Remember a time when things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, you thought to yourself, “I knew it.” and there was no logical explanation to the feeling that you had?
That was your intuition talking.
By definition, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Using intuition to make decisions is a valuable skill to have.
It can help us make effective decisions quicker. Additionally, once we hone this skill, it can help us feel more connected and at ease with our decisions.
The Value of Emotions and Intuition in Decision-Making
As early as the 1900s, scientists have studied how we can use our emotions to improve decision-making.
Antonio Damasio is a Portuguese-American neuroscientist who has formulated the somatic marker hypothesis. It is a theory about how emotions are involved in decision-making, both positive and negatively, and often non-consciously. He was able to draw a connection between our feelings and body by highlighting the connection between our mind and our nerve cells.
As stated on Psychology Today, these “somatic markers” translate unconscious emotions and sensations into felt instinct. This allows us to make quick decisions effectively with minimal thought.
What is Our Non-Conscious Mind and How Powerful is it Really?
According to cognitive neuroscientists, we are conscious of only about 5 percent of our cognitive activity.
This means most of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behavior depend on the 95 percent of brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness.
Furthermore, there have been studies that demonstrate the effect of our non-conscious mind on our actions.
The New York Times had published an article about a study that was done to evaluate how the sight of hot or iced coffee had affected the students’ ratings on someone’s personality. It was a demonstration of how “everyday sights, smells and sounds can selectively activate goals or motives that people already have.”
This tells us that what our subconscious mind is thinking is extremely crucial in our everyday life. Furthermore, the gut feelings that we have or our intuition are highly connected to the activities in our subconscious mind.
Connecting with Our Intuition in Decision-Making
In addition to research on the importance of tapping into our subconscious mind, there are many strategies to help us get more aligned with our intuition.
These strategies include meditation, centering, yoga, journaling, taking walks, etc. They help to let our minds wander and quiet the distractions that sometimes cloud our decision-making.
(For more information on centering techniques, check out my post here!)
Aside from practicing the strategies above, it is also important to have an increased awareness on our emotions.
Whenever something feels right or doesn’t feel right, take a pause and ask yourself what it is that your feeling and thinking. Furthermore, ask yourself how the emotion feels in your body physically.
This is great information to have in addition to our rational and logical thoughts. After all, as Antonio Damasio had discovered, there is a connection between our mind and our nerve cells! If it doesn’t feel right, it is likely that it isn’t.
The Power of Intuition in Decision-Making
Being connected to our intuition can be a feeling that is unknown to many. Aside from investing more time in activities that help to quiet the distractions around us, it is important to start paying more attention to the emotions that we have around our decision-making.
Additionally, connecting how these feelings align or don’t align with our values will help us feel more connection to our intuitive mind.
What is a recent decision that you made recently that “just felt right”?