We live in a fear-based culture that obsesses with trying to control life. We're terrified of uncertainty, so we're constantly anticipating everything that might go wrong and doing everything within our power to guard against inevitable disaster.
It's an exhausting way to live. And it can make you sick, as demonstrated by concrete scientific data in my new book The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage As Medicine For The Body, Mind & Soul.
But there's good news! You don't need fear to protect you because you have intuition, a much more potent, trustworthy, relaxation-inducing compass that can guide you impeccably to your true path.
Like courage and optimism, intuition can be cultivated. Try some of the following tips to turn up the volume on that trustworthy inner voice.
Messages from your intuition tend to be quiet, so spending time in silence will help you hear and interpret these messages.
2. Start noticing all that you can with your five conventional senses.
Doing so can raise your sensitivity to your sixth sense.
3. Pay attention to your dreams.
When the cognitive mind is busy, it can override the intuitive right brain and the subconscious mind, the wellspring of intuition. But when you're sleeping, your cognitive mind rests and opens space for the subconscious mind to signal you in dreams.
4. Get creative.
Engaging in creative activities, such as drawing, scrapbooking, or free-flow journaling, quiets the cognitive mind and allows your intuition to speak up.
5. Consult oracle cards.
Learn to use a Tarot deck or try a deck of oracle cards, such as Doreen Virtue's Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards.
6. Test your hunches.
Got a feeling which horse will win at the track? Getting a sense that it will rain tomorrow even though the weather forecast says it won't? Do you just know your best friend's new guy is bad news? If you have feelings about what might happen in the future, write down your hunches, then check them later. See how often you were right.
7. Consult your body compass.
Your intuition speaks to you through your body, and the more you cultivate somatic awareness, the more sensitive you become. If you get an uncomfortable physical feeling when you're trying to make a decision, pay attention. Do you feel light or heavy? Got a sick feeling in your gut? Saddled with a headache or diarrhea? It could just be the result of stress responses activated by false fear, but it could also be your intuition ringing loud and clear.
8. Escape from your daily routine.
Get away. Slow down. Go on a retreat, take a sabbatical, or just spend a day in new surroundings with nothing planned. When you're overly busy, it's hard to be sensitive to the quiet voices of intuition. Try clearing your schedule and see if your intuition pipes up.
9. Spend time in nature.
Being in the natural world, away from technology and the cognitive mind's other temptations, can open up the kind of intuition we needed when we as a species lived outdoors and relied upon it to keep us safe from the elements, predators, and other true fear dangers.
10. Learn from the past.
Recall a negative experience from your past, ideally something fairly recent. Before this thing happened, think back to whether you got any feelings that urged you to steer clear. Maybe you got a gut feeling something wasn't right. Maybe you had a foreshadowing dream or a vision. If so, did you pay attention to that feeling, dream, or vision, or did you talk yourself out of it? Try to remember exactly how you felt. Recall as many details as possible. The more you can get in touch with the part of you that tried to warn you, the more you'll trust it next time.
11. Feel, don't think.
The mind thinks, always chattering away, arguing with itself like a crazy person. Intuition, on the other hand, feels. If you're not sure whether you're listening to your fearful mind or your trustworthy intuition, see if you can differentiate whether you're thinking or feeling.
12. Engage in repetitive movement.
Run. Dance. Chop carrots. Play the piano. Paint. These physical actions can calm the cognitive mind and open up your intuition.
13. Align with your values.
Your mind may steer you away from your integrity, but your intuition never will. Become comfortable with how you feel when you're betraying your values, and you'll learn what intuition doesn't feel like. Learn what it feels like to behave in alignment with your values, and you'll start to sense your intuition more clearly.
14. Practice sensing into people before you know them.
See what kind of information you can glean from observing people and feeling their energetic signature before you talk to them or learn anything about them from other people. The more you pay attention, the more you'll realize you already know things you couldn't possibly know with the cognitive mind.
15. Read books about how to develop your intuition.
Try Sonia Choquette's Trust Your Vibes, Shakti Gawain's Developing Intuition, or Caroline Myss's Sacred Contracts.
16. Train your intuition.
You can study intuition in formal classroom settings, as well as online programs. Try the Academy of Intuition Medicine, the Foundation for Spiritual Development, or Jenai Lane's Spirit Coach training program.
17. Release your resistance.
Don't call yourself crazy when you get an intuitive hunch. Often, the cognitive mind argues with intuition rather than trusting it. By doing this, you may rationalize yourself out of intuitive knowing that could save your life.
18. Sign up for the free Daily Flame.
These messages from your "Inner Pilot Light" help you learn to recognize the trustworthy voice of intuition so you can let this voice guide you instead of taking orders from the Small Self's fear. Register at InnerPilotLight.com.
For more assistance with strengthening your intuition, read The Fear Cure or download the free Prescription For Courage Kit at TheFearCureBook.com, which includes five free guided meditations I recorded with musician Karen Drucker, intended to cultivate your intuition and free you from suffering.