One of the hardest things for me to accomplish even after years of journaling and countless therapy sessions is trusting my gut. All of us know deep down what our intentions are and what we truly want out of life, but often ignore the signs for a variety of reasons—some valid, some not. Seeing as this is something I’m constantly struggling with and trying hard to improve, I thought it would be helpful to talk through a few of the techniques I’ve been using to guide me along the journey.
Notice Red Flags
When something isn’t right, your body and your mind will instantly notice it. It’s a matter of getting your consciousness to notice these red flags and act accordingly. I tend to ignore discomfort or misalignment when it has to do with something that others expect from me. If I’m doing something because I think it’s what I’m supposed to do, I often push aside any signals my subconscious might be trying to send me and it often results in getting physically ill. As of now I am trying to really be in the present when it comes to my body and my thoughts in order to recognize when I feel uncomfortable and be able to uncover why. If it’s something that can be changed, it then comes down to having the courage to potentially disappoint others or scare yourself by taking that leap.
Why Are You Convincing Yourself Otherwise?
A good question to ask yourself when it comes to trusting your gut is why, during moments of doubt or hesitation, you are convincing yourself that everything is fine. The reason for not following your desires might surprise you and provide some enlightenment that can drastically improve your life. As I mentioned above, I tend to placate those around me, so whenever I try to justify uncomfortable situations it’s usually with external opinions in mind. Whatever your reason for convincing yourself that your instincts are valid, be sure to question it as soon as you notice yourself dismissing a red flag.
Write It Down & Revisit It
When you’re in a fight or flight mind-set (which often happens during moments of distress) it’s hard to think straight. If I’ve gotten myself into a situation that is really making me feel uncomfortable to the point where I just want to run away or hide under my bed, I know that I need to take a step back and really think about these emotions. The most effective way to breakdown what I’m feeling and why is by writing it out, whether in a journal or a word document on my computer, letting it sit for a few days, and revisiting it. When I come back to it I usually notice subtle emotions or reasons cropping up that I couldn’t notice in the heat of the moment. This makes it easier to understand the reasoning behind your anxious thoughts or a bad gut feeling and better able to take the appropriate next steps.