Should You Trust Your Gut Instinct?

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Have you ever had a feeling about a situation that was more powerful than the conscious thoughts in your brain? These can be signs of warning, or even signs of opportunity. Maybe you just had knew exactly which line to choose at the supermarket, or got a bad feeling about someone’s dating profile—but you couldn’t really say why. Those feelings that seem like split-second intuition may be your brain processing information faster than you expect and delivering a well-balanced verdict on a situation at light speed.

When your intuition kicks in, it’s a good idea to stop and pay close and careful attention. You may have been told to override our gut instincts, though, so how can you reprogram yourself to tune in to that small voice in your head? If you have time, it’s a good idea to give yourself a day to think over any big decisions you’re facing. You may not always have that much time to delay a decision, however, so we have a quick process you can follow. It will help you learn to trust your intuition in the moment.

Look at the decision with fresh eyes

Look around the room, ask someone to repeat themselves, or think back over your recent interaction with the situation at hand. Did you miss any important information? Is there any new information that contradicts your intuition?

Give yourself a moment

Exhale your uncertain energy and breath in fresh resolve. Do you feel more sure of your first instinct now, or less so?

Look at both sides

Take a few seconds to imagine the scenarios you face. What might be the negative outcomes of trusting your intuition? What would be the positive outcomes? Is there a reward that is worth the risk of overriding your gut instinct? These are questions only you can answer.

Take care of you

Often when we second guess our intuition, it’s because trusting our gut may mean disappointing someone else. Remember to think like someone on an airplane—when the cabin pressure drops, the flight attendant tells you to put your mask on first before helping others. You have to take care of yourself first or you won’t be in any condition to help anyone else. Are you hesitating to follow your intuition because it would mean putting yourself first?

Have faith in your instincts

You’ve taken a moment to question your gut instinct. Is it still strong? If there’s no new information to make you feel differently, then listen to your intuition.