A few months ago I put out a survey to The Dreamerie community asking what types of content you would like for me to focus on and if there were specific questions you would like to see answered (if you have any requests you can fill it out here). More than 50% of you asked to learn more about strengthening and connecting to your intuition. I love this question because the word intuition can be tossed around quite often, especially in the wellness community. Phrases such as just listen to your intuition, your intuition will tell you, or you know the answer can be maddening if you are feeling disconnected from your intuition in any way (also known as your inner guidance system, higher self, gut feeling, or inner voice).
I hope this post demystifies what your intuition is and how you can use it as a guiding light in your life. Keep reading to explore what your intuition is and to see my recommended tools to strengthen and connect to yours.
What is intuition?
Intuition exists within all of us, it is our subtle inner voice, softly guiding us on our path.
Practically speaking, intuition is defined as the ability to know or understand something immediately without the need for conscious logic or reasoning.
Its guidance typically comes in a gentle whisper, a gut feeling, or an inner knowing.
You can’t think your way to your intuition. It is how our subconscious communicates with the conscious mind. It's instinctual, a feeling unique to each individual, and provides clarity around the answers we need to move in the right direction on our path.
We live in a society very much guided by the masculine, analytical decision-making way of thinking versus the feminine, intuitive way of feeling, so if you feel disconnected to this part of yourself, know that you are not alone and it's possible to strengthen your intuitive muscle.
Building your trust muscle
Because our intuition is soft and comes through as an inner knowing, if we're feeling disconnected from ourselves or we're not trusting of that feeling, then we can completely miss the information being communicated with us.
Furthermore, if we are not trusting of our own intuition, we can begin to rely on the opinions of others, trusting them over our own guidance system.
Building trust within ourselves takes time and practice. This is why it's so important to clear space, get quiet, and connect to ourselves, as the information being communicated is there to support our highest good.
One of the most powerful ways to connect to and build trust with your intuition is to practice relying on it instead of asking those around you for advice or their opinions on what you should do.
If you are someone who is in the habit of immediately seeking guidance outside of yourself, this can be uncomfortable at first, but by doing so, you give yourself the opportunity to find the answers within before asking for guidance.
There is no one who knows what's best for you in the way that you do.
Differentiating ego vs. intuition
Let’s briefly review the difference between intuition and ego. While both are inner voices, they are drastically different.
Our intuition is quiet, instinctual, effortless, comes quickly, and supports our highest good.
Our ego is louder and comes in after the fact. Its job is to protect us mentally and physically, but it is also heavily influenced by the world around us. The ego analyzes and typically offers us guidance based on fear — for example, starting a new creative project that scares us. Our intuition gently nudges us towards the project, a soft whisper telling us to just begin, while the ego comes through as much louder, fear-based thoughts, telling us all the reasons we'll fail or won't be good enough.
Other ways to differentiate intuition and ego include that intuition is steady and clear, while the ego will justify its decisions, and intuition will come from the heart in a gentle way while ego will speak in judgment or comparison. For example, when making a decision about something regarding your own life, your intuition will be a clear, gentle voice that doesn't falter in its point of view. It doesn't need to justify its stance and will come through purely without comparing your choice to anyone else's, doubting your abilities, or making excuses. Intuition is based in love and security.
Most of us are not brought up in an environment where we are encouraged to get quiet with ourselves and listen to our inner voice, which is why creating space for yourself is so important.
We are all deeply intuitive, but the way to connect with those answers is through creating space in our lives. This is intentional alone time where you allow yourself to just be, a time to release all the “shoulds” and to-do list items and experiment with ways to spend your time that will support you in recharging.
It takes intention to create this space, whether that is in 5-10 minute increments or for a few hours. Start small, and use this time to just BE. For me, sometimes this is spending time in nature, in meditation, listening to music, laying out and watching the clouds go by, taking a bath, going for a walk, or my newest hobby, bike riding. Find what will be most supportive for you, creating this space to allow your nervous system to decompress and with no expectations but to take care of yourself.
It is in this space you will also have the opportunity to move through any emotions you may be holding onto, to feel your feelings fully, and learn how to separate fear from your intuition.
Tools to develop and connect to your intuition
If you're experiencing intense emotions such as fear, anger, or wanting to be in control, connecting to your intuition fully can be difficult. This is because you have most likely activated your sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the fight or flight response, when your body moves into survival mode. We want to instead activate our parasympathetic nervous system, or rest and digest, signaling to your body that we are safe and can fully relax.
Stress is a part of our lives. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, it can cause our stress hormones to elevate, heart rate to increase, and digestion to stop, amongst other things. This is why it's important to utilize tools to manage your stress, ground your energy, and create space for yourself in order to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, thus feeling relaxed, calm, and centered.
Asking yourself the question and connecting with your why
How well do you really know yourself? How often do you pause when someone gives you advice or tells you that you “should” do something and ask yourself, does that actually align with what I want?
Most of the time our “shoulds” come from external influences — childhood, relationships, society, or the media — and they can (and do) affect every area of of our lives.
This can include anything, from who we should be to how we should dress, what we should eat to what success looks like. In many ways, stepping into our worth is an unlearning of conditioning that we have been programmed to believe our entire lives.
Check in with yourself regularly on whether the actions you're taking are because you genuinely want to or because you believe you “should."
Surrendering and saying a prayer
Connecting to and trusting your intuition is a very personal journey, but you are never alone.
You are always being supported by a higher power and your spiritual support team.
Trust that the answers will come through when you least expect it. It is through releasing the need to control the outcome that you open yourself to Divine guidance.
One of my favorite practices is to say a prayer in the moment when I witness myself wanting to control the outcome or if I'm unsure of what my intuition has communicated with me. I ask for the strength to surrender and a sign to show me the next step to take. It has been a beautiful invitation to experience the present moment and receive guidance in the most unexpected ways.
A few of my favorite prayers are:
I surrender _____ and pray for the Divine to show me the next best step to take.
I pray for the strength to navigate _________.
I release ______. I am open to miracles.
If we're feeling overwhelmed with thoughts or using our brain to hold onto our to-do list, connecting to our intuition can feel impossible. This is one of the many reasons why I love stream-of-consciousness journaling. Simply put, this is the practice of writing out everything that's on your mind. Every idea, story, to-do list item, dream, vision, and beyond. Just let it flow. You can write it in your journal or type it on your computer; what is important is that it is a consistent practice to support you in clearing mental space so that you can connect more deeply to your inner guidance.
Once you do this, I also recommend writing out a specific question you're seeking the answer to and journaling on what comes up for you. What emotions does this question bring up? What thoughts are you having? What is the block preventing you from connecting to the answer? It can be difficult to hear in the moment, but you truly do have all the answers you are seeking within you and this practice can support you in connecting to them.
Breath awareness meditation
It's important to meditate and spend time in silence, as the messages are typically subtle. A great practice to connect with your intuition is through a meditation such as kirtan kriya or a simple breath awareness practice such as the 4•4•4 breathing technique: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds (when done through the nose this also activates your parasympathetic nervous system).
My morning meditation is currently a simple yet grounding breath awareness practice done for 11-22 minutes, depending on the time available. It supports me in starting the day calm, grounded, and connected to my intuition.
Express your creativity
Spend time expressing yourself creatively through writing, drawing, painting, pottery — whatever you will enjoy most.
As someone who spends so much time on my computer, making time for creative activities is incredibly healing and allows me to access new parts of my brain I don’t otherwise use. No one ever has to see what you create, it is just for you. When you release expectations about your creativity, it becomes a practice for you to connect with yourself.
Connect with your physical body
Since intuition is grounded through sensations in your body, it's important to recognize and connect with how your body responds to certain emotions: for example, a knot in your stomach when you are scared or tightness in your jaw when you are angry. This gentle awareness will support you in tuning into your body's messages instead of overthinking. The more sensitive you are to these messages, the more clearly you will be able to feel your intuition communicating with you.
Another way to connect to your physical body is to ask yourself the question you're seeking clarity around and then to tune in to your heart. Do you feel open and expansive, or contracted? There's a difference between the fear that comes with growth and trying new things and the fear that comes with being in a situation that is unsafe or out of alignment for you.
I recommend meditating before beginning this exercise and allowing your body to communicate the answers you are seeking.
Use the Akashic Records
The Akashic Records can be a beautiful tool to reaffirm the messages you receive from your intuition.
I have found often in readings the person will express how much the Records reaffirmed what they felt to be true. I have also experienced this myself when opening up my own Records.
Stay open to signs and synchronicities
Look for signs and stay open to miracles. A book that seemingly fell off the shelf, a not so random idea, a call from someone you have been thinking about — stay open to signs, because they are all around you.
Other powerful tools
Spend time outside and in nature away from stimulation.
Bring awareness to how you feel around certain people. Notice whether they support you in building energy and connecting to your intuition or deplete you of energy.
Know that sometimes there may be no logical reasoning for why you feel a certain way, but you have to listen and trust that feeling. It could be a positive feeling like an instant connection with someone, or entering an environment and knowing you need to leave because there is danger.
Pull a card from a tarot, oracle deck, or archetype deck.
Trust your intuition and know it is here to guide and protect you.
When we tap into our intuition, we are able to make decisions from an aligned space. We feel in the flow, connected to our purpose, and connected to a higher power. You are your own best healer, and the messages you receive from your intuition are always to serve your highest good.
It is also a daily practice that takes time and requires us to be patient and compassionate with ourselves. This superpower exists within all of us and becomes stronger as we use it. With time, you will find the joy in receiving these messages, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.