Why and When to Trust your Gut Feeling
Have you ever wondered how the phrase trust your gut feeling came to be? You may be surprised to learn that your gut houses so much more than you digestive system. Along with digestion and your all-important immune system, your gut, in conjunction with your brain, is highly critical for intuition and instinct. And that’s how it came to be known as your gut feeling.
As you may have guessed, instinct has a lot to do with how humans have evolved. At one time in the history of humankind, being able to sense danger – whether from a predator or environmental conditions – was a life-or-death skill. Those same instincts that come from your ability to trust your gut feeling are extremely valuable today.
An intricate system of neurons and neurotransmitters that send messages to and from your gut and your brain are responsible for intuition. Another common piece of advice you may often hear is “listen to your body,” which is connected to trusting your gut because your body has numerous ways of signaling to your brain that something may be awry. From stomach pains and sweaty palms, to a general uneasy feeling, our gut and brain form a complex web that helps us read and navigate the world around us. It is the combination of emotions and mindful analysis that can help you trust your gut feeling and put it to good use.
Science shows there is a great deal of value when you trust your gut feeling, especially when it comes to certain aspects of your life. The leading times to trust your gut feeling is when it pertains to your health or the influences around you. Let’s first talk about health.
If you’re feeling a pain in your body, particularly one that comes on suddenly, it’s important not to ignore it. Your body communicates in big ways and it is vital to listen to what it is saying. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to see the doctor every time you have a headache, but when something feels off, it’s worth investigating. Sometimes the solution may be simple, like staying hydrated or getting more sleep. Other times, medical attention is necessary. Another time to trust your gut feeling is about making health decisions. For example, if your gut tells you food has spoiled or looks undercooked, don’t eat it. Or if an exercise class looks above your fitness level, hold off until you’re more physically fit.
When it comes to sensing danger in your immediate surroundings, trusting your gut is critical. There have been countless stories of people avoiding danger for themselves and others because they heeded their own instincts about a situation. When you notice a suspicious person, it is smart to be cautious and play it safe. Of course when it comes to others, our social conditioning influences how to feel. That’s why checking your gut against rational analysis yields the best results.
There are other more positive times when you can rely on your gut as well. For instance, your instinct to help others or knowing when something feels right is also a great part of human intuition. Unlike others in the animal kingdom, we feel sympathy and have an innate sense of doing good and being kind towards others which creates community. When you trust your gut feeling you can also have wonderful epiphanies about making good choices, finding your passions and doing what is most rewarding to you in life.
Your gut feeling is a biological response that has a lot of merit when it comes to your safety, wellbeing and happiness. Next time you’re faced with a critical decision, follow your natural instincts and trust your gut feeling.
Sources: Care2, Inc and Life Hack