7 Ways to Tune In: The Beginner's Guide to Developing & Strengthening Intuition
What Is Intuition Anyway?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intuition this way:
Definition of intuition
1 – a : the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference
There’s an unfortunate misconception that intuition is some sort of ultra-rare gift bestowed upon a chosen few.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Intuition is a powerful inner knowing that we are *all* born with. It’s just that some of us are more “tuned in” to our intuition than others. All this means is we recognize that small, still voice inside, and we immediately feel it when our intuitive radar is pinged by something.
Why are some people more tuned in than others? I believe it’s because most just haven’t been taught to recognize their intuitive hits. We all experience them every single day, but many don’t recognize them because they don’t understand what they are.
Have you ever had your phone ring and before you even look to see who it is, you already know? Or you’re driving down the road, and a song pops into your head, and then it’s the very next song up in the DJ’s music que?
Those are intuitive hits. Seemingly unimportant intuitive hits, but intuitive hits nonetheless. These are examples that help illustrate what we’re talking about so you can recognize when it’s happening. This will also hopefully be a bit of a wake-up call for you to see that you probably have intuitive hits far more often than you realize… you just need to learn how to identify them.
Have you ever walked into a room or met someone and something just feels “off”, you can’t quite explain it but you know something doesn’t feel right? Do you ever have an unexplainable “gut feeling” about something? A sense of foreboding that you can’t explain? Know something, but you can’t explain how or why you know it; you just do?
Yep. Those are all examples of your intuition at work as well.
Sharpening your intuitive sense can help ease fear or anxiety that life is out of your control, and that you must forever be “on guard” trying to avoid the next disaster or catastrophe. If you hone your intuitive skills and learn to trust your inner knowing, you can rest assured that you can avert most potential problems.
Your intuition will never lead you astray. It’s the perfect guidance system… but learning to recognize it and understand it can take a little practice. Never fear, because everyone can do this. It’s not reserved for a special few among us.
Ready to get started? Following are seven of my favorite ways to begin developing and sharpening your intuition.
1 – Meditate
Here’s the thing. Intuition is quiet. It doesn’t shout at you from the rooftops or tug on your hair to get your attention. It whispers…. and you have to quiet your mind in order to hear it.
Meditation is the perfect way to quiet the mind and focus on hearing that small, still voice.
2 – Test Yourself
Or to be more specific, test those feelings you get way down deep in your bones. You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes you just have a strong feeling that a certain thing is going to happen. It could be something as simple as having a feeling a friend is going to stop by out of the blue on a certain day, or maybe you believe your brother’s new girlfriend is nothing but trouble.
When you have a strong hunch about something, test it by writing it down in a journal and seeing if it comes to pass. Read back through these regularly to see how often you were right. Validation like this can go a long way towards building confidence in your intuition.
3 – Read Energy
Practice reading the energy of others.
When you first meet someone, do you often get a certain sense of what kind of person they are? I don’t necessarily mean whether they’re a good person or not, but are they guarded? Are they insecure? Are they hurting inside, even though they may hide it well?
I’m often surprised (still!) to find that I know things about people that I couldn’t possibly have known through any means other than intuition. I can often match names up to complete strangers based just on their energy. Sounds a little crazy, right?
Take some time to allow yourself to feel the energy of others and see what you pick up before you learn any details about them. You’ll likely surprise yourself with what you already know.
4 – Stop Doubting Yourself
We have a tendency to second guess our intuition and tell ourselves we’re “crazy” when we have a strong hunch about something, especially if it seems implausible.
This is where many of us end up confused, trying to determine which voice is actually our intuition and which is our rational mind trying to attach logic and reason where they don’t quite fit.
I’ve learned to go with whatever the immediate first thought is, however fleeting, regarding a situation. The tricky part is that the rational mind will immediately swoop in, muddling our intuitive voice, making it difficult to sort the two out. With practice, this gets easier.
5 – Dream Journaling
The conscious mind is constantly babbling away when we’re awake, rational thought blaring over the top of our intuition, making it difficult to hear that small inner voice.
However, when we sleep, the conscious mind is at rest, leaving the subconscious mind free and able to communicate through our dreams.
Keep a pen and journal or notebook next to your bed. As soon as you wake up in the morning, write down your dreams or any keywords and thoughts that stand out to you. If you can’t remember it all, write down what you can.
Pay attention over time to what comes through, watching for any parallels or correlations to things that happen in your life.
6 – Visit Mama Nature
In our constantly connected and online world, most of us are starved for the simple ease and solitude of nature.
Getting away from my cell phone and my laptop to spend time in nature makes me feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. Silencing technological temptations like social media that are constantly pulling at you can create the quiet mind space that’s needed for your intuition to be heard.
7 – Let’s Play a Game
Okay, this part is really fun. You can do some of these alone, but it’s even more fun with a friend (or friends!). My teen daughter and I play these kinds of games often and pretty much without fail we end up cackling in awe at just how accurate we can be.
Play guessing games, but go with your very first initial thought when coming up with your answer. Don’t waffle, and don’t overthink. Remember, this isn’t about rational thought and reasoning. It’s about your very first response.
Guess what color of tie your boss will be wearing today. Or shirt, shoes, etc.
If you’re watching sports, guess which team will win.
If someone texts you, see if you know who it is before you actually look.
My daughter and I take turns holding a number in our mind within a set range and seeing if we can pick up on what number the other is thinking about.
For example, she’ll think of a number between one and ten, or 22 and 32, or 87 and 97, etc. Any completely random range of about 10 numbers. We tell the other person the range of numbers we’re working from, and they see if they can intuit the specific number.
We do the same thing with things like colors, days of the week, and animals, but we set parameters so we have a framework to work within. Maybe five different animals – lion, hyena, giraffe, zebra, hippo, for example. We know the five options, but try to perceive which specific one the other is thinking of. We mix things up and expand into broader ranges of things as we fine-tune our intuitions. It’s a lot of fun!
Try it with a friend or loved one. Don’t overthink when doing this, because this isn’t about rational thought – it’s about your intuition. Just go with whatever immediately pops in your head and spit it out. You will probably surprise yourself.
Your Intuition isn't Rare, but It's Still Magical
And while it’s magical… it’s also a lot like a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it becomes. If you neglect it, it becomes weak. Weak intuition makes it difficult for you to discern when it’s trying to tell you something.
Developing and strengthening your intuiton can set you ahead and apart from others, because even though we all possess it, not everyone embraces, nurtures, and takes advantage of its benefits.
So, are you brand new to working with your intuition, or is this old hat to you? Do you have a favorite way to sharpen your intuition? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.