Many of the decisions we make in life are grounded in logic. We think through the pros and cons and what would be best for us and our families.
On the other hand, there are decisions you make without any real analysis or considered reason. Things like what to wear or eat, or what movie to go see.
In his bestselling book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” psychologist Daniel Kahneman, cowinner of the 2002 Nobel prize for economics, suggests that intuitive decision making is the secret author of many of the choices and judgments we make. The idea that you can make decisions about what is best for you based on intuition or gut feelings as opposed to donning a rational thinking cap is central to the human condition.
So how do you know when you are intuitively making a decision…and even more than that, how can you start making those intuitive decisions more often?
Gut feelings and intuitions can be viewed as opposite sides of the same coin. Intuition is your capacity for quick and ready insight. Often you know and understand things instantly, without rational thought or inference. Gut feelings reflect an extensive and often deeply personal body of wisdom that we have access to, and that we trust more than the advice provided by others.
So exactly what is a gut feeling? According to the book “The Mind Gut Connection” there is growing evidence to suggest that the constant stream of interceptive information from our gut (including the chatter of our gut microbiota) may play a crucial role in the generation of our gut feelings, thereby influencing our emotions.
Feelings (including gut feelings) are sensory signals that tap into your brain’s so called salience system. Salience is the level to which something in the environment can catch and retain one’s attention, because it is important or noticeable: something that stands out.
Intuition is not something we learn about in school or even at home most times. When we have a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of intuitive decision making and accept it as a worthwhile goal to invest our mental energies in improving these skills, there is a range of strategies we can embark on to improve our ability.
Are you using your intuition each day? If not, that is something you should be putting in place and tuning into for each decision you make and checking in with it throughout the day. See how you feel and take a moment to connect with it. Once you start using your intuition more it will get easier and easier.