What is Intuition?

By definition, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without having to use conscious reasoning. Some people also refer to this phenomenon as an instinctive or gut feeling. These intuitive thoughts and conclusions people come to may seem to come out of nowhere but are not as magical as they may feel and appear to be. Scientists believe it is likely that the unconscious mind operating at a much faster rate than conscious deliberation takes. The belief is that the unconscious mind is able to rapidly analyze the current situation in relation to past experiences, knowledge, and patterns to surmise probable outcomes and conclusions. Pattern and scenario matching pulled from long term memory and experiences are matched for similarities and seem to subtly penetrate the conscious mind in the form of a conclusion or feeling about a situation or person that ultimately guides our behavior.

Many people listen to their gut (intuition) quite closely, but it is not without flaws and inaccuracies. Intuition is also formed by biases, feelings, and past experiences. If a person has routinely had bad experiences with men or dogs, that will bias their intuition and incline them away from what may be men or dogs who are just fine. Some scenarios are better and yield a higher percentage of accuracy such as first impressions, attempts to deceive or swindle, and some dangerous situations. The speed that intuition provides can be evolutionarily advantageous in situations where time of reaction can matter.

What Are Some Examples of Intuition?

Intuition can come in a variety of forms. Often when people say their gut is telling them something is wrong or off, it is typically the unconscious mind picking up on social dynamics, body language, facial expressions or the like. We have all had times when we walk into a room at work, a party of friends, or our own family and we pick up on a weird tension, this would be an example of intuition at work. Another example may be conversationally intuiting or anticipating the direction or ending of someone’s story. This may be based on your own historical experiences in similar situations or what you know about a particular person and how they tend to respond and deal with things.

First impressions are often fairly accurate despite a complete lack of history or experience with a person. Here again, we are typically picking up on subtle cues, which may be the person’s body language, tone of voice, emotional expressiveness and a myriad of other cues that lead us to intuit whether this person is confident, meek and timid, introverted or extroverted, competent, friendly, judgmental, arrogant or other conclusions about their character. Having expertise in certain areas can also lend itself to making quick decisions and assessments about situations and people. Sales managers may quickly be able to evaluate the promise of a new salesperson, medical professionals may be able to surmise physical issues of people without an exam, coaches can identify inherent talent and athletic ability, and psychologists can quickly diagnosis certain mental health issues.

Another interesting form of intuition has to do with implicit knowledge. Some things we know but struggle to articulate or even figure out when faced with a challenge. Many people have had situations where they take a break from a project, only to have a sudden epiphany or light bulb moment on how to solve or tackle a project. Here again the unconscious mind likely continues working on the challenge and upon discovering the solution, brings it forth to the conscious mind. These are just a few examples of the many ways intuition helps guide our behavior and decisions.

If you want help exploring your feelings and learning how to listen to your intuition, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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