From an early age, most of us are taught that it’s good to be logical, analytical, and rely on your rational mind.
While using your rational mind is definitely a good thing, there’s a part of our brain that plays a powerful role in this game of life: our intuitive mind. This part of us doesn’t speak in words or logic; instead, it communicates through gut instincts.
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These instincts, often called our sixth sense, are incredibly important in guiding us through the many choices we face in life. They’re a blend of basic instincts, intuitive decision-making, and active thinking. At times, they might even know better than all the logical reasoning our brain can muster.
The logical part of your brain may try to convince you that you’re being overly sensitive if someone, something, or certain situations instantly make you feel bad. However, this bad feeling could be coming from your intuition and deserves to be paid some attention.
In this article, I’ll discuss more about where this “gut instinct” comes from and give you 5 instinctive warning signs you should never ignore.
What Is Your Gut Instinct?
Your gut instinct is that immediate feeling or reaction you get about a situation, person, or decision, often before you’ve had time to think it through logically. It’s like an inner voice or a nudge that seems to come from deep within your belly—hence the name, “gut instinct.”
This instinct is a blend of your past experiences, emotions, and subconscious awareness. It’s not just a random feeling; it’s your brain processing information in the background, based on what you’ve learned and experienced in your life. It’s a bit like having an internal alarm system that alerts you to joy, danger, or uncertainty, often without concrete evidence.
Gut instincts play a big role in intuitive decision-making. They’re part of your intuitive brain, working alongside your rational mind. While your rational mind relies on facts and logic, gut instinct is more about feelings and intuition. It’s a primal wisdom that humans have relied on for survival since the beginning of time.
Sometimes, gut instinct might feel like a physical sensation, like butterflies in your stomach, a knot in your throat, or a racing heart. Other times it might be more of a mental alert, like a sudden feeling of dread or an unexplained sense of comfort.
Understanding and listening to your gut instinct can be a powerful tool in making decisions. It can guide you in situations where you don’t have all the information you need or when something just doesn’t feel right, even if it looks good on paper.
Learning to tune into those subtle signals in your mind and body can help guide your choices and actions toward things that are good for you and away from those things that can hurt you.
5 Gut Instincts You Should Never Ignore
1. A Strong Feeling of Dread
When you experience a strong feeling of dread, it’s not just your mind playing tricks on you. It’s your inner wisdom sending a critical message. Sure, sometimes things might just seem “off,” but I’m talking about something beyond just a funny feeling. You could be receiving an interoceptive signal alerting you to potential danger. This signal, deeply rooted in your basic instincts and primal wisdom, can be critical for your safety and well-being.
For instance, consider this scenario: you’re about to meet someone for the first time, and despite all rational reasons to be excited, you’re overwhelmed by a sense of unease.
Many times, when you have feelings of dread, your intuition is using your past experiences, active thinking, and subconscious cues to warn you to proceed with caution. You might be picking up on subtle cues that your conscious mind hasn’t processed yet, or maybe you’re tapping into a reservoir of past experiences that are similar.
Similarly, in unfamiliar situations, this feeling of dread can be a lifesaver. Imagine walking into a new place or being in a scenario that seems perfectly safe, yet something inside you screams that something is off. It could be the way someone is behaving, an odd atmosphere, or just an inexplicable sense of danger. This gut feeling is your body’s way of telling you to be alert, to perhaps reconsider your current course of action.
By tuning into these feelings and understanding their origins, you can navigate through life with an enhanced sense of awareness and caution. This isn’t about living in fear but about empowering yourself to make decisions that protect and preserve your well-being.
Remember, in the complex process of human decision-making, your gut instincts—especially the feeling of dread—play a crucial role.
2. The Sudden Urge to Slow Down: A Call for Mindfulness
I’ll admit, this is a tough one for me to pay attention to because I’m an entrepreneur, meaning that most days I’m working on something. But inevitably, I’ll get to a point in the middle of working on something when I feel a sudden urge to slow down.
If you’re anything like me, you may try and convince yourself that you’re just being lazy and you need to push through it. Well, this instinct is more than just feeling tired or overwhelmed; it’s your body and mind telling you to pause and reassess. It’s a crucial gut instinct that often gets overlooked in our fast-paced world, but it’s one you should never ignore.
This sudden urge can pop up in various aspects of life. Maybe you’re working on a project and pushing hard to meet a deadline, but something inside tells you to take a break. Or you’re about to make a quick decision on something important, and a voice in your head urges you to sleep on it. This instinct is your intuitive brain and rational mind working together, reminding you that sometimes the best action is inaction, at least temporarily.
In personal relationships, this instinct can manifest as a need to step back during a heated argument or when you’re feeling pressured to commit. It’s a signal from your intuitive mind, backed by your analytical skills, to give yourself space and time to think clearly.
Ignoring this urge can lead to burnout, hasty decisions, missed details, or maybe saying something you wish you hadn’t to your spouse. By paying attention to this instinct, you allow yourself the opportunity for active thinking, ensuring that your decisions are well-considered and not just reactive. It’s about giving your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for rational thinking and decision-making, the time it needs to process information effectively.
Next time you feel a sudden urge to slow down, pay attention. This is a powerful form of intuitive decision-making guiding you toward making more mindful and considered choices. Sure, sometimes it might just be about procrastination, but by recognizing your urge to slow down you’re giving yourself some space to figure it all out.
3. Instant Negative Feelings Around a Particular Person
Have you ever met someone and immediately felt uneasy, even though you couldn’t put your finger on why? That’s your gut instinct sending you a signal, and it’s worth listening to. This isn’t about judging a book by its cover; it’s about an instinctive reaction that happens deep down, often before your brain can catch up to offer rational thoughts.
This kind of instant negative feeling can pop up in any situation in which you’re interacting with others. It might be a new colleague at work, someone you meet at a social event, or even a friend of a friend. It’s like your internal radar is picking up on something off about this person. Maybe it’s the way they talk, something in their body language, or just a vibe they give off.
It’s important to trust these feelings. They’re a part of your intuitive decision-making process, helping you navigate personal relationships and social interactions. This doesn’t mean you should immediately write someone off or be mean to them based on a first impression, but it’s a sign to be cautious and maybe keep your guard up a bit.
I can’t even count how many times this feeling has been spot-on for me. I can physically feel my energy drop around negative, low-vibrational people. My intuition is telling me, “Get the hell outta there!” and it’s right 99.9% of the time.
The next time you feel this way when you meet someone, take a moment to reflect on it. Ask yourself what might be triggering this feeling. Is it reminding you of someone else? Is it something they said or did? Understanding why you feel this way can help you make smarter decisions about who you spend your time with and how you interact with them.
4. An Overwhelming Feeling of Excitement or Pull Toward Something or Someone
Your instincts aren’t only there to only warn you of danger but can also pull you toward people or things that can be good for you. The other day, I was catching up with a friend about our shared love of music. Her son is very involved in music and, as a musician myself, I get really excited when I talk about playing. This was definitely a sign from my intuition that music needs to be a big part of my life.
This feeling is more than just a fleeting moment of joy; it’s a profound gut feeling signaling that something is significantly right for you. This instinctive reaction often occurs when you encounter situations, opportunities, or even people that align deeply with your values, passions, or life’s purpose.
It’s like your inner wisdom affirming that you’re on the right track. Ignoring this sensation can mean missing out on life-changing experiences. Whether it’s a career move, a creative pursuit, or a new relationship, this instinct can be the nudge you need to leap into something truly rewarding.
5. An Unsettling Feeling of Being Watched or Followed
Another gut instinct that’s vital for personal safety is the eerie feeling of being watched or followed. This instinct is deeply rooted in our primal need for security and self-preservation.
It often manifests in situations where your safety might be at risk, even if there’s no apparent threat. This feeling can occur in various settings—walking alone at night, being in a crowded place, or even in seemingly safe environments.
Trusting this instinct means being more vigilant, taking precautions, and possibly avoiding potentially harmful situations. It’s a primal defense mechanism that has been crucial for human survival for millennia.
Trusting your gut instincts isn’t about overreacting or making foolish decisions. It’s about respecting your intuition as a key part of your built-in survival kit, helping you navigate through life’s ups and downs.
By tuning into your gut feelings and really trusting them, you’re tapping into your own primal wisdom to make choices that don’t just look good on paper but feel right in your heart. The next time your gut speaks up, listen. It’s got some pretty smart things to say.
Want to hone your intuitive skills? Download my free guide, The Intuitive Edge: A 7-Day Transformational Journey to Reconnect with Your Inner Wisdom. Each day unveils simple yet powerful exercises designed to awaken, strengthen, and deepen your intuitive connection.