We’ve all had it: that feeling in your stomach that forces you to do something or not do something in the absence of any rational explanation. This is what makes you want to drive the long road to work only to miss the traffic accident or accept that date with the man who proves to be the perfect match. While it might seem like something that isn’t quite understood, scientists are discovering that intuition is highly specific way of thinking. “It’s learned expertise–something wemight not even be aware we had-that is instantlyaccessible,” says David Myers, Ph.D., a socialpsychologist and the author of Intuition: ItsPowers and Perils. It’s good to know that that you are able to tap into your inner ear to take control of your destiny, and begin living a life to the fullest by answering these questions.
1. Are you aware of your surroundings?
Ever wonder howfirefighters seem to knowwhen to get out of a burningbuilding–almost like theyhave a sixth sense? GaryKlein, Ph.D., a cognitivepsychologist and the authorof The Power of Intuition,has spent years studying thisphenomenon. The conclusion he came to is “Firefighters have developed over time to detect subtle cues that are not visible to us as a whole,” he says. “Their subconscious is able to spot abnormalities.” In other words, they’re constantly going through an internal checklist. If something doesn’t seem to match it’s time to move out.
To refine this skill, find the places you are familiar with well, such as your home office, neighborhood, or workplace Try to find three aspects in each that you’ve never seen before. This easy task will enable you to become adjust to the changes in your environment. After you’ve spotted an environmental signal, use it to make an decision.For instance, if observe your home and find that an electrical cable has been damaged, replace it. Even if there isn’t any children, you could stop a child from having a serious accident.
2. Are you a good listener?
“In order to be intuitive it is essential to be aware of what other people and the world around you are telling you,” says Joan MarieWhelan who is the writer of Soul Discovery. The more information you absorb, the more you will need to take in when it’s time to take an apivotal decision.
To demonstrate the point In 2008, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development inBerlin spoke to ordinary people who had put money into the stock market, simply by selecting stocks or companies they’d heard of prior to. They created portfolios of these stocks and compared them to similar-sized ones put together by industry experts. After six months the portfolios created by the group that seemed to be ignorant had earned more money than those made by the experts. Why? Researchers suggest that novices may have chosen stocks that they’d accidentally heard about as good. The majority of tutors advocate this kind of method when you’ve been asked to repeat an exam or working problem choose the answer which resonates with you the most even if you’re unable to pinpoint reasons why it’s appropriate.
To become a better listener begin by asking yourself “Howoften do I interrupt people? Am I always trying to get my message across, rather than listening?” If yes, you should keep eye contact with the person who is speaking to you. “You’re more likely to not interrupt someone you’re watching,” saysWhelan. This will allow you to listen to all that he or she has to say. In time, it will allow you to pick up on things that others do not.
3. Are you paying the body language of your partner?
People who are highly intuitive may seem to be mind readers, but the reality is, they’re more adept at guessing what others are thinking, mostly because they’re adept at recognizing nonverbal signals.
Researchers believe that the ability of reading faces is a skill we’ve developed through evolution. “Historically,living in groups was extremely essential to survival,” says MichaelBernstein, who is a researcher at Miami University in Ohio, Oxford. “Being exiled from a group could result in death, therefore, people learned to be very adept at understanding social cues and facial expressions,” the researcher says. Nowa similar phenomenonoccurs with people whohave faced rejection (e.g.,they’ve been booted outof a clique at school orgotten dumped), saysBernstein, who publishedhis findings in a recentissue of PsychologicalScience. “They can generally tell who is real and not by observing their smiles. “To improve your body language reader, saysBernstein, stare someonein the eye when they smile: “If the musclesaround their eyes begin to crease, that’s an indication of the genuine. False smiles only require that you move your mouth.” Fast swallowing, blinking and limited arm movements can indicate dishonesty, observes JoeNavarro An ex-FBI agent and The author of What Everybody is Saying.
4. Are you a risk-taker?
A StanfordBusiness Schoolstudy of 170 Silicon Valleystart-ups found that themost successful werenot those with the mostexperienced employees.Rather, they were theones whose workershad the most diverseand unconventionalbackgrounds–in otherwords, the companies thatmade risky hires insteadof just seeking out thestrongest resumes. “Goingout to the side is another pillar of intuition. When you risk your life that you’re proactive, it allows you to control events more effectively than when you’re reacting,” saysWhelan. In essence, you’re increasing the chance that positive things are bound to come your way.
Be in the habit of searching for opportunities to perform things that aren’t typical for you. Consider a different route for your evening walk because it feels right or pick up the phone and contact someone who seems to pop into your head. It will not only help you get in the habit of paying attention to your instincts and help you make more conscious decisions. It is likely that some of them eventually make a difference. A reunion with a friend from the past, as an example, can result in the opportunity to get a new job.
5. Do you doubt your own judgment?
In the course of a Michigan StateUniversity study,experienced chess playersdid the same thing playing an enhanced version of the game, like they would playing it in the traditional way.In this way, they did not have to think about decisions to master the game. “Although certain aspects of what we call intuition is really just knowledge that we didn’t realize we had however, another component is aware expertise,”says Klein. “Getting back to the firefighters, they’ve been in many burning structures, they’re able to look for things that we would never imagine, and without realizing that they’re doing it.” If they didn’t stop second-guessing themselves, the results could be awe-inspiring. Studies show that when it involves things you do constantly, stopping and thinking may increase your error rate by 30 percent.
Find the things that you know more than the majority of people: your family, health and job.If you’re experiencing an overwhelming feeling about some of these, pay close attention to it. Ask yourself the most questions possible(“How many years have I been feeling this way?” “What is it that I’m reacting to? ?”). Write down the responses and determine whether you’re dealing with something that warrants more action and eventually lead to a smart (akaintuitive) choice.
6. Let loose and relax?
Researchers are finding that when trying to find answers, taking an unplanned break from your work is typically the best way to go.
“Consciously as you may or don’t, your mind is constantly working.Giving yourself the freedom to take a step back and forgetting all the what could happen can allow you to think more intuitively,” says MarkJung-Beeman, Ph.D. A cognitive neuroscientist at Northwestern University.
Being active can provide your brain with the chance to think more clearly, according to Jung-Beeman.So look for an hour or so per day to exercise and reading, or just enjoying nature or having an evening with a friend–anything that helps you get your mind off of routines and patterns can help you clear your mind of all the clutter. When you are in those times, try to not think about anything specific. Instead let yourmind free-associate–anddon’t be surprised if theinsight you gain leadsto an outcome you neverdreamed possible.