Follow your intuition. It may seem like a relatively simple concept to grasp when it comes to making life decisions. But, understanding how your intuition speaks to you and deciphering the messages it provides, well, that's not as easy. This is especially true if you've been disconnected from your intuition for some time or other emotions such as self-doubt and fear cloud the messages. Nonetheless, strengthening your intuitive muscle can be done with the right tools and practice. Ahead, spiritual teachers dive into what intuition is, how it feels, and seven rituals you can implement to develop your intuitive skills.
Meet the Expert
What is Intuition?
"Intuition is wisdom inside of you," empowerment coach and spiritual teacher Laina Caltagirone says. "It's the way god and the universe help you and guides you towards the things you desire. When you follow it, you're guided towards the highest and best path for your life.” In other words, think of intuition as your internal GPS.
So how does intuition show up and feel? It's different for everyone. Caltagirone explains it can show up as a gut feeling, an intuitive hit, a flash of an idea, a gentle voice of wisdom, or just a strong inner knowing without being told.
How to Strengthen Your Intuition Muscle
Recognize Your Intuition Wounds
We all have an internal GPS. However, spiritual teacher and medium Nikki Novo says past life experiences or other people can sometimes teach us it's not safe to trust our intuition and cause us to turn it off. Experiences like people telling you you were overly dramatic even though you were right or feeling confident about a decision that didn't go as planned can lead you not to trust yourself. Novo says recognizing these intuition wounds can be the first step towards regaining self-trust.
Quiet The Mind
Silence is vital when it comes to distinguishing the difference between the mind and our inner wisdom. "Imagine you're trying to merge onto the interstate in the middle of Los Angeles traffic, "Caltagirone says. "It's almost impossible to get in because it's just so crowded. That's what happens with intuition. Our minds are so crowded and busy that it's hard for the voice of the intuition to get in."
This is why both Caltagirone and Novo recommend having a regular meditation practice. It doesn't have to be long, either. Caltagirone says even small pockets of time spent in quiet and stillness will help you sense your intuition more.
Tune In To Your Body
Although thinking and making decisions with our minds is the default for many of us, intuition communicates through our bodies. "The body is our gateway to feeling all the feels, and if we feel too much, it's easy to want to disconnect from it and instead live in our minds," Novo says. To use your body to tap into your intuition, especially when you have a decision to make, Novo recommends taking a few deep breaths, placing your hand over your heart, keeping your focus on your heart space, and seeing what comes up. Keep a notebook handy to write any messages down.
Stop Listening To Outside Noise
If you've been in the habit of allowing other people or outside forces to dictate your decisions, Novo says the best way to grow your intuitive muscle is to detox from the opinion and advice of others to give your inner voice space to speak up. "Your inner voice will not scream over the voices of others, so you must give it silence long enough to hear it," she says. "With time, you'll be able to balance out support from others."
Change Your Words
As you work towards strengthening your intuitive muscle, paying attention to the words you say also matters. For instance, Novo says, if you notice that you often respond to questions or decisions with "I think," switch it to "I feel" to remind you to tap into your intuition. Caltagirone adds that saying things like "I don't feel my intuition" perpetuates more of that. Instead, replace those words with empowering phrases such as "My intuition is strong" or "I can always feel my intuition clearly."
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like muscles, the more you use your intuition, the stronger it becomes. The tricky part is that intuition is subtle. This is why Caltagirone recommends doing self-check-ins regularly and asking yourself, "What is my intuition telling me?"
Practice tuning in with small decisions such as what to eat, what route to take, or where to go out at night and have fun with it. "As you make it a practice of checking in with yourself and asking what your intuition is saying, you will feel a stronger connection to it and can use it in even greater and bigger decisions," Caltagirone says.
Follow Through With What Your Intuition Says
Taking the time to tune in and listen to what your intuition tells you is one thing, but doing what it tells you is where the magic happens. "If you get the impulse to call someone or reach out, do it," Caltagirone says. "If an idea comes in that feels exciting and inspired, write it down and follow it. If you have nudges or hunches about people, honor that. As you use it more and see the results, your trust in yourself and your intuition will grow."
That said, yes, tapping into your intuition to help guide your life and your decisions is helpful, but following through with it will still be a scary thing. Why? Intuition doesn’t always make sense, and it doesn’t provide the entire road map either.
"Intuition will tell us 'go this way,' but it won't tell us why or what we'll find on the other side," Novo says. "Often, intuition takes us smack into the middle of the unknown." To minimize the fear, she recommends thinking of intuitive nudges as just one step in the right direction. Trust the wisdom, follow through with it despite it feeling scary, and give yourself grace if you make mistakes along the way.