“Until you trust you, you will be suspicious, disconnected and dishonest with yourself and everyone else” -Iyanla Vanzant
Do you know how much you trust your gut? Is there a way to actually evaluate how well we listen to our instincts? Science shows that there is actually truth to the saying, “listen to your gut.” I read in Psychology today that System 1 in our brains which is controlled by the right side and known as the limbic part of our brain operates on unconscious and instinctual behavior dating back to prehistoric times. Studies have shown that long term system 1 is slightly more reliable in protection/predictability than system 2 (reasoning, conscious behavior). But how in the world do we make a habit of trusting our instincts?
I know my personal journey with trusting my gut has been filled with ups and downs. When I was younger I was extremely indecisive when it came to making the smallest choices. I literally applied to 22 colleges because I couldn't set my mind on which one to send my applications too (thank god for free fee-waivers). These small decisions eventually turned into bigger life decisions which inevitably played into my confidence as a person. I would either ignore my gut or block out the voice that was telling me something just wasn't right. Easily swayed by the opinions of others, my walk with religion and relationships were in disarray. Eventually, I experienced a wake up call on the power of trusting my instincts...knowing when to say no and how to react in different situations if I was uncomfortable, neglected or exhausted. When I look back at some of the choices I made, I can recognize that my inner voice was screaming "Sis, take a pause and think about this." However, I was not as in tune with this inner voice so I barely heard a whisper.
I eventually became more aware of the power of my instinctual voice and began to explore its depths. From a video entitled: Intuition, Ambition, and Grinding It Out,I learned that one way to evaluate how much we listen to our intuition is a 7 second response. They spoke about looking at your first instinct of a person or situation and then looking to see if your reaction was confirmed true or not. I've decided to start incorporating my 7 second reaction during my first week of work and see the outcomes at the end of the month. I really want to continue to fine tune my ear when it comes to listening to my inner voice and trusting myself. This voice transcends to my relationship with others and myself in each aspect of my life. There is so much power in being more in tune with our instincts and learning to carefully listen to it.
1. Sit down in a quiet place and block out the noise- noise can distract you from getting in tune with your feelings- think of current situations and whether or not you are listening to your gut in dealing with the situation
2. Ask yourself in the present, “Is this my gut speaking to me and what is it trying to say?”
3. Test your gut out. Keep a 7 second mental note or actual note of first impressions of people or problems- and whether or not you trusted your gut
4. Keep the first response or thought you had in your mind when a situation arises, evaluate why you felt this way or why you are second guessing yourself
5. Ask yourself what you want to do or how you feel about a situation before asking a friend (now I'm not saying that friends don't give good advice or we shouldn't trust their judgment but it's important to learn how to trust your instincts first- 9/10 we know when something is off with a person or situation but are in denial)
*So I tried the 7 second reaction this past week and I realized it's actually a little difficult to write down in a journal each interaction or gut feeling I got about a situation or person in the moment, so unless you have the time too do this, then try and think of a descriptive word that comes to you and make a mental note of it or jot it down in your phone then reflect on it at a later time.
Below are two resources to give you more insight on the power of trusting your instincts: