A common psychological tenet is the idea that when making decisions or selecting a course of action, it is important to follow your gut. This isn’t always the case, though. Ask someone in addiction recovery to describe what instincts have done for them. This article will discuss the idea of following your instincts and how doing so can help or hurt your ability to make decisions.

What are instincts?

Our brains are programmed with instincts, which are natural reactions to stimuli from the outside world. These reactions are frequently automatic and unaffected by logic or reason. For example, our instincts have evolved by inducing the “fight or flight” response to danger to help us live [1].

How to cultivate and believe in your gut

  1. Put an end to the social training clamor. Instead, consider muting the din of social training to trust your instincts. To hear your inner voice, you must be willing to set aside your preconceptions [3].
  2. Increase self-awareness. Become conscious of your feelings, ideas, and physical experiences. You can learn to notice and trust your intuition by getting to know yourself [8].
  3. Get your thoughts together. Thinking more intuitively can result from expanding your mental horizons. If you spend too much time thinking, you could overlook crucial cues from your surroundings that your instincts would otherwise pick up on [5].
  4. Check out your body. Pay attention to bodily feelings, such as a knot in your stomach or a tightness in your chest. These physical sensations can be your instincts’ way of getting your attention [5].

Consult a trustworthy friend, mentor, or therapist if you have problems following your intuition [8].

Check out Jazz Biancci’s take on trusting her instincts for guidance on the Golden Mic Podcast Ep. 2

When to follow your gut

In some circumstances, it can be advantageous to trust your instincts. Here are a few illustrations:

When forced to make a difficult choice

You could occasionally feel conflicted between two options when making a tough choice. On the other hand, you might follow your gut and make the best decision for you. When choosing a choice, it’s crucial to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of each possibility [4].

When threatened

Your instincts can help keep you safe in risky situations. For example, your instincts may warn you to turn around and return the way you came if, for instance, you’re strolling into a dark alley and get a sudden sense of dread or panic [7].

When your morals diverge

Your instincts may assist and direct you toward the decision that adheres to your ideals when they are at odds with the circumstances. For instance, your gut feeling may suggest rejecting a job offer if it conflicts with your moral principles [4].

You may keep your integrity and be loyal to yourself by following your instincts. But, it’s crucial first to consider your choice’s practical effects. For instance, turning down a job offer could have financial repercussions that must be weighed against your moral principles.

Taking a step back and considering your priorities might be useful when your ideals are at odds. Consider your most essential values and how they relate to the circumstances. This can assist you in gaining perspective and making a choice that is consistent with your ideals while also considering practical factors.

Blending intuition with reason is ultimately necessary if you want to trust your gut when your values are on the line. You may make a choice that is both authentic to yourself and practical in the long run by pausing to think it through and weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

Bringing it home

While making decisions or dealing with life’s obstacles, trusting your instincts for direction can be useful. As we’ve seen in this article, instincts are automatic reactions programmed into our brains, and when we learn to listen to them, they can be a valuable source of information.

It’s crucial to remember that instincts are not always trustworthy and might occasionally be swayed by prejudices or prior experiences. As a result, it’s vital to balance our instincts with logic and deliberate thought.

It’s crucial to tune out societal conditioning, become self-aware, disengage from your thoughts, scan your body for physical cues, and seek advice when necessary if you want to develop and trust your intuition. Doing this allows you to recognize and respect your inner guidance and make choices consistent with your values and objectives.

Following your instincts while making decisions can be helpful, but it’s crucial to use them in harmony with logic and due consideration. You can live a happy and genuine life by doing this, staying loyal to your principles and objectives.

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