18 Ways To Develop & Strengthen Your Intuition
We live in a fear-based culture that obsesses on 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 lead to a chronic state of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. Luckily, you don't need fear to protect you because you have intuition—a powerful inner knowing.
We are all equipped with an intuition that is potent, trustworthy, and impeccably attuned to our true path. Whether you use it or not is up to you. Here are a few ways 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.
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 more, think less.
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' Sacred Contracts.
16. Train your intuition.
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 change your life for the better.
18. Start a new breathwork practice.
Lissa Rankin, M.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine, The Fear Cure, and The Anatomy of a Calling. She is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and mystic. Passionate about what makes people optimally healthy and what predisposes them to illness, she is on a mission to merge science and spirituality in a way that not only facilitates the health of the individual, but also uplifts the health of the collective. Bridging between seemingly disparate worlds, Lissa is a connector, collaborator, curator, and amplifier, broadcasting not only her unique visionary ideas, but also those of cutting edge visionaries she discerns and trusts, especially in the field of her latest research into "Sacred Medicine." Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials and also leads workshops, both online and at retreat centers like Esalen and Kripalu. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her daughter. She blogs at LissaRankin.com and posts regularly on Facebook.