9 Fascinating Ways To Tell The Difference Between Gut Instincts & Anxiety, According To Experts

Hannah Burton/Bustle

Your gut instincts are those nagging feelings that alert you to potentially dangerous situations, or let you know when something may go wrong. These feelings are what keep you safe in dark parking garages, and what steer you towards good choices. But the problem is, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety.

"When you are prone to anxiety, both mental and physical, the problem is that you really can't 'trust your gut,'" Melissa Weinberg, LCPC, psychotherapist and owner of Open Lines Counseling, tells Bustle. "The difference between anxiety symptoms and gut reactions becomes very blurry." And symptoms can feel one in the same.

What feels like intuition — a thought that won't go away, butterflies in your stomach, etc. — might actually be anxiety. And vice versa. "If you struggle with anxiety, your gut is overactive and often interpreting benign external information, internal sensations, or passing thoughts as threats," Weinberg says. But the good news is, it is possible to weed through the murky waters, and figure out what's what.

By talking with a therapist, for example, you can start to gather tools to better cope with anxiety, so it no longer gets in the way of your intuition. Here are a few things to keep in mind, so you can be better able to tell the difference.