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Should You Trust Your Intuition?

By Debbie Mandel

Intuition is this vague mystical concept giving a person instant status. Women have cornered the market regarding intuition - a woman’s intuition is equivalent to possessing a sixth sense. Men have intuition too, commonly used in business like the Midas touch or when sensing the competition’s next move. So what is intuition, how do you access it and should you trust it?

If we respond successfully to a person or environment, we like to attribute it to intuition. Moreover when we don’t trust ourselves and mess up because of it, we say that we should have trusted our intuition – like the first correct choice on a multiple choice test which we override and erase. However, there are times when our intuition needs to be tamed, to respect our moral compass, what our head has to say.

To tap into intuition
First, be attuned to your body like the gut reaction. The gut is actually lined with serotonin receptors- more than the brain and is sensitive to your well-being. If your body is sending you pain signals to your weakest link like a knot in the stomach, a tightening in the chest, a bad taste in the mouth or a headache, it would be wise to ask yourself how you feel about something – this is your intuition – to decode the body’s signal: that ache in your body might be alerting you that there is toxicity in your midst. On the other hand if you feel energized and happy, there might be something nurturing and positive. Your body is a great intuitive guide.

To balance intuition
However, it isn’t wise to act on intuition without engaging your moral compass. For example, if I am very strongly attracted to a married man, my intuition (gut feeling) might tell me to go for it. However, my intellect/spirit will tell me this is morally incorrect and will cause problems for myself and others. In this case my gut feeling is fueled by lust and the high one experiences with fresh romance. Or consider that the butterflies in my gut tell me not to speak at a public event, to cancel my appearance. In actuality, I am afraid and seeking to escape. Intuition in this case is fear. By overriding it with my moral compass, “I made a commitment,” and using my intellect to rationalize away my fear with solid advice like, “Prepare, prepare and prepare,” I actually become stronger by working through it.

For quality intuition you can trust you need to reconnect to your center
  • To cultivate a good intuition you need to be in good alignment, head and heart. You will be open to the signals from your environment and the people you interact with. Then you can evaluate those signals.
  • Accept that every day presents a fresh start, a clean slate. Respond instead of react to people and situations.
  • Free the mind, staying centered in whatever you are doing, like washing the laundry or setting the dinner table.
  • Expose yourself to people who know more than you. What you learn could be life altering.
  • Create a relaxed, more informal environment and wear clothes which are not constricting or confining: Unfetter your creative, spontaneous, joyous spirit.
  • Imagine yourself as a simple housefly on someone else’s wall exploring and discovering.
  • Focus on living things as opposed to material possessions.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: