There are many times when we’ve listened to our instincts more than our brains, and it sometimes pays off. Gut feelings can be a powerful thing to use when you’re in a bind. Whether it is making a career choice or deciding the next move in a relationship, this innate decision-making tool can guide you towards the right path.
But not always. In certain situations, it’s better to mute your instincts and go with your brain instead. So how do you tell which situation calls for your gut feeling? Here’s a guide on when you should follow your gut feeling.
Making a moral decision
The reason is simple. “You can’t base a moral call on reason or logic alone,” says Fiery Cushman, Ph.D, an assistant professor of psychology at Brown University. So if you happen to catch a partner lying or a friend’s husband having an affair, then you’re better off listening to what your gut feeling tells you. In these situations, there is no black or white, which makes it difficult for your brain to reason; it’s hard for your brain to digest which course of action is better than the other.
Instead, think of how your next course of action will impact others and even yourself. Only your gut feeling will be able to tell you the truth (if you choose to accept it!).
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Making a big purchase
This is an interesting one! Remember how you knew on the spot that a dress would look fabulous on you... and it did? Well, that’s where your instinct came into a play. There’s even research done on this to prove it. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that buyers who spent less time deliberating their big purchase were more satisfied with it.
Says David G. Myers, author of Intuition: Its Powers and Perils, “Intuitive first impressions can be telling, especially when it comes to aesthetic purchases. For these, feelings rather than reasons are ultimately going to matter.”
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By this we mean your body feeling wrong. When overworked or feeling run down, your body has a great way of telling you it is time to pay it more attention. Says Judith Orloff, author of Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing, “Your body is wired for survival, and intuition is just one of the ways it protects itself. Intuition allows you to get the first warning signs when anything is off in your body so that you can address it. If you have a gut feeling about your body that something is toxic, weak or off…listen to it.”
So don’t let this be a situation where you ignore that nagging worry for it to escalate into a big health issue. Also, don’t let your doctor throw you off guard. According to Orloff, male doctors in particular write off women’s intuition as being overly emotional. Better safe than sorry, we say.
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Are faced with danger
Know that uneasy feeling when you are with someone new? Chances are it is your intuition giving you a warning. It all goes back to first impressions, where science can’t really explain.
If you feel uncomfortable, don’t just disregard it as anxiety and don’t feel bad if you excuse yourself from his or her presence, says Orloff. “If you don’t trust somebody, even if it turns out to be inaccurate, it is something to pay attention to. If you’re walking down the street at night and you get the feeling ‘stay away from that person’, just cross the street,” she says. Because believe it or not, your intuition often act as an alarm bell. What makes all the difference is whether you choose to listen to it or not.
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Know it’s real (or not)
Ah, love. Ask many married couples how they knew that their partner was the one, and the answer is often a common, “It felt right”. So if your intuition is telling you that your relationship is a good thing and that the person is right for you, chances are it’s accurate. Orloff says, “It allows you to find relationships that resonate for you. It allows you to connect with people on a heart level.”
At the same time, if your intuition is telling you that your partner isn’t ideal, listen to it as well. Most of the time, what’s stopping us from really listening to our intuition is denial. And denial basically just means ignoring the truth that is happening in front of you. Doesn’t sound like the kind of situation you want to be in now, does it?
Also read: When It's Time To Let Go