Gut instincts: we all have them.  But do we always let them guide us?  Call it a spidey sense or women’s intuition, following your gut is a great barometer for making decisions.

gutLast year around May, I started feeling a little strange: I was shaky when I got up in the morning, I felt foggy and I was always tired.  I had talked to my doctor before about always feeling run-down and we chalked it up to my active lifestyle.

So when these new symptoms popped up, I got a full blood work up to see what was going on.  When she ordered the normal blood tests, I’m not sure why, but I asked her to test my thyroid.  I had no history of thyroid issues, neither did anyone in my family (it’s often hereditary) but something in me wanted to dig a little deeper, so I just went with it.

Four vials of blood and 3 days later showed that, yes, I indeed had a thyroid problem that was causing all of these issues.  On one hand, I was a little freaked out–what did this mean?  I was supposed to be uber-healthy from my green smoothies!  And vitamins!  On the other hand, I felt so validated and relieved.  That tug in my subconscious was all I needed to prove my instincts were right on.

The gut is not only where we digest food and get our energy, but it’s also where our nervous system houses the inner workings of where we make our decisions– a.k.a our ‘gut brain’.  Without even realizing it, we gather knowledge and store it as patterns in our subconscious.  When something flashes as part of a pattern, we recognize it as intuition; it gives us instant feedback on what we have already collected.

But when we look outside instead of “in” and are guided too much by those external factors, our decisions lack a lot of that valuable intuitive feedback that we know deep down, is best.  Our intuition knows things our rational mind cannot, no matter what the reasoning.

When I’m making a big decision, I try to always use my gut and these are 3 ways I tap into it:

  1. Get quiet. I go someplace where I can sit down and close my eyes, alone.  I focus on the first option and walk through what I believe may happen.  I notice the feelings that come up in my body and if any thoughts/memories are triggered.   I try to write down the reactions for each option.
  2. Review each scenario and how my body reacted.  I take note if my stomach tightened or my shoulders rose (a personal indication of stress).  It’s important to think about what happened physically when I thought about an option.  Breathing easy and feeling lighter means I’m getting closer to the solution.  Feeling tight or constricted is a signal that the choice may not be right.
  3. Imagine the other side of the decision.  I try to start from the end.  Does it call to me in an exciting way?  Or does the transition seem overwhelming?  Feeling settled and resolved is a great indication it’s a good choice, even if it doesn’t totally make sense.  Reflecting on what could be often helps me decide the best route to take.

If you find yourself at a decision crossroad and you’re not sure which way to go, try to listen to what your gut is saying to you.  Chances are, it’s speaking to you in a few different ways and will guide you if you’re willing to listen.

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