A Formula For Trusting Your Intuition
By Judith Orloff
As an intuitive psychiatrist, I worship my high-octane intuitions: I owe the blessing of becoming a physician to one. However, at 20, when an unwavering inner voice told me I was going to medical school, it was the last thing I thought I wanted. This gut-centered voice committed to your happiness, health, and survival is, with practice, accessible to everyone. But when you deviate even a nano-fraction from your inner voice, energy wanes, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming-out. The more ferociously faithful you are to this truth, the more energized you'll be.
Intuition offers a direct line to your life force, and also, as I experience it, to a divine intelligence. We can't afford to remain deaf to intuition's messages. Its expertise is energy; its job is to know every nuance of what makes you tick. A master at reading vibes, intuition is constantly tallying: what gives positive energy, what dissipates it. Who you meet, where you go, your job, your family, current events, are all evaluated — crucial data that you can learn to interpret and apply.
Here's a formula from my book Positive Energy to help you get started. First, listen to your body: There are positive and negative intuitions about relationships, which highlight compatible matches. Second, act on this information, which is often the hardest part. Let me walk you through the process.
Recognize Your Body's Intuitions About Vibes
A people-skill most of our parents didn't know or teach us is intuitively reading vibes. We've learned to draw conclusions from surface data: how nice someone seems, looks, education, or if a situation adds up on paper. But intuition goes deeper; to make it work for you, other ingredients must be considered, such as what positive vibes feel like — for instance, a sense of heart, compassion, and nurturance. In contrast, negative people project prickly, draining vibes that put you on guard.
Here is a general guideline of body-based intuitions. Use this checklist at a first meeting, to troubleshoot problems if you're already involved, or to weigh "opportunities." Also, feel free to add to it. Being an intuitive, I know that a signature energy always accompanies situations or people. Remember the Lil' Abner jinxed cartoon character who always had a black cloud hanging over his head? Not a vibe that bodes well for auspicious outcomes. Instead, learn to gravitate toward brightness, a positive intuition your body's responses will affirm. When tuning into vibes, take a few quiet moments to go into sensing mode, not intellectual analysis. Look for these signs to determine attraction.
Positive Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
- A feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness, you may sense you've known the person before,
- as with the experience of deja-vu
- You breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm
- You find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance
- Your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energized, expansive, or alive
- You're at ease with a person's touch, whether a handshake, hug, or during intimacy
Negative Intuitions About Relationships or Situations
- A sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or increased stomach acid,
- which may prompt an unpalatable deja-vu
- Your skin starts crawling, you're jumpy, instinctively withdraw if touched
- Shoulder muscles are in knots, chest area or throat constricts; you notice aggravated aches or pains
- The hair on the back of your neck creepily stands on end
- A sense of malaise, darkness, pressure, agitation, or being drained
Intuition helps you act from instinct, not impulse — a look-before-you-leap wisdom that points you to positive energy. When it comes to who you love, where you work, or any important decision, the last thing you want to be is vague. Tuning in keeps you specific. Practice the next exercise to get this down.
With Intuition, Learn How to Pin Down and Act on Your Vibes
Now you're going to tune in, trust your body, and make choices based on the vibes you sense.
- Tune In: Choose a relationship or situation that needs clarification about whether or not to go forward. Perhaps a friendship, vacation or move. Begin with an easier target before you take on higher stakes. Run it by this section's criteria for positive and negative intuitions — or others you find reliable. It's helpful to make a "top five" list of the most killer indicators of positive attraction. For one of my patients, it includes feeling energized and safe. Another must register an increased aliveness and peaceful sense. Write your top five in a journal so they don't get hazy. See how they add up here.
- Act on Vibes: This is where we must be warriors. I know personally and from patients how much easier it is to tune into than to act on vibes. Insecurity, ego, lust, stubbornness can obscure better judgment. Sometimes it takes succumbing to them all to realize you won't tolerate such battering again. But if you don't have to take such a bumpy route, try these options. If the vibes feel overall positive, go for it; explore possibilities. If the vibes are mixed or you're unsure, take a pass, or at least wait. If there's just negative, have the courage to walk away, no matter how tempting the option seems. Then observe how listening to energy in this way leads you to the juiciest opportunities.
Now I want you to start listening. Really listening. I guarantee you'll start making smarter choices. Why? You'll be operating from a spot inside that's juicy, core-felt, authentic — not from an impulse to conform or disown your strength. You won't be seduced by what may look good, but betrays your gut. Intuition is a truth detector.