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Trusting Your Intuition

 

Trusting Your Intuition

Trusting Your Intuition

Here is a challenge I’ve been having this week. How do I determine the difference between what my gut says vs. an old pattern I have or the difference between recognizing an intuition vs a fear?  So why not write about it.  There are definitely some questions I find helpful when exploring if/when to trust your intuition.

But before we get into tips let’s look at some research around intuition.  According to  an article on Psychology Today – two different studies reference people’s ability to “intuit” correct answers, in very different scenarios, before the answers were provided.  This was measured by a physical response that was happening as a reaction to the answer.

Another study looked at intuition as it relates to major life decisions, such as buying a car.  In some studies it shows that people who have trusted their intuition first often end up happier than those that analyzed thoroughly and decided against their own first instinct.  However, there is of course some debate about this.  Psychologists and scientists continue to debate the nature of intuition.

Some believe that intuition comes from a reptilian part of the brain that is tapping into some unconscious awareness of danger.  While others look at intuition as a tapping into the unconscious, but in a way that looks at stored information that is available to us but perhaps lost from our conscious mind.

Regardless of the debate, it seems that there exists large bodies of literature that at least agree on one thing – your intuition is worth listening to, for a variety of reasons.

I often live by my intuition…perhaps too much at times.  So finally, here are some strategies that I think are helpful to explore when looking at ones intuition –

Evaluate how this relates to old patterns –

To consider trusting your intuition vs an old pattern of decision making, evaluate it.  Does the decision fit into a habit or pattern for you, or is it an instinct that you have?

Fear wrapped up in intuition –

When there is a hunch towards a decision, make sure that the hunch is not just preventing a direction that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable.  Of course, this should be weighed with reason, but determining if it is intuition or fear that is driving the decision may be beneficial.

What is the impact of this decision in 5 years or 20 years –

Trusting your intuition can be hugely beneficial! So can weighing out the implications of your decisions.  For instance, if this decision won’t make that big of a difference in 5 years, then perhaps it’s ok to move forward.  On the other hand, combining intuition with some logic may be worth exploring if this decision will impact you in 20 years.

If I don’t trust this intuition will the result be regret or potential failure –

Remember, logic and reason is great, but so is taking risks.  Ask yourself if the decision will result in feeling scared, or regretful for not doing something different.  A little fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  A great quote by Lucille Ball –

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done”

How has my intuition been accurate in the past and where has this led me –

Looking at past gains and failures may be advantageous.  Making a list of the times intuition has led to positive results may help to instill some confidence in trusting yourself.

 

How has intuition worked for you?  I would also be curious to hear from anyone who chooses not to trust their intuition.  Please share or comment below.

Thanks,

Michael

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Mind-Body Approach to Depression and Anxiety

 

Mind-Body Approach to Depression and Anxiety

Mind-Body Approach to Depression and Anxiety

In my experience in working with individuals dealing with depression and anxiety or both, there has been a consistency I have seen.   I hesitate to use the term “always” but certainly often, taking a mind-body approach to depression and anxiety seems to yield positive results, in my experience.   In my own life I have found this to be true also.  I have always felt better when exploring challenges from multiple lenses.  This is not necessarily surprising that long lasting change would be achieved through tackling multiple components of the human experience.

I’m certainly not alone in this belief either.  According to an article in The Journal of Palliative Medicine, it was found that a multi-modal treatment approach including mindfulness meditation, yoga movement and breathing exercise helped to reduce anxiety and depression in Japanese cancer patients.   In addition, in The Canadian Journal of Psychotherapy there was a study showing the efficacy of using Yoga as a complimentary treatment to psychotherapy in treating depression and anxiety.  These are just a couple of examples of how a mind-body approach can be an effective treatment philosophy.

4 Tips for a Mind-Body Approach to Depression and Anxiety

Mind your body We now have extensive research to show how lifestyle has such a great impact on our body and mind.  When considering how to care for your body and mind, the basic tenants remain – eat whole foods, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.  If someone is experiencing anxiety and depression these lifestyle factors may be harder to work towards. However, when you follow these principles often times there is symptom reduction.  For more information on nutrition, wellness and some great insight into mindset I recommend – The Model Health Show.

 

Talk to someone – If someone is having a particularly hard time it may be valuable to call a therapist or doctor for consult. If you already have a therapist, there may be value in seeing them more regularly during more challenging times.

 

Have compassion – Be patient and have compassion with yourself. During times of depression and anxiety this may be difficult. Remember that there are resources available to you.  Remaining present, compassionate and patient when working towards reducing symptoms is an important strategy.   One way to exercise compassion is doing an exercise in gratitude.

 

Self-Care – Engaging in some sort of regular practice is very important.  This practice can be different for everyone.  However, usually the focus of the practice is related to self-development.  Self-care could be related to physical fitness, meditation, time with loved ones, reflection, intention or any combination of activities that help to de-stress or remain present.

What mind-body practices have you found to be effective in your life?

Be well!

Michael