How to Develop Your Intuition

Three Methods:Getting in Touch With YourselfLearning How to Read PeopleMaking Decisions

Intuition is that “gut feeling” you have about something or someone that has nothing to do with logical thinking.[1] It might seem like magic, but building intuition is actually about honing your ability to perceive the world around you.[2] By improving your intuition, you’ll find it easier to make better decisions in all aspects of your life.[3]

Method 1
Getting in Touch With Yourself

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    Keep a journal. Take 20 minutes each day to write about what’s on your mind. This might include your goals, your anxieties, your relationships, your successes and failures, and your likes and dislikes.[4]
    • Keeping a journal will help you get to know yourself better by clarifying your thoughts and feelings, likes and dislikes, and personal goals. It can even help you break through mental blocks and resolve problems.[5][6]
    • Journaling is most effective when you do it with pen and paper. Motivate yourself by buying a nice book to write in and a nice pen.[7]
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    Meditate daily. Meditation has been shown to improve mental stability and enhance overall well-being.[8] It also helps quiet your mind, giving your intuition space to grow.[9] Some popular types of meditation:[10]
    • Guided meditations involve being walked through a relaxing imaginary space or situation.
    • Mantra meditations involve silently repeating words to calm and inspire — for example, “I am love”.
    • Mindfulness meditations involve sitting quietly and working on experiencing the moment as fully as possible by keeping a clear mind: when thoughts come into your head, you observe them without judgement, then let them pass.
    • Aim for 10 to 15 minutes of meditation each day. If you find that daunting, start with 1- to 3-minute meditations and then work up to longer periods of time.
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    Go for a mindful walk. If you’re having a particularly hard time quieting your mind for meditation, try going for a walk instead. Be mindful during your walk, paying attention to the sensations of walking and breathing, and to the sights, smells, and sounds around you.
    • Walking is an effective way to boost your mood and clear your mind. Often when our minds are clear, difficult decisions become more clear too.[11]
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    Live in the moment. Bring the lessons of meditation and mindful walking into your daily life. Try to live each moment mindfully, paying attention to what’s happening in that very moment rather than thinking about the past or the future.
    • Don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders as you learn to live in the moment. Even gurus admit to struggling with this.
    • When your mind wanders, just catch it and bring your attention back to the moment. Over time, you will learn to catch your mind more quickly and put it back on track when it wanders.
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    Pay attention to your bodily sensations. In particular, pay attention to your breath, your stomach, and your chest. Quick breathing, an upset stomach, and a heavy, sad-feeling heart are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.[12]
    • Research has proven that our bodies often know what’s up before our minds do. In one study, participants experienced an increased pulse and sweaty palms long before they mentally realized that they were in a negative situation.[13]
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    Pay attention to what your mind is drawn to. Is there a song you can’t get out of your head? Do you keep seeing certain words over and over again? These “coincidences” may very well be signals of what’s going on in your subconscious mind.[14]
    • Taking time every day to clear your mind — for example, through meditation or mindful walking — will help you recognize these signals more clearly and, if necessary, act on them.
    • An example of this might be that you keep hearing songs and seeing people who remind you of one of your friends who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Upon consideration you might realize that you miss your friend, so you set up a time with them to reconnect.
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    Consider your life experience. Intuition is linked to emotion. If someone or something reminds you of a previous person or experience you’ve had, you’re likely to associate it with the same emotions, good or bad, that you had in the past.
    • For this reason, you should still question your intuition, because it may be bringing up associations from a past experience that may not be relevant to your current situation.[15]
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    Gather experiences. Research suggests that intuition is mostly about matching patterns based on experience and knowledge. For this reason, your intuition is more reliable in areas in which you have more experience.[16]
    • Travel, socialize, and learn new things. The more life experience you have, the better your intuition will be, as you’ll have more data to draw from.[17]
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    Allow your gut and your mind to work together. Studies have shown that relying only on logic does not guarantee the best possible outcome. In fact, people often have more success starting with a hunch and then testing that hunch with logic.[18]
    • Research suggests that our initial response to a situation is often the correct one, and that overthinking things won’t always yield the most accurate results.[19]

Method 2
Learning How to Read People

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    Pay attention to body language and words. We often see what we want to see in people, and what we see is often wrong.[20] Instead of going with your gut or first impression of someone, really pay attention to their body language as well as their words to get a sense of who they are.
    • The more you get to know the person, the better you’ll become at being able to tell when something is off with them.
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    Keep an open mind. If you have a bad feeling about someone, it’s okay to be careful around them, but don’t let it prevent you from being a kind person. [21] They may be perfectly nice, but just socially awkward or perhaps from a different culture.
    • You don't have to become close friends or share your deepest secrets — in fact, if you have a bad feeling about them, definitely don’t do those things. Over time, you’ll get to know them better and will be better able to judge whether your intuition was right.
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    Ask yourself whether it’s worth expressing your hunches. Some hunches are best left unsaid for the sake of your relationships. If you do decide to test whether your hunch is correct by bringing it up with a friend/partner/colleague, choose your wording wisely.
    • For example, if you have a hunch that your partner thinks someone else is attractive, but there isn’t any danger of them actually acting on those feelings, it might be best to let them have their crush instead of accusing them of liking someone else and getting into a fight.[22] As long as it’s only a passing attraction and nothing more, it’s perfectly natural.
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    Don’t dwell on the negative. If you’re prone to anxiety and worry, you’re more likely to intuit when those close to you are having negative thoughts and feelings, but you’re less likely to be able to tell when they’re having positive feelings.[23]
    • Dwelling on the negative, and talking about those negative hunches, can sabotage your relationships.[24]

Method 3
Making Decisions

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    Use your brain.[25] When making a decision, start by considering all of your options. Consider the pros and cons, the facts, the consequences, and all of your options.
    • You might even want to write all of these things down or enter them into a Word document or spreadsheet.
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    Listen to your heart. Once you’ve thought about your decision logically, switch your focus to your heart. Clear your mind and breath deeply, then think of someone or something you love. Say a word that opens your heart (e.g. “love” or “gratitude”).[26]
    • Once your heart is open and your mind is clear, reconsider the same situation you just considered using your brain.
    • Again consider the pros and cons, the facts, the consequences, and your options. Are any of these different when you view them from an emotional angle?
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    Think with your gut. Once you’ve considered the situation with your brain and your heart, it’s time to see what your gut thinks. Sit up straight, breath deeply, and relax. Think about a time when you were particularly gutsy, and say the word “courage” to yourself as you exhale.[27]
    • With your gut engaged, think about your decision once more, considering the pros and cons, facts and consequences, and all of your options.
    • Ask yourself what will happen if you fail? What are the risks involved?
    • How do your thoughts differ this time from when you considered your decision using your brain and your heart?
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    Take a break before making the final decision. Distract yourself with something fun, then return to your decision with a fresh mind and see where your intuition weighs in compared to the data you’ve collected.[28]
    • For distractions you might go for a walk, take a shower, cook a meal, play a musical instrument, or whatever else it is that you enjoy doing.
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    Bring your brain, heart, and gut together. Now that you’ve listened to your brain, heart, and gut, try to find a decision that balances all of your answers.[29]
    • Maybe you’ll find that your brain, heart, and gut are all in line with one another. In this case, your decision will be pretty easy!
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    Flip a coin. If you’re really struggling with making a decision after considering it from all angles, try flipping a coin. You don’t have to follow the result of the coin toss. What’s more important is how you feel when you see the result.
    • For example, if you’ve done a pros and cons list, and you’ve agonized over taking that new job but still can’t decide, flip a coin: heads is yes, tails is no. If the coin lands on yes and you feel sick about it, or it lands on no and you feel relieved, you’ll know that you actually don't want the new job and probably shouldn't take it.
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    Try a blind reading.[30] Blind readings are a fun way to explore your intuition. To do a blind reading:
    • Think about a decision you’re struggling with and write 3 possible solutions for it on individual index cards — 1 solution per card.
    • Turn the cards over and shuffle them, then assign a percentage to each card based on how much you’re drawn to it.
    • Make your decision based on the card with the highest percentage.


  • One expert recommends keeping a small pocket-sized journal with you and recording your intuitive feelings whenever you have them. That way, you’ll know when they’re correct and get a better sense of how strong your intuition is.[31]


  • Be sensible in your actions while honoring your intuition — avoid making impulsive, huge changes based only on your gut feeling.[32] For instance, if you feel like you should switch your major in school, take small steps towards doing that by taking a class or two in your desired area.
  • Some experts recommend not going with your gut when considering a moral decision, but instead consulting with others to get their point of view. Your brain is wired to explain your behaviours in a positive light, so it might convince you that something is right even if you know logically that it’s wrong.[33]
  • Some experts advise against using your intuition to make financial decisions such as investments in stocks or businesses, as these are best made using logic.[34]
  • Always consider your mental state when deciding whether to follow your intuition. If you’re anxious about flights, for example, your intuition might always be telling you not to get on the plane.[35]
  • Avoid making intuition-based decisions when you’re sleep-deprived, angry, or otherwise emotionally stressed.[36]

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Categories: Personal Development