When you're dealing with an issue, you probably handle it in one of two ways: you ask everyone and their mom for their advice on the matter, or you listen to your intuition before you make a decision. I, for one, usually choose the former option. The more guidance I have, the better I feel. For instance, if something is bothering me, I'll call my closest friends (and my mom) to see if I'm worrying too much about a problem. However, sometimes the guidance you or I receive from our loved ones might not be the right advice at all. In fact, it may be better for us to just listen to our intuition instead. But just because you may know you have an intuition doesn't mean you know how to listen to it. For advice on how to do so, I reached out to a few psychologists and a medium expert to help.
For instance, licensed clinical psychologist Sarah Schewitz states, "Intuition is that sneaking suspicion that you feel when something is not right but you can't put your finger on why. Intuition can be a powerful guiding force and is more developed for some than others. Some people feel a strong urge or sense in there core when something is wrong while others, with a less developed intuition, might feel a small inkling that they aren't really sure how to interpret it. Some people are born with a strong intuition and know how to listen to it from an early age whereas others develop their intuition or tune into it as they grow a stronger sense of self-confidence. The more that you love and trust yourself, the more in touch you become with your intuition."
While this description may sound familiar, some might get their intuition confused with their scared ego (AKA the thing that keeps us from taking high-calculated risks and mistakes). So how does one tell the difference? Well, if you're making a decision based out of fear, then it's probably your ego.
"When you're taking risks in life that feel bigger than maybe what you think you can handle, there will always be some sort of resistance. The scared ego usually shows up when you're about to do something new and different in your life but will in the end be beneficial. It could be a job promotion, being more social, or doing something outside of your comfort zone. Scared ego is usually scared of either failure or rejection," says life coach Julie Holmes in an interview with Bustle over email. "The thoughts that accompany a scared ego might be 'I'm not good enough' 'I'm not worthy' 'I'm not ready or prepared' 'what if I fail' 'what if I succeed' or 'what if I humiliate myself' Even though the physiological feeling may be similar, it's very different from 'I shouldn't walk down that dark alley at this time of night.' Look at the situation and circumstances at hand. If the situation is something you might possibly grow or benefit from, it's probably just a scared ego. When it comes to the ego, any decision based out of fear is always the wrong decision," continues Holmes.
So whether you want to know how you can follow your gut or learn to be more self-aware, here are 11 ways to know if your intuition is trying to tell you something and how to listen to it.
1You Feel A Peaceful Feeling In Your Chest Or Stomach
Sometimes your intuition is so strong that you can physically feel the effects. While some people might feel a peaceful feeling within their heart, other people might notice their gut is trying to communicate by evoking a sinking feeling instead. "Many people describe their intuition as a feeling in her chest or in their stomach. Often, it comes as a tightness in those areas and the feeling that something is off," says Schewitz.
2You Feel Confident And Happy Even When The Decision Doesn't Seem Rational
Ever have those moments where you daydream about quitting your job, but you don't because of financial reasons? That moment of clarity is your intuition trying to speak to you. While it might not sound like a logical answer, the thought that you're having may actually be the answer you've been looking for. "When your intuition speaks to you, and when you learn to tune in to it, you will feel confidence and clarity when it speaks. When you're scared ego is speaking, you will feel fear and uncertainty," says Schewitz.
3You May Experience More Lucid Dreams
Dreaming about falling off a building or being chased by a giant spider could actually be your intuition trying to talk to you. "Intuition can come in many forms. Dreams are a major way that spirit communicates, too. It is important to also document your experience. Because intuition often does not have a specific time stamp, sometimes we intuitively can pick up things about our past, presence, and future. I tell my students to make notes and journal about specific feelings, impressions, or senses they have," says celebrity psychic medium Thomas John in an interview with Bustle over email.
4You May Notice The Same Opportunities Keep Knocking On Your Door
"The way I knew that my intuition was trying to talk to me was in hindsight. Opportunity kept knocking on my shoulder and finally I noticed. Regretfully sometimes it took years," says career coach Jill MacFadyen, MSIR, ACC, in an interview with Bustle over email.
When your intuition tries to communicate with you, it may try to get your attention by forcing you to notice little patterns throughout your life. Been wanting to find a new job, but afraid to take the plunge? Your intuition may subtly let you notice certain career articles or job postings to help get your attention.
5You Find Clarity When You're Not Busy
Have you ever had those "ah-ha!" moments when you were in the shower or driving your car? That's an example of your intuition trying to talk to you. When you allow your mind to rest (i.e. meditiation), your mind opens up and allows your thoughts and emotions to flow through. "Your intuition talks to you when you are less busy, when you sleep, when are you not trying to push for it, when you take your mind off what you are seeking," says MacFadyen.
6You May Notice Your Thoughts Are Being Pulled In A Certain Direction
Your intuition is usually always there to guide you in the right direction, but sometimes you miss the signs or choose to ignore them. However, if you continue to notice that your brain wanders back to a particular thought, then you might want to slow down and invesitage why you're feeling this way.
"Often I teach my students that if you are getting intuitive hits about things, and you don't listen to them, they will keep showing up in different ways. Looks for patterns, repeating thoughts, and repeating pulls in certain directions. Pay attention to when you feel pulled by something that seems out of the ordinary or surprising. Pay attention to those thoughts that seem to 'pop' in out of nowhere. Remember, intuition does not come from the logical brain," says John.
7You May Notice Your Instinct And Intuition Are Not In Sync
Sometimes your rational instinct (AKA your ego) will try to protect you from failure or making a mistake. While your instinct is there to help you survive, your intuition will sometimes try to fight against your fears of failure so you can make the right decision and go after your dreams. "Instinct and intuition are different. Instinct is an automatic response that has to do with survival. Intuition is more evolved and focused on your highest good. For example, your instinct may be to stay at your job because it is safe and secure, while your intuition may guide you to leave your job and start your own business," says John.
8You Feel Uneasy About A Certain Situation
When you listen to your intuition, you normally feel happy, but if you choose to ignore it, a wave of uneasiness may come over you. For instance, you may choose to listen to your ego to make a safe but wrong decision instead of listening to what your heart is trying to tell you. "Your intuition is trying to tell you something when you feel uneasy. This uneasiness can show up as an unfocused mind, pressure in the body like the chest, or an uneasy gut reaction," says Khorshid.
9You May Become Ill
When you don't listen to your intuition, you may actually cause more stress in your life. Physical signs like having anxiety or being sick may slowly creep into your life because your intuition is trying to tell you you need a change.
"Physical signs in the early stages might feel like something's not quite right or something feels off. As many of us tend to ignore our intuition, the feeling will naturally grow to something more severe like anxiety, even depression can be a physical sign that you are not living life the way you know you want to be. If these more obvious feelings are ignored, ultimately our body can manifest illness as an extreme way of letting us know we need to make some kind of change in our life," Holmes.
10You Have A Sense This Feeling Won't Go Away
There's a reason why that particular thought keeps on popping up in your head. It's your intuition trying to speak to you. Be more receptive to these subtle nuances so you can allow your life to flow much easier. "The best way to determine if it is your intuition telling you something is that you will have the sense that it 'won't go away.' In other words, that sensation of knowing you should or should not do something simply keeps dogging you," says Anita Marchesani, Ph.D., in an interview with Bustle over email.
11You May Feel Inspired
You know your intuition is speaking to you when you feel inspired and excited. This could happen after watching an inspiring YouTube video or listening to a podcast. Hearing others' words of wisdom can help direct your thoughts and spark your intuition so you can begin to follow the path you're meant to be on. "Your intuition might start with a feeling of happiness or excitement [if it's about something good]. While stronger intuition might be desire or an impulse to do something creative or beneficial for either yourself or others," says Holmes.
Learning how to listen to your intuition takes time. Your ego might try to interfer, but if you practice, you'll eventually know the difference between the two. Always try to guide with your heart. The more you listen, the happier and secure you may feel about the choices you make.