Relationships -- Trust your gut

February 27, 2009|By BARTON GOLDSMITH / Scripps Howard News Service

Scientists have discovered that there is actually a type of thinking function that goes on in our digestive tracts. It's called the enteric nervous system.

We've all had "gut feelings" or intuitions, but many people don't realize how much they depend on them. Intuition isn't about picking lottery numbers; it is simply another form of knowledge that should be considered.

If you dispute the value of your own intuition, ask yourself how many times you have had a thought, not listened to it, and later wished you had. The truth is that your body knows as much as your mind -- if not more, in some cases. The trick is to learn how to tune in to that very helpful part of your being, and step one is to trust that it's real.

Although following your gut feelings can be a little scary at first, doing so can be really helpful in navigating life's constant changes, and it is usually harmless.


Using intuition can open you up to new ideas or help you find answers to questions you may have. And there is a big difference between intuitive insights and psychotic delusion. The intuitive process requires that you are at least somewhat relaxed and in touch with your feelings, not letting your emotions control you.

The best way to begin is to take a deep breath, close your eyes and concentrate on what's going on within you. Sometimes it helps to focus on your breath. It sounds simple -- and it is, once you've practiced it several dozen times. Don't get frustrated if you feel like you're doing it all wrong and not getting anywhere. Be gentle with yourself and try this technique as often as possible. We all have intuition. It's a matter of tapping in.

Trust those butterflies in your stomach, your dreams to be the best or to create the next Facebook. Listen to that little voice inside you that says "yes." These are all ways our intuition manifests within us. It's not something you program like a computer. It's more a process of building a muscle within your psyche. Just slow down and let it flow naturally.

Artists, writers and musicians all use their intuition to create. Parents use it to keep their children safe, and billions of people make decisions based on their gut feelings every day.

Trusting your intuition is a great tool for making your life and your relationships work better.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a marriage and family therapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "Emotional Fitness for Couples."E-mail him at

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