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When to Throw Logic Out the Window and Listen to Your Gut Instincts

When to Throw Logic Out the Window and Listen to Your Gut Instincts

It’s true that the majority of the time we live inside our heads. That’s not necessarily bad; logic is a human feature that has helped our species to survive and evolve throughout the ages. It is also true, however, that there is another force that has equally contributed to our well-being, and that is our gut instinct.

Instinct is no metaphysical ‘joojoo’ and has nothing to do with a sixth sense. Instinct is in fact good connection with our bodies. The body is a wise and efficient machine and when we are in need or when we mentally or physically suffer, it is there to communicate with, warn and protect us. Those body signals are what we call gut instincts.

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However, we have learned to be more ‘brainy,’ fighting with the turmoil inside our heads, and hence have grown distant from our instinct. It is that negligence of the body’s signals – or their misreading – that is the source of illnesses, stress, or even losing purpose and motivation in life. And it’s for this reason that it is worth re-establishing our relationship with our gut, and in some cases following that as our main lead instead of our racing thoughts.

Here are some key times when you should listen to your gut instincts:

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1. Your health and well-being.

No doctor, no examination and no medical institution can know better if something is wrong with your body, than your body itself. If some health issue feels like it might require more attention, go and have it checked! Respectively, if something feels normal for you, regardless of what other people’s experience might say, treat it as such. Your body does know better!

Of course, instinct and logic are synergetic forces, and to make the best of a situation very often you have to apply both. So if others see a problem that does not seem to worry you, they might rightly insist you go and inform your doctor about it. Conversely, you shouldn’t fall in the trap of developing an anxiety with every little symptom your body may exhibit, believing there is something wrong with you. Having a good connection with the mind and body is the best lead for your well-being.

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2. Your diet and nutrition.

The same principle applies for your diet. Dark chocolate or a green smoothie might be the healthy snack option, but sometimes your body might request a donut and that’s what you should go for. Your occasional indulgence in a donut might sound like a ‘bad habit,’ but it might actually work in reducing your stress levels and keep you motivated to stick to a healthy diet the rest of the time. When it comes to diet, developing a relationship of trust with your body is essential in order to be properly nourished, happy and fit. And constantly listening to your gut on what you really want/need is the way to go with it. Once again, be careful to apply some logic every now and again and make sure you don’t use your body’s signals as an excuse to live on comfort food.

3. Coming closer to your truth and making decisions.

The only right option is the one that makes you the happiest you you can be. And guess who is good at knowing what makes you happy. Exactly. You are! So if you are prone to being indecisive or if you are about to make some decisions – ranging from minor everyday ones to the life changing – and you don’t know the best way to go about them, your answer is to listen to what your gut has to say.

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Stop giving that poor head a pain by overanalyzing and going through things again and again. Does your choice make you smile on the inside and out? Do you have butterflies in your stomach thinking about it? Then your body approves: go for it! Reason should be your protector during this process, but do make sure your gut instincts are your lead!

Featured photo credit: Girl with Bubble/ Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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