Have you ever had sneaking suspicion that something was not right? Most of us tend to dismiss these seemingly irrational thoughts. But scientists say it may be time for you to tap into your gut feelings because there may be something right about it after all. Dr. Oz and Judith Orloff, author of Second Sight, go inside the science of intuition.
We all have the power to collect cues subconsciously before we are actually aware of them; whether you call it a gut feeling, a hunch, a sneaky suspicion or the sixth sense, intuition offers a course of action without much rational thought. It can help you decide what you should embrace and what you should avoid long before you've had time to analyze the situation. And when it comes to our health and wellbeing, intuition is an extremely valuable asset.
We've heard a million stories where people reacted on intuition; a mother is bolted from sleep when her child is in silent distress, a nurse detects a patient's downward spiral long before lab tests were ever ordered, an emergency responder is compelled to recheck a previously searched building. But one of the most powerful benefits of intuition is its ability to alert us as to what’s going on inside our bodies. Harnessing your intuition can get you to the doctor sooner, prevent certain illnesses from progressing and protect you from harm or death. It can also guide you to choose healthy relationships, including one with your doctor.
The Idea Behind Intuition
We subconsciously adjust our behavior many times a day. In fact, shortcuts like these were probably an evolutionary survival mechanism that allowed us to react quickly to dangerous external stimulus. Everything about the environment – what you see, feel, smell and touch – is instantaneously computed.
How the brain makes these unconscious decisions is just beginning to be understood. The brain is a highly organized storage facility capable of evaluating and filing every experience. For efficiency purposes, the brain also has a fondness for patterns; all new experiences are quickly matched against ones that have already occurred. Intuition allows you to cut to the chase, act faster and use less energy.
The reason for that funny feeling in the pit of your stomach is because, much like the brain, the gastrointestinal tract is home to an abundant network of nerves, which is why it is often called the "second brain." So when the brain receives certain input from the environment, a surge of nerve activity travels via the vagus nerve into your core, causing that "gut" feeling.
Learning to Interpret the Messages
We all have the ability to harness intuition for better health; we just need to learn how to decode the clues. For starters, you have to acknowledge its presence and have the confidence to trust it.
Here's where intuition comes in handy in health.
Alerts you to emotional and physical symptoms
How many times have you heard, "listen to what you body is saying?" Using this type of intuition requires you to be acutely aware of subtle emotional and physical symptoms. Since detecting disease earlier rather than later offers the best hope for a cure, heeding to your intuition can intercept a disease before it worsens. Using intuition can also guide treatment decisions, help you choose the right foods and make many healthy decisions.
Assists you in getting an accurate diagnosis
Doctors are experts in the inner workings of the human body. They put pieces of the puzzle together by combining the results of a physical examination, imaging studies and lab tests to come up with best possible cause of the problem based on a set of calculations and rules. But some doctors and non-medical intuitives can also size-up the situation using this faculty. It takes a careful observer, with expertise and experience to be a good diagnostician.
Conversely, a doctor who rarely makes eye contact, asks few questions, doesn't listen and basically breezes in and out of the exam room is hardly relying on intuition to get a clear and complete picture of your health. If your doctor doesn't respect your need to listen to your body, find another one. Review Dr, Oz’s smart patient tips.
Points you to positive relationships
We all have a few people in our lives that, frankly, can make us sick. Intuition can separate the energy vampires from the healthy collaborators. Examine your body language when you are in front of someone. Are your arms crossed in a guarded fashion? Do you feel your energy drain out of you every time you are around this person? Do you unconsciously take a few steps to backwards or swivel in your seat with your legs facing the door? Or do you feel energized when you are around them, lean in closer or widen your eyes when they speak?
By learning to tune into and trust this very basic human instinct, intuition can guide you to make necessary adjustments for a healthier life.