You probably don't think of yourself as "psychic," but we ALL have intuition. Basically, intuition is the way that our subconscious mind communicates with our conscious mind—that sense of feeling something rather than knowing it, the gut instincts or hunches that come to you seemingly out of nowhere. In other words, intuition is information that we know but haven't consciously reasoned.
You can, and should, trust your intuition. It's a highly sophisticated tool driven by experience and understanding—which means it gets stronger as we get older and learn more about the world. The ~gut feeling~ IS real, but the inner workings of how your brain produced that feeling happens outside of your conscious mind. And that’s okay! If EVERYTHING going on in your brain happened consciously, your head would explode.
If you want to strengthen your intuition, you can definitely do that. Here's how:
FEED YOUR BRAIN
Your brain loves absorbing information, observation, news…so feed it! Read everything you can, watch documentaries, visit art galleries, take classes, travel (when it's safe to do so), etc. Don't filter out information—take it all in! Your brain will store all of this knowledge deep down there in your subconscious, and you'll get deeper insights. New information stretches your mind and gives your subconscious more to work with. It's all about the brain, people!
When you talk with others, practice REALLY listening to them. Try to hear what they mean, not just what they say. Treat conversations as opportunities to listen better, pick up on non-verbal signals, and hear what they're not saying. Ask people how they feel, what changes they’ve noticed recently, or what's really bothering them. Go deeper. The more you can encourage people to show you, the more you’ll start to see for yourself.
Writing, painting, sculpting, candle-making, gardening, cooking, needlework, knitting, board game marathons…whatever you like, do it! We're all creative as little kids, but then society makes us tone it down. However, with practice, we can reactivate that part of the brain that enjoys playing and asking "What if?" As you get used to turning a blank piece of paper into a work of art—or at least a cool doodle— the highway between your subconscious and your conscious mind opens up.
TUNE INTO YOUR BODY
We all possess "bodily intelligence": Our bodies produce sensations that can tell us how we're truly feeling on a subconscious level. This exercise will help you name and describe what's causing the "knot in your stomach" or "tightness in your chest"—two ways your subconscious feelings show up in your body.
Try this exercise:
- Close your eyes.
- Take three deep, slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Focus your attention on your body until you hit the spot with the highest level of sensation. Maybe it's your stomach, or your chest, or your side.
- Picture your breath going into that place. Keep your attention there.
- Find a word to describe it—Is it hard or soft? Big or small? Tight or rippling? Does it have a color? If this image could speak, what would it say? Write it down, and follow it.
Stichomancy is an ancient form of fortune-telling that anyone you can do. All you need is a book. First, think of a question and hold it in your mind, like, "How do I get that promotion at work?" Then, grab a book, open it at random, and then look for the first sentence that stands out to you. Think about the sentence and apply it to your question. It might be a symbolic, literal, or whimsical answer. Whatever it is, write it down and find a connection.
Whichever intuition exercise work for you, keep at it—your intuition is kinda like a muscle, after all. You need to use it to make it stronger!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.