Intuition is a kind of feeling in our gut that provides us with an instinctive idea about whether something we are doing is right or wrong. It is a psychological process that allows us to know something without having to use analytical reasoning.
What Is Intuition?
Intuition, also known as instinct, refers to a human ability to understand or gain knowledge about something instinctively without any analytical reasoning. It is a gut feeling that allows us to know whether something is correct or incorrect without resorting to logical reasoning. The term ‘Intuition’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Intueor’ which means ‘to see’. Intuition arises within the human mind to find out solutions to problems in the absence of analytical reasoning. It is often described as a psychological process that helps us to obtain knowledge about something without using our deliberate thoughts. It is an idea with the help of which we make successful decisions without using our conscious reasoning ability. It is believed that instinct bridges the gap between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is a human brain process that allows people to make decisions without using conscious reasoning, according to psychology.
“Intuition is the ability to understand immediately without conscious reasoning and is sometimes explained as a ‘gut feeling’ about the rightness or wrongness of a person,” according to a 2010 research paper 1. This study also described it as the ability to understand something immediately and it doesn’t require any reasoning ability. It is not a long process rather it happens instantly and holistically, sometimes within a fraction of seconds. Additionally, it doesn’t involve verbal or conscious awareness. Another study 2 defines it as “a holistic hunch”, an experienced-based process that mostly results in a spontaneous tendency.
The concept of intuition often seems illogical to many people, as it is not based on a set of pre-considered steps that can be easily explained or described. It is mainly associated with deep-seated knowledge and it mostly feels natural and instinctual. It can also be described as an original and independent source of knowledge that appears in consciousness without any deliberation.
Many researchers 3 agree that “intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition” and this definition makes the fact very clear that it is not a magical process by which a solution pops into our unconscious mind out of nowhere. However, studies 4 have shown that the decisions we make with the help of our gut feeling are often the outcome of our previous extensive and intense thinking. Such decisions often appear quickly and effortlessly as we make them on the basis of recognition.
Intuition At A Glance
- Intuition is the gut feeling that provides us with an instinctive idea about whether something we are doing is right or wrong.
- It is not a long process rather it happens instantly and holistically, sometimes within a fraction of seconds.
- The decisions we make with the help of our gut feelings are often the outcome of our previous extensive and intense thinking.
- The effectiveness and nature of an instinct largely depend on the respective situation.
- One can strengthen their intuition by meditating regularly, spending time in nature, and engaging in creative activities.
Where Does Intuition Come From?
Intuition often seems like arising from nowhere, but in reality, it is not random. There is a strong brain-gut connection that allows our emotional experiences to manifest as gastrointestinal distress. People often feel anxious, afraid, confused, or have some physical signs, including nausea, stomach twinges, or pain and that’s where intuition arises from.
A 2000 study 5 explains that the human brain collects and processes sensory data from our environment and we are already aware of some of the information. Our brain performs the whole process in order to help prepare us for any such situations where we can utilize our gut feeling to make any decision. These processes mostly run in our unconscious mind, that’s why we often don’t realize what we are observing and what they actually mean. Apart from the above theory, many psychologists argue that instinct occurs based on the power of pattern-matching 6 as the mind untangles those experiences that are stored in our long-term memory for any similar situation.
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Is Intuition Good Or Bad?
Most of us expect that our intuition has to be perfect and provide us benefits. But this is not always the case. The effectiveness and nature of an instinct largely depend on the respective situation. Whether intuition is good or bad – the answer can be both yes and no. Though there is a lot of confusion regarding this question, it is often believed that the purest instincts which arise instantly and are not based on any of our specific thoughts or perspectives are the right ones. Meanwhile, those gut feelings that arise depending on any of our particular thoughts or emotions are considered partially correct or even can be completely wrong. However, one can learn to evaluate their intuitive capabilities with practice.
Tips To Strengthen Intuition
In today’s world, the fear-based culture that surrounds us is constantly attempting to exert control over our emotions, thoughts, perspectives, and even our lives. But fortunately, every human is equipped with an intuitive capability that is potent and trustworthy enough. It helps us to make the right decisions and walk on the right path to achieve success. The following are some of the beneficial ways one can develop and strengthen their intuition:
1. Meditate Daily
Meditation helps a lot in developing our ability to read and understand our instincts. By regularly practicing meditation, we can deepen our thought processes and instincts. Meditation
7 helps one to keep their minds away from distractions and also teaches them how they can identify their gut feelings or impulses. Try to meditate daily at a specific time as spending time in silence will help you hear and interpret the messages from your intuition.
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2. Try To Recognize Your Instincts
Messages from our instincts are not loud or demanding, rather they are silent and subtle. Such intuitive messages tend to communicate with a person in different ways. It can communicate with you as a hunch through some words, it can also speak to you in some physical sensations, such as goosebumps or discomfort. Thus, it is extremely important to recognize your gut feelings first in order to take action upon them later.
3. Focus On Your Dreams
When we are awake, our cognitive mind is very active, and it has the ability to easily override the subconscious mind, which allows us to have instincts. But when we are asleep, our subconscious mind becomes active and our instincts try to communicate with us through our dreams 8. We often ignore our dreams by considering them our imagination, but it is very important to pay attention to our dreams for strengthening our intuitive capabilities.
4. Be Creative
A 2016 research paper 9 suggests that creativity and instincts are linked to knowledge creation To develop your intuition, try engaging in a variety of creative activities. Painting, scrapbooking, keeping a diary, and journaling will help you a lot in developing your intuition by allowing your subconscious mind to speak up.
5. Spend Time In Nature
Spending more time in nature is also another beneficial way to strengthen your instincts. Being away from digital technologies and other temptations calms our cognitive mind and allows our subconscious mind to communicate. After a long day at work, try to spend some time with yourself in nature, avoiding the use of technology.
Develop Your Intuition
Intuition is the gut feeling that helps us to know whether our inner thoughts are right or wrong without any conscious reasoning. It helps individuals to make successful decisions. Many of us often ignore our instincts. However, our gut feelings provide us with more accurate information than logic, which is why it is critical to trust our instincts and act accordingly. Regular meditation, spending time in nature away from technology, and paying attention to dreams are some beneficial ways through which we can develop and strengthen our intuition.
- McCrea S. M. (2010). Intuition, insight, and the right hemisphere: Emergence of higher sociocognitive functions. Psychology research and behavior management, 3, 1–39. https://doi.org/10.2147/prbm.s7935
- Zander, T., Öllinger, M., & Volz, K. G. (2016). Intuition and Insight: Two Processes That Build on Each Other or Fundamentally Differ?. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1395. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01395
- Mohan, D., Schell, J., & Angus, D. C. (2016). Not Thinking Clearly? Play a Game, Seriously!. JAMA, 316(18), 1867–1868. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.14174
- Zander, T., Horr, N. K., Bolte, A., & Volz, K. G. (2015). Intuitive decision making as a gradual process: investigating semantic intuition-based and priming-based decisions with fMRI. Brain and behavior, 6(1), e00420. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.420
- Lieberman M. D. (2000). Intuition: a social cognitive neuroscience approach. Psychological bulletin, 126(1), 109–137. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.126.1.109
- Mccraty, R., & Zayas, M. (2014). Intuitive Intelligence, Self-regulation, and Lifting Consciousness. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 56–65. https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2014.013
- Sun, S., Yao, Z., Wei, J., & Yu, R. (2015). Calm and smart? A selective review of meditation effects on decision making. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1059. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01059
- Campbell R. (2012). Intuition and logic in human evolution. Communicative & integrative biology, 5(5), 422–433. https://doi.org/10.4161/cib.20953
- Pétervári, J., Osman, M., & Bhattacharya, J. (2016). The Role of Intuition in the Generation and Evaluation Stages of Creativity. Frontiers in psychology, 7, 1420. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01420