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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

Reference

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Daniel Riley

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

How to Stop Being Passive and Start Getting What You Want 5 Gut Instincts Not to Ignore If You Want to Get What You Want 9 Ways to Build and Keep Healthy Personal Boundaries How To Be Perfect If You Feel Ashamed of Your Flaws What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

Fortunately, meditation can help.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

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If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

    Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

    Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
    • Don’t eat too late
    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

    3. Challenge Your Brain

    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

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    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

    4. Take More Breaks

    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

    However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

    One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

    This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

    When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

    Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

    5. Learn a New Skill

    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

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    Let me give you an example of this:

    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

    It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

    If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

    6. Start Working out

    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

    Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

    Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

    Interested in getting started?

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    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

    • Join a gym
    • Join a sports team
    • Buy a bike
    • Take up hiking
    • Dance to your favorite music

    7. Eat Healthier Foods

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

    This applies to your brain, too.

    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

    If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

    • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
    • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
    • Nuts – Improves memory
    • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
    • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

    Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

    Final Thoughts

    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

    You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

    More on How to Improve Memory

    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

    Reference

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