How to Trust Your Intuition for Better Decision Making
How Decisions are Influenced
Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a paper in 1943 that is still relevant today, "A Theory of Human Motivation," that explains the theory of human growth (see the diagram below). Physiological needs obviously must to be met first. Next, is love and belonging, self-esteem and finally self-actualization. Many people do not reach full self-actualization as it means reaching their fullest potential in every aspect of life.
While basic needs definitely affect decisions, visceral emotions support your decisions, and emotions will impact most decisions. Social decisions are based on what one thinks is socially appropriate. Collective decisions where family, friends, or neighbors influence a decision may cause you to ignore your instincts. The longer it takes to make a decision, the less comfortable you may feel about that decision.
The Most Important Needs Live at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Thinking in a Western World
Western civilization teaches people to focus on their skills that are provided by using the left side of the brain, which uses logical decision making rather than intuitive sensing. The most difficult part of intuitive thinking is separating intuitive thought from wishful thinking.
It is popular to talk about being centered, which is a totally relaxed, calm state where you’re still fully alert. This is that state that will produce an intuitive idea, unclouded by projections or wishful thinking.
"Most of us are living on the periphery of our lives; intuition invites us into the center."
- Willis Harman, Ph.D.
Ways of Thinking
People think in different ways, and if you research this concept you will note many different types of thinking listed on various websites.
This is a list of a few basic ways of thinking:
- Abstract thinking allows a person to see the big picture and to relate seemingly random things together.
- Analytical thinking involves sound logic and data analysis to solve problems, but this person can overthink a problem.
- Creative thinking uses the ability to come up with unique solutions to problems, as the person think outside the box.
- Concrete thinking uses the physical world as this person thinks of ideas and objects as specific items, and they do not use abstract ideas, as they like figures, statistics and facts.
- Critical thinking is a level up from analytical thinking as it involves using very careful judgments and evaluations to conclude the accuracy, authenticity, validity or value of something.
There is also convergent thinking that uses a process of utilizing a finite number of possibilities to find a solution. Divergent thinking is the opposite, as it is a way of exploring an infinite number of possibilities to find a solution.
People have often had the experience of knowing something before it actually happens, like a gut feeling, which explains intuitive knowledge. For instance, let's say someone is ready to cross a busy street, yet something told them to not step off the curb and a speeding car being chased by the police came flying by a minute later. The gut instinct probably saved your life.
A Secret to Developing Your Intuition
Definition of Intuition
The current definition of intuition is the "subliminal processing of information, which is considered too complex for our rational thoughts. Intuition is learned through our experiences, it is not innate." Intuition is considered the purest form of thought.
People often expect a better result from using their intuition rather than logical thought processes. However, intuition is not always perfect, but it is possible to improve or develop your intuitive skills to utilize your intuition more effectively.
The Brain On Intuitive Thinking
Recently scientists have found that chemical reactions occur in the brain and body during reported intuitive experiences. Intuitive decisions are made in an area of the prefrontal cortex. Scientists still do not know the biological differences between intuitive thought and projection, wishful thinking or just the imagination.
The forms of intuition may include:
- Visual imagery
- Sensing sensing body feelings using the eyes, ears, nose gut, heart or any information transmitted from the body without the use of logical thought processes
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Ways to Increase Your Intuitive Potential
It is possible to increase the potential for intuitive thinking by tuning into your body, focusing on meditation techniques, and analyzing images that may be relevant. Having an intuitive experience is described in numerous ways, including a feeling of openness, a sense of connection or belonging, a relaxed feeling, lack of doubt, clarity, excitement, fulfillment, inspired or brightness.
Nature will calm some people, while music or talking with a good friend lets others find that place of calm peacefulness. This will restore that balance and inner peace. Separating yourself from your emotional response or wishful thinking will help clarify your intuitive skills.
A clear intuitive decision will give you a profound sense of solving a problem or knowing you are right about some dilemma in your life. This may happen in a split second, as some of Mozart’s symphonies were visualized in a moment of inspiration. Fear, anxiety or worry will inhibit any clear intuitive thought.
An intuitive answer comes to people in different ways, as some see an image and some visualize the words. Everyone has some intuitive capacity, and the requirements are your intentions and also, paying attention to your body. Practicing a quiet time of meditation, whether walking in the woods or sitting on your yoga mat, will help increase your intuitive skills.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby