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Is It Intuition Or Just Another Thought? Here's How To Tell The Difference, From An Expert

Tanya Carroll Richardson
August 3, 2023
Tanya Carroll Richardson
By Tanya Carroll Richardson
mbg Contributor
Tanya Carroll Richardson is an author and professional intuitive, giving readings to clients all over the world.
Portrait of a Thoughtful Young Woman
Image by Jessica Lia / Stocksy
August 3, 2023

Intuition may be linked to mysticism, but it doesn't have to be a mystery! Just like you can open up the hood of a car and understand the mechanics of its operating system, your sixth sense has its own mechanics and operating system.

Much of the intuitive guidance you receive will come through the four main psychic pathways. Not everyone will have all four psychic pathways open and active, but most people do experience claircognizance, the intellectual psychic pathway.

Below are some tips to discern between regular thoughts and intuitive thoughts:


Intuitive thoughts can be out-of-the-box thinking

Our intuition catches our blind spots, so an intuitive thought can provide a new perspective you had not considered before.

You might often think your partner doesn't care what you have to say when they're distracted during conversations, for example, yet your intuition suggests they're actually anxious about something in those moments and are having trouble focusing.

Or you might think an acquaintance avoids you because they don't like you, yet your intuition suggests they actually have a crush on you and are intimidated.

While intuitive thoughts can also be obvious or validate your regular thoughts, pay close attention to the ones that show you new angles.


Intuitive thoughts can happen out of the blue

Intuitive thoughts can happen anytime, like in the middle of a worry session, or a more logical strategizing session your brain is having. Or, of course, when you mindfully pause to focus on an issue with your sixth sense.

Yet significant breakthroughs can come out of the blue when your mind is not hunting for an answer to a problem, such as a brilliant epiphany about how to handle your difficult co-worker that arrives while you're mowing the lawn or a great insight about how to fund a home renovation project that comes while organizing your work files.

When you're taking a walk, or thinking about what's for dinner, your mind moves away from trying to solve a significant problem with your logical brain. It's then that your intuition has room to speak up about it.

When you're occupied with something relaxing, like a creative hobby, or thinking about something inconsequential, like doing laundry, your mind might be still and open enough for your intuition to give you information about an important issue.


An intuitive thought might be reinforced by a synchronicity

You could have an intuitive thought appear about the direction of a creative project. It might be a different direction than you'd planned to go in, but the idea about making love a central theme of this project, for example, is intriguing.

Then, when you turn on your car the next morning, the Beatles' song, "All You Need Is Love," serenades you over the radio. When you get back home and check the mail, there is only one letter—a piece of junk mail with hearts printed on the envelope.

Synchronicities can be powerful confirmation of your own intuitive thoughts, so if you are ever questioning your own internal intuition, look for an external sign as a second opinion from the universe.


Intuitive thoughts are usually fully formed

Regular thoughts might be inquiries, like wondering if you should attend a party—or they might be a series of thoughts that lead you to a logical conclusion, like working out how much you can increase your rates by comparing them to the rates of your peers.

Intuitive thoughts are straight to the point with details filled in, like suddenly thinking you should raise your prices by 10% starting in October or thinking you should cancel plans to go out tonight to stay home and rest because there will be chances to socialize this weekend.

Sometimes when we're confused or drained, the quick clarity of an intuitive thought helps us relax and make decisions with more confidence. Learn how to recognize, trust, and expand your intuition with my new oracle deck, Awakening Intuition.

Essentially, recognize an intuitive thought by how it arrives as if already fleshed out. It makes good sense and is to the point.


Intuitive thoughts might create emotions in you, but they aren't emotional thoughts

The great thing about your sixth sense is that it has an inherently grounded, neutral, balanced vibe—even when you're feeling anything but! Intuitive thoughts are objective and for your soul's highest good long term, containing a very even, matter-of-fact energy signature when they pop into your mind.

However, what your intuition suggests might make you feel anxious, sad, elated, or any other big emotion. Remember that your intuition is always providing options on how to take action, or pieces of the puzzle to a complex issue. So, if an intuitive thought comes in and it creates an overwhelming emotion, hit the pause button.

Take time to sit with the insight and decide how, when, and even whether you should take action on it—or let other pieces of the puzzle show up. While feeling and processing our emotions creates a lot of valuable thoughts, intuitive thoughts come from a different place.

We can have an emotional reaction to an intuitive thought, but intuitive wisdom and emotional wisdom are two separate things—both of which are valuable!


Intuitive thoughts can contain lots of layered information coming in very quickly, like a computer download

I use all four psychic pathways in sessions with clients, and when I get information from the claircognizant psychic pathway, I can know a lot very quickly about a client without them telling me—like the dynamic they had growing up with a parent or guardian and how this relationship has affected them as an adult.

It happens in a few seconds, this connecting the dots about complex matters and patterns. Sometimes our minds can race, which is different from an intuitive thought download.

When our regular thoughts race, our mind has trouble focusing, which is actually the opposite of a download. When an intuitive download comes in, your mind becomes instantly focused on the information you're absorbing like a sponge.

A bunch of information coming in rapidly is an intuitive thought download, especially if this is information your mind could not have known from any other source, or it's a rapid, illuminating assessment of a complex issue.

The takeaway

With knowledge of your intuition and how it works, and a little extra attention to the thoughts that come and go in your mind, discerning your intuition from regular thoughts doesn't have to be confusing or difficult. And when you can discern the intuitive thoughts from the regular ones, you can give your logical mind a break and follow the wisdom of your soul.

Tanya Carroll Richardson author page.
Tanya Carroll Richardson

Tanya Carroll Richardson is a professional intuitive who has given readings to thousands of clients all over the world. She’s the author of nine nonfiction books including Empath Heart, Angel Intuition, Are You an Earth Angel?, and Self-Care for Empaths. Tanya has an annual calendar, A Year of Self-Love, and two oracle decks, Awakening Intuition and Grief, Grace, and Healing.