By: Joanna Njama
Do you trust your instincts? Do you feel those sharp intuitive pangs when faced with a decision and to follow through?
Sometimes with a busy lifestyle and putting most of our energy into others, it can be tough to slow down and listen to our instincts. But if your gut is telling you that your stress is getting overwhelming, there’s no better time to listen! Your instincts exist for a reason, sis. Not only to protect you from danger or fuel a fight-or-flight response, but to tell you what’s up!
Ever met someone whose energy just made you shudder? Or get a weird feeling of regret about a choice you made? This is your body’s way of telling you to steer clear! Another great thing about instincts is that they exist to lead you in the right direction. Those butterflies you feel when you’re doing something you love? Or when you’re around someone that makes you feel like you can be yourself? That’s your inner voice leading you to jump into what you love and to surround yourself with more people that create those positive feelings or experiences.
Honestly, it’s that simple! So I put together 5 of the best reasons to trust your instincts that will get you on the path to living a more authentic life.
How to Trust Your Instincts
- Clear your mental space. Meditating or going for a walk without your phone can be beneficial ways to get your mind into a calmer state. It’s easier to gain some clarity without the distraction of constant notifications from your phone or getting caught up into the lyrics of any Bey song. Try working this into your daily routine to help reinforce it into a habit.
- Listen to your inner voice. Take the time to assess what you think your gut is telling you. Why am I feeling this way? And more importantly, how can you find a solution that feels right for you? If you have an immediate response that is rational and literally feels true to you, learn to go with it. That voice is not only your instinct, but the steps to reclaiming your authenticity. It may sound a little woo woo, but learning to unapologetically make your own choices is what makes you who you are. So if your girls call you to go out after you’ve already got your bonnet on, tell them it’s too late.
- Cultivate more patience. Cut off in traffic? Coworker pissed you off? Learn to let small things slide. It's not worth the wasted time or the lingering tension and anger. In fact, it’s proven that dragging that anger and negativity throughout the day actually “poisons decision-making”, according to Harvard Business Review. When you’re in a funk, it has the potential to poison your whole day. It can impact your behaviors, including how you think and interact with yourself and others. Ever wonder how your morning could begin with a toothpaste stain on your favorite black shirt only to continue with one relentless thing after another? When you practice more patience with yourself, you’ll eventually learn to be more patient with others. Plus, more patience allows you to pause before you react irrationally. Why? Because emotional reactions are usually not well-thought out ones. So when you take the time to breathe, count to 10, or choose to not engage at all, it creates a habit to keep you from poppin’ off at anything (or anyone) that pushes your buttons.
- Don't dwell on the negative. Your time is too precious to waste it bringing yourself down. It's happened, and that too shall pass. Meanwhile, do something to get out of the funk. Whatever puts you back into a better mood will change your day immediately. The great thing about self-care is that even a little bit can go a long way and help lift your spirits. A coffee date, a girls night out, or even a day to pamper yourself are some easy ways to partake in some self-care. Even if you don’t feel like it, you'll be surprised when you find yourself feeling a little more upbeat. Another tip? Studies have shown that a lack of nutrients can lead to more frequent mood swings and days when you’re just feeling low. Taking a daily multivitamin can help keep you more balanced.
- Trust the process. If don't give your instincts a chance to lead for once, you'll miss the chance to see where they could take you. Trusting the advice and judgement of others hasn't fulfilled you, so how could you go wrong with choosing yourself? Take a breath. Let the negativity from your surroundings fall away so you can tune in closer to your own voice. Hear what it is saying and take the steps to follow in that direction. No matter how small the action, if it feels real, it is.
Trust your instincts! They are a part of you.