Advertising
Advertising

5 Gut Instincts You Don’t Want to Ignore

5 Gut Instincts You Don’t Want to Ignore

Instincts are not some weird mystical power that are only found in the animal kingdom.

Gut instincts are defined as:  an innate, typically fixed pattern of behaviour in animals in response to certain stimuli.

We are born with instincts to help us survive.  As much as we may pretend we are not, we are very much animals; why do we try to deny this?

That is not to say that we aren’t incredibly smart or that we aren’t capable of complex thinking. But even though we are very intelligent, our minds are also very clever and like to try to trick us.

Instinctually we know when to run from predators; when we are babies, we know how to feed from our mothers and we know when something just feels ‘off’.  The problem is when our sixth sense shouts a warning, we stall and we think.

Advertising

We are always thinking! 

Instincts are a deep twinge or pull towards something buried deep within us, but what they are not is in our heads; instincts are not our thoughts. Let’s try to find our way back to our basic survival skills. Here are just a few punches in the gut we shouldn’t ignore.

1.  You are in danger

We sometimes question if our natural reaction is justified; am I really in danger, or is my mind overreacting? If you feel like someone is following you, instead of running for the nearest house our mind takes over and we start to think and rationalize, “of course no one is following me.” If something in your gut is telling you you’re being followed, don’t think, act!  This can apply to health problems as well. If your gut instinct tells you something is wrong, listen to it.

Having said this, there are some mental disorders that result in paranoia or create hypochondriac tendencies, but let’s not confuse this or analyze it too much.  Take this at face value knowing that of course there are exceptions, but under normal circumstances we need to listen to our gut instinct.

2.  Trust your first impressions

Have you ever had a knee jerk first impression that something is just ‘off’ about someone.  This innate first impression is soon lost to labels; he is a doctor or she is a grandmother.  Later you might be shocked to discover that very grandmother was abusing your child at daycare. Why are you so shocked?  You already knew something was wrong!

Advertising

Trust your instincts.

We also need to remember that our minds are tricky; trusting your sixth sense is not implying that you should walk around with guarded suspicion of everyone you meet.  Do what you can to protect yourself from the harmful actions of others without fabricating instincts that really aren’t there.

Is your gut reaction coming from your mind or from the core of your being?

Another common mistaken belief is that trusting your instincts is ‘judging a book by its cover.’  It is significantly different; your instincts do not form an opinion of someone based on social status or looks.

3.  Am I making the right life decision

On another level your sixth sense might be urging you to reconsider where you are in life. The signs might be more subtle than the flashing, red siren of a masked man following you but if you pay attention they are quietly telling you something feels off.  Maybe you’re going against the flow of where you should be in your career or relationship.  Often we go against the grain, we don’t listen to our gut. The problem is that if we aren’t in the right place – following our values and needs – we can’t be happy.

Advertising

Why don’t we listen?

4.  This feels comfortable, just right

Whether it’s your job, partner, a life decision, where you live or who your friends are, when things feel comfortable, don’t fight it, smile and relax into the fact that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

When it comes to big life decisions, we tend to over think and over analyze. This just leads to confusing the situation, and we can often make poor, fear-based decisions.  Instead of following your initial instinct, you mull things over and often make decisions based out of fear of making the wrong decision, which in fact can lead you to making the wrong decision.

5.  Doing something you’re comfortable with

When you are comfortable with something, whether it be your job, a musical interest, photography or sports, it’s important to trust your innate reflexes in that area. If you know you can do it, trust your gut, not your head.  Once we get in our heads, we often choke. Look at athletes; they often will miss a shot entirely, all because they got stuck in their heads.

When you’re in the groove of playing the piano, let the notes passionately fly from your fingers, but stay out of your head.

Advertising

Developing your instincts might take some work. After all, we have been repressing our natural state of being for a long time now.

Meditation is a great tool to learn to tap into your inner voice, quiet incessant thinking, and experience your pure, natural energy.

“Practice meditation, meditation will give you the habits to allow space and clarity in to your life to allow you to recognize your instincts buried under all that thinking. Tune In: You may be able to better follow your heart (and your sweat glands) by practicing meditation. A 2005 study found that in meditators, brain regions associated with sensitivity to the body’s signals and sensory processing had more gray matter. The greater the meditation experience, the more developed the brain regions.” ~ Oprah.com

Let’s enjoy some silence so that we can help that small voice trapped deep inside of us come to the surface.  We might not be able to taste, touch, smell, listen or see our sixth sense, but it’s at the core of all of us.

More by this author

Tina Williamson

Writer and creator of Mindfulmazing

Top 8 Benefits of Living a Minimalist Lifestyle 10 Things People Who Live Their Dreams Don’t Do 15 Ways to Lead a New Life You Love 5 Gut Instincts You Don’t Want to Ignore 10 Amazing Benefits of Cucumbers You May Not Know

Trending in Health

1 How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life 2 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power 3 13 Essential Self-Care Tips for Busy People 4 How to Reduce Mental Stress Quickly (And Naturally) 5 Overcome Fear and Anxiety with These 4 Mindset Shifts

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

Advertising

Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

Advertising

9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

Advertising

How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

Advertising

18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

Read Next