You know when you feel it in your gut? Like, you just feel it. You don't really know what you feel, but you feel…it. It's the “it” that makes your mother call you randomly to make sure you're OK, because somehow, she just knows. It's intangible, but it feels oh so palpable. That "it," my love, is your intuition, or your "gut," if that's your jam. Depending on who you are, you might trust that intuition wholeheartedly, or perhaps you don't listen to it enough. Either way, the question remains: Can you really trust your gut instincts?
Elite Daily spoke with mindfulness-based psychotherapist Lena Franklin, who lends a bit of insight on what that strong gut feeling actually is, and whether or not you can totally trust it.
She explains that, in a society oversaturated with information, for some people, the gut feeling can get a bit muddled among the muck and the mire of everyday life.
“Trusting your gut is easier said than done in a society where we privilege intellect over intuition,” Franklin says.
If you already naturally trust your gut instincts, you likely have a strong sense of self, and you trust your body and your intuitive feelings not to steer you in the wrong directions in life.
But that doesn't mean you're any less secure in your sense of self if you don't currently trust your gut instincts. Maybe you just need to know a little bit more about it.
So what exactly is a gut instinct, and what does it mean to trust it?
According to Franklin, "gut instincts are body-centered, conscious messages fueled by subconscious insights that we've been building since birth."
Gut feelings, though internal, often initially come from some outside influences. You perceive something -- someone's facial expression, their tone of voice, whatever it may be -- and though you may not even be aware of your perception, it's triggering something inside of you.
Needless to say, it's a bit different from the logical thinking you're probably used to.
In fact, Franklin explains that when it comes to intuition and logic, those are two very different playing fields. Just because logic is, well, logical, does not make it more trustworthy than intuition.
She tells Elite Daily,
Trusting the gut is a whole different ball game than trusting logic. Gut instincts come from a bottom-up process, meaning that these messages stem from the body rather than from cognitive thoughts. Logic is a top-down process of thought-based information. If we can distinguish where these messages originate from in the body, we can begin to actually trust the powerful wisdom of our guts rather than making impulsive life choices based on top down, fear-based thoughts.
If you've never really tapped into these intuitive gut feelings before, don't fret. There are plenty of ways to start trying.
Franklin suggests meditation as your best bet, as it taps directly into your gut feelings, but in a calm state.
Meditation strengthens our self-awareness, so much like doing bicep curls, we're making our mindfulness muscle stronger. The result is that, when we're outside of our meditation practice, we create a habit of tuning into ourselves through awareness of the body, where intuition lives and thrives.
So the next time you are unsure of if you should listen to your gut or your mind, don't be so quick to rule out that intuition of yours. It actually comes from a physical place in the body: your cells.
Franklin explains that your cells carry memory. They remember experiences that you've had throughout your life, and how you felt when you went through those situations -- even if your brain can't actually conjure up the memory.
Think of your intuition as your cells' way of communicating with you.
Trust your cells, girl. They know what's best for you.