I am a big gut person. I’m into gut health, with all the research on leaky gut, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and how it affects everything from mental health to inflammatory diseases. However, I’m also a big gut person in another sense. Gut feelings. Intuition. Going with your gut instinct.
I’ve always thought I had a strong gut/brain connection. I’ve always thought of myself as being very intuitive. I’m currently reading a book called Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Here are a couple excerpts I found interesting supporting the importance of our “gut”:
“Our limbic brain is powerful, powerful enough to drive behavior that sometimes contradicts our rational and analytical understanding of a situation. We often trust our gut even if the decision flies in the face of all the facts and figures. When you force people to make decisions with only the rational part of their brain, they almost invariably end up overthinking. These rational decisions tend to take longer to make, says Restak, and can often be of lower quality. In contrast, decisions made with the limbic brain, gut decisions, tend to be faster, higher-quality decisions…..our limbic brains are smart and often know the right thing to do. It is our inability to verbalize the reasons that may cause us to doubt ourselves or trust the empirical evidence when our gut tells us not to.”
How often have you not done something because you rationally talked yourself out of it? You felt an urge to do something outside your comfort zone, but then your rational brain gave you all the reasons you shouldn’t? What all have you missed out on, what opportunities are you letting pass by, because you won’t trust that gut?
“The power of the limbic brain is astounding. It not only controls our gut decisions, but it can influence us to do things that seem illogical or irrational. Leaving the safety of home to explore faraway places. Crossing oceans to see what’s on the other side. Leaving a stable job to start a business out of your basement with no money in the bank. Many of us look at these decisions and say, ‘That’s stupid, you’re crazy. You could lose everything. You could get yourself killed. What are you thinking?’ It is not logic or facts, but our hopes and dreams, our hearts and our guts, that drive us to try new things.
If we were all rational, there would be no small businesses, there would be no exploration, there would be very little innovation and there would be no great leaders to inspire all those things.”
Here’s my view on my gut. I feel like that’s where God speaks to me. Rationally, my brain can’t comprehend how there is some higher power urging me to do something, or showing me signs when I feel lost, or answering prayers through my children’s voices. It’s all my gut and learning to listen to it. Is it easy? No! I think most people tend to ignore their gut and let the overpowering rational part of their brain and society make their decisions for them. Don’t get me wrong, we need that rational part of our brain. But we have that gut instinct for a reason too.
So how do we get better at listening to our gut, because let me tell you, sometimes it is scary! The things that have helped me really tap into it are number 1, quiet time and prayer. You can’t hear your gut as clearly if your to do list is running through your head and noises all around are distracting you. But when you practice some brain clearing activities, you will slowly get better at it, and you will be surprised how loudly the gut voice can sound. Second? Just jump. The more you practice just “going with your gut” before you have time to totally overthink it, the better you get at it and the more you start to trust it. This doesn’t mean it won’t come without mistakes. This means you have to get over the fear of failure, knowing that often your gut instinct can take you places you never imagined.