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The Art of Instinct: 9 Ways to Trust Your Gut

The Art of Instinct: 9 Ways to Trust Your Gut

There’s an age-old question surrounding our thoughts and behaviors: Do we think before we act, or act before we think? The fact is much of our decision making is merely reactionary—instinctual responses to our body’s physical reactions. Clichés like “following your heart” and “trusting your gut” can often, it seems, be surprisingly accurate. No matter how much of an “over-thinker” we may believe that we are, those sweaty palms oftentimes trump our logic even when making the most important choices.

More often than not, our bodies can govern how we think and feel rather than our minds being in control. People who are most in tune with their bodies are at greater risk for being led by gut instinct.

Studies show that when we are faced with financial offers that we deem unfair, for instance, our gut feelings override our rational, quantitative decision-making abilities. Even when we will ultimately benefit from the proposal, our physical reactions make us far more likely to reject the proposition we falsely consider to be unjust.

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How do we master the art of instinct? Here are 9 tips to help you know when and when to not go with your gut:

1. Listen to your gut when making decisions that have no wrong answer or no negative consequence.

Feel like the report you’ve just written needs another review? Make it happen. Does something trivial just feel right? Don’t over-think it and just enjoy.

2. Think before you act when a choice could result in long-term consequences.

When choosing a home, for instance, it is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of landing new digs. But, sleep on it! Weigh the pros and cons and be sure to check out plenty of homes before choosing your future residence.

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3. Don’t let your head get in the way when it comes to compassion.

If you see someone in need and feel the impulse to help, do it. Compassion is a gut instinct that should never be ignored.

4. Trust your intuition when you feel unsafe.

This doesn’t mean always letting fear get in the way, but when it comes to situations in which you feel an unwavering sense of vulnerability, listen to your instinct. If you are walking on a dark street and feel a seemingly irrational sense that the person behind you is a threat, go with your intuition and cross the street.

5. If you have a feeling that you or your child is sick.

Don’t ignore this sentiment! Take action—book an appointment. No one knows your body like you do. Listen to it!

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6. When rewards are within your capabilities.

Studies show that for many decisions, ranging from major to inconsequential, people who thought less (relied less on logic) reported being happier with their choices. Don’t let your thoughts get in the way of appreciating an exciting milestone. Just treated yourself to a new bag that’s well within your budget? Good for you! Kick that buyer’s remorse to the side.

7. Stick with your head when making decisions under emotional pressures.

If you’re having a bad day, everything can appear seemingly negative. Don’t let these physiological responses lead you to an unsound conclusion.

8. When you are self-assured.

When feeling a sudden urge of confidence for no rational reason, trust your gut and don’t let your mind bring you down. Self-assurance allows you to accomplish great feats—be sure to not let self-defeating thoughts get in your way.

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9. Don’t back-flip once you’ve committed.

Lastly, remember to ignore the chatter of your thoughts once a decision that can’t be undone has been made. Trust yourself and trust your ability to make sound choices and move on.

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Last Updated on February 13, 2019

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

10 Things Happy People Do Differently

Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

“There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

happiness surrounding

    One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

    6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

    People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

    7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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    smile

      This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

      8. Happy people are passionate.

      Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

      9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

      Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

      10. Happy people live in the present.

      While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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      There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

      So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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