Listen to Your Gut: Tips for Developing Your Inner Voice and Intuition

beach.jpgby David Bohl, Life Coach and Lifestyle Designer

Have you ever gotten an idea to do something, or go somewhere, and the idea seemed to appear out of the blue? Maybe it was a strong impulse that went against your typical style, but you felt it so deeply that you went ahead. Sometimes these gut urges just feel right, so although we have no idea where they come from, we trust and go ahead. Listening to your gut, or your instincts, can actually be honed to a skill. Intuition comes from an inner voice, one that lives inside all of us but one which few of us pay much attention to.

If you treat intuition as a part of you, it won’t seem so foreign or scary. If you see it as a part of you that is an invaluable assistant to help guide you through life, you’ll take the time to learn its language and understand its messages. For its messages can be quite useful. If you’re stumped on an answer to a challenge, if you’re brainstorming a problem, if you’re stuck making a decision–your intuition can be the perfect partner to help you out.

One of the best ways to make good use of your inner voice is to ask specific questions. Then wait for an answer to come. It may not come right away or in a familiar form. You might see a sign, get a call, read something in a book. Intuition speaks to us in unusual forms, ones that we will get more accustomed to as we tune it to it and expect it to work for us. Thus, we need to learn to distinguish between the rational mind or ego, and the inner voice or intuition. With practice you will be able to notice the difference. And with trust, you will begin to rely on the intuitive messages you receive.

Beyond just practicing your listening skills, here are a few other tips:

1. Believe.

Do you really believe you have an inner voice that can answer questions and provide guidance? This is a great place to start. Whether or not you’ve tested your ability to receive intuitive messages, start off with the hypothesis that it is possible for you to receive extra help in your life from your inner voice. Stay positive and open to possibilities rather than closing your mind or discounting this accessible tool. Just because you think you’ve never had any strong gut messages, doesn’t mean you haven’t. You just haven’t been trained to hear them. Your belief, your being open, and your positive attitude will allow the intuitive voice to speak to you so you will hear it.

2. Commit.

Decide that you want to develop your inner voice and make a plan to get there. Figure out what you need to do. Read a book, take a class, ask a friend. I remember one of my coaching clients describing an intuition class she took at her spiritual center. She was amazed at the intuitive powers she had buried inside her as she aced all the class assignments. A few positive experiences with receiving and following your gut, will definitely increase your trust and reliance on this powerful inner guide.

3. Meditate.

If you’ve never meditated, you can rest assured it’s no great mystery. When you close your eyes, breathe rhythmically, and do your best to clear your thoughts, your mind goes still. As you quiet the inner noise of a chattering mind, you can start to listen for that still, small, yet powerful inner voice. Intuition, as opposed to rational thinking, is a gentler form of information, so you need to be still to hear it.

4. Release.

Letting go or releasing is the point at which you think, I’ve done all I can, it’s time to let go and trust. You may have practiced meditating, done some exercises from a book, and asked for what you needed guidance on. Then it’s time to trust and let go. Let go of your expectations, let go of when and how the answers will come. The intuition works best when it’s ALLOWED to work, not when it’s EXPECTED to! See the difference?

5. Trust.

With practice and good listening skills you’ll begin to know when your gut is giving you messages. And as you listen to them and follow their guidance, you’ll build a greater trust in the integrity of the messages your inner voice is sending you. It’s kind of like a first impression. We tend to make first impressions, but then question them and wonder if we need to gather more data. Or we get a gut feeling, but again think we need to check it out further.

Looking back, you’ll probably find that the first impression was correct and that gut feeling led you in the right direction. I remember playing Trivial Pursuit years ago, and I would get an answer coming to me quickly. But then I would second guess myself and choose another answer. Invariably, that first answer was almost always right. When you trust your intuition, your intuition will trust you and send you more answers.

When you start listening to your gut, you’ll be thrilled at your new ally–always ready to lighten your load and provide valuable insight.

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