How to Develop Your Intuition
Don’t you wish making decisions was just… easier?
Do you rely on the opinions, advice or guidance of others?
Perhaps you struggle to hear your own voice or even know what you really want.
Or, perhaps your thoughts swirl around in a disorganized loop, never actually landing on a concrete way forward but always darting this way and that?
Maybe you feel lost. Or maybe you feel disconnected from your authentic truth.
Chances are, these feelings of indecision, disconnect and disempowerment come from the same place:
Disconnection from your own intuition.
Do you have that friend who you think might just be a little bit psychic?
Or a friend who always seems to fall on her feet, no matter what? Who glides through life with a quiet confidence, easily able to make decisions and rely on her judgment?
Or, perhaps you have heard (or even know somebody) who, on a strong “bad feeling” has canceled plans or changed their route and narrowly missed a disaster that would have unfolded if they had followed through?
She might seem psychic, or magic, insanely lucky, put together or assertive. However, let me let you in on her little secret: she is probably deeply connected to her intuition, whether she knows it consciously or not.
And you can be, too.
What Is Intuition?
The Oxford Psychologist’s dictionary defines intuition as:
intuition, n. Immediate understanding, knowledge, or awareness, derived neither from perception nor from reasoning.
Called variously intuition, instinct, your Higher Self, your Inner Guide, or your “gut”, these are all just ways to describe the same thing: that inner guiding voice you feel deep within you. It is an innate wisdom, quite apart from deliberation, rationality or “head in the clouds” giddiness: it is a knowing.
How will I know the difference between anxiety and intuition?
You will know.
When your intuition speaks to you, it is not anxious, worried, or uncertain. It does not go around in circles or drift off into tangents. It does not deliberate between decisions or throw “what if” scenarios. It’s not wordy, foggy or faint.
Your intuition is clear. Loud. A sudden thought, a random aha! moment, cutting like a sharp sword through the bullshit, doubt, questions and “what ifs”. It speaks succinctly, clearly and directly as if drawn from a still and ancient well deep within, with power and clarity and authority. It doesn’t worry and obsess about the way – it knows the way.
Our intuition is speaking to us all the time. The problem is that we often don’t make space to tune in and listen. We’re so caught up in the “busyness” and noise of our lives that our intuition is often drowned out, or downright ignored.
But if we took the time to listen to our intuition, and more importantly, chose to follow its guidance more often, imagine what would become possible for us?
Why is Developing Intuition Important?
Intuition development is not just for us woo-woo crystal-clenching spirit junkies. It is actually an important skill to hone. It has been backed by science and psychology to have many benefits for both your professional and personal life.
You see the world differently: you feel oneness and connection. You feel more intensely and you notice more of the world around you.
That heightened sense of awareness also makes you better at discerning dangerous situations.
Even when you’re going through hell you’re appreciative because you know there is a hidden lesson and you’re being guided and supported completely.
You feel less lonely – in fact, you relish your alone time.
It enhances your ability to set boundaries and be assertive with others – you are more connected to the energy of your interactions with others.
You become more in tune with your own wants and desires. This helps to speed up your alignment with them, which helps you to manifest them. You are also able to get clearer on the action you need to take.
You make better decisions, faster and more confidently because you know the way forward.
Feeling more self-confident and self-empowered.
You have less anxiety. Acting on your instinct and intuition quietens the monkey mind and the sabotaging, distracting “noise” that comes with it.
You are able to cut out the “busyness” and focus only on what is truly important.
Greater joy and satisfaction in life.
You become more receptive and less resistant to opportunities, which welcomes more abundance and good things into your life.
You will enjoy the benefits of greater productivity.
Actually starting to receive helpful messages from your intuition whenever you ask for them.
You start to eat better and exercise more, by listening to your body and knowing what it needs.
Your dreams become more vivid and meaningful.
You will learn to better trust the Universe, surrender and let go.
So, how can I develop my intuition?
With time, patience and an open heart and mind. Intuition cannot be forced or stressed into coming out: it’s kind of the antithesis to it working. But there are ways we can better “tune in” to ourselves and our true nature. This is the place from which our connection to our intuition becomes the next right step.
TAKE SOME “ALONE” TIME | Where you can, as often as you can. This is your time, where you do only the things that feel right for you. This is not a time where you catch up on housework (if you don’t want to), or tend to obligations. “Should” is a swear word during this time. Instead, use your alone time to move with the flow and do things you feel inspired to do. This connects you to that space where you are flowing through time on instinct and what feels good. Powerful for tapping into that intuitive space.
MEDITATE | I thought I would never get the hang of meditation. I mean, they tell you to quiet the mind, don’t they? But I found whenever I hopped on my meditation pillow – my monkey mind just got noisier and noisier. The thoughts just wouldn’t go away – in fact, that noise would just get louder and more frantic. And you know what’s even weirder? Life kept happening. The phone would ring, someone would knock on the door, the dogs would get into a fight, a sudden gust of wind would blow something breakable over. It was crazy.
What I didn’t realize is that meditation is an exercise and a practice. Keyword: practice. In other words, you have to practice it to get better at it, to learn to deal with distraction and to be in the middle of chaos and find peace and stillness within. That is the whole point.
The key is to find a way to dial out the static and tune into that quiet but clear frequency. My favorite thing to do is to take my dogs for a walk to the grove of trees on my farm, stand up nice and tall in mountain pose, close my eyes and observe what is going on around me. To feel the wind blowing my hair, the sun on my skin, to hear the birds in the trees above me and the sound of my own breath. I’m totally plugged in and connected to the earth and from that, I get the most powerful hits of intuition and clarity.
YOGA | Yoga is a moving art focusing on the intrinsic connection of breath (spirit), body and mind. Through the connection of breath with movement, we are taken out of our monkey mind and into our bodies, focusing entirely on the sensation in our physical self and our breath. Have you ever been in the middle of a yoga class and felt a sudden, urgent uprising of emotion? Or gotten a sudden aha! moment? This is because you’ve been taken out of that frantic, frenzied monkey mind and allowed something deeper to surface. Yoga also teaches us to listen to our bodies and honor where we are in mind and body when we show up on our mat. That place of knowing oneself and being self-aware is the place from which your intuition is free to spring forth.
DO A CARD READING | I love this one. You can do a tarot or oracle card reading if you wish (these are my favorite way to connect with my intuition), but if you are not drawn to those sorts of things, you can try another, simpler one instead. If you are deliberating with a decision, write each choice on a piece of card the same size as a playing card. If you are wrestling with a problem, brainstorm at least three solutions and write each one on a playing card.
Now, flip the cards so you cannot see which response is which and shuffle, laying them face down on a table before you. Take some deep breaths in and close your eyes. Allow your hand to hover over the cards and notice which one you are drawn to. You may even notice a tingling, like a mini-electric pulse or a certain magnetism as your hand goes over the right card. Draw it and read the response. Notice how it resonates with you. Experiment with it multiple times to see whether the same card comes up.
FLIP A COIN | Similarly, why not flip for it? This is a technique taught by Gabby Bernstein, and is one of my FAVOURITES for learning to listen to your intuition. Did you ever have two choices you just couldn’t decide between? Why not leave it to chance and try a good ole fashioned coin flip for it? Allocate one choice to heads, the other to tails, and flip the coin. Notice which one it lands on.
Now… do you feel excited about which one it’s landed on, or disappointed? This is an excellent tool for learning to tune in to your intuition and honoring your core desires.
EXERCISE | There’s nothing like a bit of movement for inspiration. Exercise is fantastic for developing intuition for a few reasons:
You become tuned into your body and know and celebrate its capabilities
It takes you out of your head and into your physical body, allowing space and quiet for your intuition to come forth
I get so many of my best aha! moments mid-workout.
GET OUT INTO NATURE | There’s something about being out in nature, that sense of coming home and a feeling of oneness with life and the universe that has me dialing inward. Free from the noise, distractions of technology and being “plugged in” to modern life, you’re relying more on instinct and more tuned in to the present moment. For me, this is where I am best connected to my intuition. There’s nothing like a good camping trip, lying on the beach or strolling through the trees on the farm to bring me back to basics and dial me back into myself.
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS JOURNAL | Get a pretty notebook and a pen that is easy to write with and then… just write. This is best to do first thing in the morning. Write your stream of consciousness as it falls into your head. Don’t censor it or edit it, just let it flow from you. Aim to write at least one page, but preferably three. Then put the notebook away and don’t look at it again until that evening. By that stage, you should have a new perspective and insight with which to read through what you have written.
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT | When you’re faced with a decision or problem, sit somewhere quietly, close your eyes and focus on your problem. Take three slow, full breaths and then focus on the feeling in your belly. Does it feel knotted, heavy or sickly? Or does it feel fluttery, light, or soft? What feelings do you have in the pit of your stomach about it? Listen to that feeling. It’s coming from your intuition. Try to make a few decisions based on your “gut instinct” and see where it takes you.
NURTURE YOUR THIRD EYE | The third eye chakra, or ajna, is located between the eyes and is the center of our intuition and perception. Referred to in many ancient cultures and by many mystics as the “third eye”, science now teaches us that deep within, this is the location of the pineal gland, which sits between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It produces several neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin (the latter being the neurotransmitter that helps us sleep).
Like our eyes, our pineal gland actually responds to the light that comes in through our eyes. As your pineal gland is not protected by the blood/brain barrier, it cannot defend against toxic chemicals like synthetic calcium and fluoride (as separate from natural sources of these minerals). Cutting out synthetic fluoride and other harmful chemicals and beefing up your diet with plenty of veggies will help to cleanse your pineal gland.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS | When you are present in the now and not focused on the future or stewing over the past, you are simply concentrating on the task at hand. It allows that stillness and quiet through which you can hear the whisper of your intuition. Being utterly focused on what you are doing also helps you to hone your skills and instincts in that area.
RECORD YOUR DREAMS | Keep a special dream journal by your bed and, as soon as you wake up, whilst the dream is fresh write it down. You might notice a common theme keeps popping up that you might not otherwise have picked up on. For example, when I started doing this, I noticed I was having a very similar dream where I would find entire new secret rooms in my house! I would always feel so excited by the discovery, thinking “Now I have so much more room for activities!”
I then looked it up on a dream decoder and wrote out the meaning. It turned out to be so meaningful. It symbolized my spiritual awakening and discovering new skills, gifts and aspects of myself I didn’t know existed. My house was a metaphor for my inner self and the new secret rooms I was stumbling on were actually new parts of myself. I love this dream decoder for sussing out what my dreams mean.
PROGRAM YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS WITH YOUR INTENTION | If I am struggling with the solution for a problem, I will close my eyes right before sleep and ask for guidance. Then I’ll let my inner guide go in search of the solution while I sleep. Either I’ll dream about it that night, or the answer will pop into my head the next day.
KEEP A NOTEBOOK | You know how you solve the world’s problems in the shower or have a random idea just pop into your brain? Keep a notebook and write it down so you don’t forget! This is also handy to keep by the bed for your dreams and also when you wake up at 3 am with a brilliant idea.
GO ON AN ADVICE DETOX | I think a beautiful part of life is having a “brain trust” we can talk to about everything. Our friends and loved ones know us better than anyone else, don’t they? – so it stands to reason that we would honor and value the advice and guidance they give us. Over time though, if we are not careful, this can become a crutch and an addiction. We tend to go to it first rather than tuning inward and following what feels right in our gut. Before long, we consult our own inner voice so little that it switches off.
So set yourself a challenge. Before you go running to someone else with a problem, you must first work it out for yourself. Imagine it was a friend coming to you for help. What would you tell her? What is your gut saying is the right way forward? Go to yourself in the first instance and only to someone else if you can’t work it out on your own. (Of course, it goes without saying if you require professional advice, such as medical, legal or financial advice then yeah… you of course should seek the appropriate professional advice in that instance.)
CREATE | Whether you love drawing, coloring in, painting, collaging, scrapbooking, crocheting, writing, or even gardening – participating in a task in which your mind, energy, and effort are fully concentrated takes you out of your head and gives your intuition a safe and quiet space to speak up. Plus, when you’re actively creating you’re tapping into your imagination. From that place where everything is possible, you’re more readily able to think about problems laterally.
LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF | Your noisy monkey mind has had years to practice getting loud enough to drown out the sound of your intuition. Sometimes, even though you know the right path in your gut, your anxiety convinces you otherwise. But, the more you encourage your intuitive side to speak up, the louder it gets. Train your intuition to speak louder by beginning to follow it. Have a sense of curiosity about it and get playful! Follow your intuition and see where it takes you. Start with things that are low stakes and work upward as you follow the tips above to further expand your intuition. I promise with time and tender loving care, you will soon be in conscious harmony with your intuitive self and leading a more confident, empowered and purposeful life.