Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.

We think of intuition as a magical phenomenon — but hunches are formed out of our past experiences and knowledge. So while relying on gut feelings doesn’t always lead to good decisions, it’s not nearly as flighty a tactic as it may sound.

The best time to trust your gut is when you’re making more complex decisions. Most people might think they should trust their gut when they’re doing something like ordering from a menu, but not when they’re buying a car or deciding whether or not to get married. Because our emotions emerge from our unconscious mind, from our internal supercomputer, they tend to reflect more information than our rational mind. Buying a car or getting married are just the kind of decisions that seem to benefit the most from a more emotional, intuitive thought process. Follow the direction of your inner compass!

The other time it is a good idea to trust your gut is situations in which you’ve had a lot of experience. If the problem really is unprecedented, then emotions fail to save you.

In everyday life, thinking too much and spending too long on a decision can actually lead you to make the wrong decision. The rational brain can be very useful, but it has real computational limitations. It can handle a certain amount of information at any given moment, but if you give it more than that you can overwhelm it.

Learning to tune into physical feelings can often guide your instincts. Your body is a very reliable compass; you need to trust it to steer you in the right direction.

Psychologists believe that we have an innate response to danger that alerts us before our cognitive brain has processed the information. However, it is easy to ignore these ancient signals, unless you’re paying close attention to your instant physical response.

By honouring your intuition when it has wisdom to share, though, you can feel confident and happy in whatever decision you make.

“Close both eyes to see with the other eye.” ~ Rumi