Going with your gut is more important than you think.
What would you do if you had a guarantee that you wouldn’t fail? A guarantee that you would be safe, and life would be even more radiant than you’re hoping? Would you take more risks to reach your dreams?
As humans, we’re a perfectly calibrated structure of innate wisdom. The brain, gut, and heart are all sources of intelligence, and the various systems connecting them connect the knowledge. We can access this information and use it to catapult us to our highest potential!
We’ve all experienced a gut instinct — an inkling that told us to turn right when the grocery store was on the left. Maybe you can recall a time when following a hunch had a “lucky” result — perhaps you decided to change flight plans at the last minute and discovered the airline later canceled your original itinerary.
Even if you can’t recall any obvious instances, I bet you can remember a time when you instinctively knew a situation wasn’t right for you and you were aware you needed to escape it. Whether you ended a relationship or left a building that later became dangerous, trusting your instincts helped you.
Instincts are signals to protect us. We’re sent an impulse that, if we listen to it, prompts us to react for our greater good and survival. They should always be trusted. They’re what protects you from danger, alerts you to physical problems, and keeps you safe.
Those gut feelings are intelligence perceived in the second brain of your gut. This enteric nervous system uses over 100 million independent neurons to send us protective messages while communicating with the cranial brain.
Intuition takes into consideration this messaging and combines it with our other innate intelligence networks. By incorporating the intelligence of the cranial brain, the heart brain, and the gut brain, we can get full understanding.
Each of these brains within us operate both independently and inter-connectedly. They specialize functionally while communicating within a greater system of the body, allowing us to be the recipients of a treasure trove of information.
The brain as we have known it — the cranial brain — houses intellectual fact and thought. It also houses various systems that respond to how we treat our physical body, so although the newer discoveries of the heart and gut brain are exciting, the cranial brain is just as fascinating.
As Dr. James Gordon explains, the mind and body are essentially inseparable: “the brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed, all the organs of our body and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another.”
The heart brain holds our emotions, what we intuit, and is responsible for the information leading to social connection and our deepest knowledge. It emits an electromagnetic field connecting us to others which allows us to receive information. The first impression feelings we have when we meet someone are a result of the heart brain reading the information we need. It connects this information to the cranial brain via the amygdala, thalamus and hypothalamus regulating our perceptions and emotions.
With this wealth of counsel available at our fingertips why don’t we automatically tap into it to guide us? Daily distractions can drown out the input and lack of confidence in hearing our hunches can cause us to ignore them. Once we make a deliberate intention to tune in and practice at listening what we already know, it isn’t difficult.
Here are some ways you can tune in:
1. Use language as a hint.
Watch what you say. If you hear yourself or someone else saying “I feel it in my gut” or “I put my heart into it,” your body is telling you something you’re expressing. Your thoughts just haven’t caught up.
2. Identify your unique body clues.
When you have a hunch about something, pay attention to how you experience it physically. Knowing your signals will encourage you to react quickly in the future. Do you get a sinking stomach, an easing sensation in the chest, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, or become dizzy? Jonah Lehrer in the book How We Decide explains that dopamine neurons in the brain alert us to subtle patterns when they don’t match our conscious reality.
3. Keep a log.
Write down all the times you act on your instincts and they serve you well. Seeing the proof will affirm and encourage you to continue — and it will astound you with its frequency!
4. Tune into the three intelligences.
Ask yourself what your brains are saying to you. Originally adapted from an exercise by Alan Seale, author of Create A World That Works: Tools for Personal and Global Transformation, sit comfortably and relax, or meditate and think about the topic you’d like to have considered by your three intelligences. Start with your heart — breathe, relax and ask: What does your heart have to tell you? Continue with your gut and head. Take a minute to listen for any more information from all three.
5. Practice mind body therapies.
When you practice specific therapeutic actions strengthening the mind body connection, you not only reinforce the link between them, you reinforce your ability to notice the interconnection. There are countless methods to choose from, including Mindfulness-Based Stress Release (MBSR), meditation, creative arts therapies, yoga, qigong, and hypnosis. One will be sure to suit your disposition and inclination.
Accessing what you know isn’t difficult. It just takes practice, and practice takes commitment. Commit to listening to what your body mind heart are already telling you. Just commit to listen. Then, act on it: listen.
We are still at the beginning of learning what the body mind connection has to teach us. The fields of neuroscience, neurocardiology, and neuropsychology are relatively young. Each year, if not month, more discoveries are announced. Putting new theories to practice takes time.
This is your proof now that you do have a built in safeguard that keeps you safe. You will succeed, so take those risks! Just trust your instincts and follow your heart. By incorporating your intelligences, you’ll be tapping into the intelligence and wisdom within that’s waiting for you.
If you’d like support developing your ability to hear your inner wisdom, my course on intuition is now available. How to Hear What You Know: A Course on Developing Your Intuition to Practically Guide You Through Life is an on-line program with lessons consisting of videos, worksheets, and more. At completion, you are supported in your intuitive development through an online community hosted by me with ongoing resources and information. Find more details here.