Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, co-hosts of the hit podcast “My Favorite Murder,” regularly encourage their listeners to listen to their gut feelings. During their hilarious weekly show, in which they discuss—you guessed it—murder, the women often talk about how listening to your intuition can save your life in a dangerous situation. “Pepper spray first, apologize later,” laughs Hardstark. Sometimes the two even read emails from listeners that detail how the writer listened to “her gut,” got out of a bad situation, and found out later that she dodged a bullet (literally).
The podcast itself is comedy gold, but what Kilgariff and Hardstark are hawking is true—your intuition is a lot more intelligent than you realize.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to ignore out gut feelings and dampen our intuitive senses. When we stop listening to what the body and subconscious mind is trying to say, we often feel lost or confused. And when your powers of intuition are strong, it’s like having the ultimate superpower—suddenly it’s easier to make decisions, follow through with tasks, and even make friends or date. When you ignore your intuition, things feel hard. You end up trusting the wrong people, dating the wrong guys, and settling for work that you just don’t feel called to. When you really trust your intuition, anxiety around things like work and relationships kind of falls away.
But what if you’re just not intuitive—you’re more analytical and less “spiritual”? Well, you’ve just gotta hone your intuition. “It’s so not a hippy dippy thing,” says Paula Mallis, the founder of WMN Space in Culver City, Los Angeles. “You have the intuition and guidance within—you just need to tap into it.”
Here’s four ways to strengthen and hone your intuition so you can make better, more confident choices.
According to Mallis, getting quiet is the first step in tapping into your intuition. “Pause, get quiet, sit still, and listen for the answer,” she says. And what if the answer you’re looking for doesn’t come? “It might not at first! Keep meditating and asking, though, and eventually, you will hear it loud and clear.”
Try meditating every day for at least five minutes—our meditation guru Suze Schwartz recommends waking up, hitting the snooze button, and meditating from bed.
Listen to your body
The phrase is “trust your gut” for a reason—often our bodies tell us what we need to know long before our mind does. In fact, there are literal neurotransmitters in our gut that send our brain signals. Next time you’re in a tough situation, pause and really feel what’s happening in your body. Are you excited, or anxious? When you meet a new person, does your body language relax or get more tight and withdrawn? Paying attention to your physical cues will bring more awareness to your intuition.
Test your gut feelings
Have a hunch about something? Test it out! Next time you meet someone for the first time, make a note of your first impressions and what you think of them. After you know them for a while, check back in and see how close you were. Or try to predict the outcome of a game, or the weather. It ends up being a fun game—and it strengthens your connection to your subconscious mind.
Indulge your intuitive flashes
As you get more tuned in, you’ll notice you get intuitive “cravings,” like an unexpected urge to call someone or to head an afternoon yoga class instead of go back to work. Pay attention to these flashes of intuition and try to follow through with them as often as possible.