Us ladies have plenty of superpowers: empathising with others, tracking down our crushes on social media within 0.5 seconds and oh, I don’t know, carrying and birthing children! But perhaps one of our biggest strengths is our natural intuition. Women have an uncanny ability to sense when something isn’t right—a gut instinct, if you will.
What is intuition?
Whether it’s a hunch that we shouldn’t take a certain job or getting a bad vibe from someone for reasons we can’t quite put our finger on, most of us have experienced intuition. But what is intuition, actually? Psychology Today explains it like this: “Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind.” Intuition isn’t woo-woo or witchcraft—it’s an actual scientific process that happens within the brain.
The idea that women have a stronger intuition than men isn’t a myth. Of course, both genders have the capacity for intuition, but it tends to be heightened in women for a number of reasons. Firstly, our brains are hardwired for it. In one study, MRI scans found that the typical male brain was neurologically wired to link perception with action and therefore, be more logical. Meanwhile, a woman’s brain has more neural connections and is more efficient at interpreting social cues.
Then, there’s the fact for the majority of history women have been considered socially inferior to men and have been conditioned to be ‘seen not heard.’ This means we’ve had plenty of time to become very good at reading non-verbal cues. It’s for these reasons that intelligence agencies like the CIA have long suggested that women make better spies!
A woman’s intuition is a powerful force and is not something to be ignored. We’ve all heard countless stories about women who had a gut feeling that their partner was cheating on them or that they were in danger— and turned out to be right. Following your intuition can not only save you a lot of time and angst (or even save your life!) it can lead you to make faster, better decisions in love, life and your career. But if you don’t feel like you have a strong intuition, don’t worry. Research shows that just like any other skill, your intuition can be improved over time with practice.
Read on for 4 tips for training your intuition, so you can make better decisions.
1. Start small
If you’re not too sure about the strength of your instincts, it’s best to not start basing life-changing decisions on your intuition right away. Instead, start small. It could be ordering the first thing on the menu that picqued your interest before you starting doubting your decision, or striking up a conversation with someone you find yourself drawn to. Trusting your hunches will help strengthen and give you confidence in your intuition, so you can use it to guide larger decisions.
As mentioned, non-verbal cues pay a huge role in your intuition. So, the more attention you pay to these, the stronger your intuition is going to become. Next time you meet someone new, try to pick up on the energy you get from them. Or, observe body language and facial expressions when you’re in a group situation.
Often, our intuition sends us messages, but we can’t hear it through all the loud chatter in the brain! Practising mindfulness through meditation, journaling or other activities can help quieten the mind so you can actually pick up on these cues.
4. Listen to your body
Think of your body as your personal compass. After all, it’s called a ‘gut feeling’ for a reason! The mind and the gut are closely connected, so when you feel a sick or nervous feeling about something, it’s worth paying attention.