sense, but it felt right.

It is one of the most important gut instincts to listen to. It symbolizes a potentially pivotal moment in your life. As soon as you notice it, you just have to take the final and most difficult step: will you go against your thinking mind and trust your gut? If you can, you will find joy and happiness beyond your wildest, mind-based dreams.

Conclusion

So there you have it. These aren’t the only gut feelings that you can and will experience in your life – there is a broad spectrum that will gradually open up to you – but these are the most important and noteworthy ones.

If you start to listen to your intuition more and give your thinking mind a back seat role, your life will completely open up to so many amazing possibilities. This is perhaps the best-kept secret of a Life Hack.

More About Trusting Yor Gut Feeling

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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Daniel Riley

Daniel is a writer who specialises in personal development and helping others become the best version of themselves.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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