What does it mean when we talk about 'gut feeling' and 'trusting our gut'?.
Our gut is an incredible part of our body system and its overall function and is linked to so many aspects of our health – emotional, physical, mental and energetic. As humans we operate and connect as a whole – holistically - mind, body and spirit.
We have about 90% of our serotonin (that feel good chemical) produced in our gut. Or gut is linked to our brain via the gut brain axis and Vagus nerve – which is a nerve from our brain to our gut and acts as an information super highway – sending messages via back and forward.
The health of our gut microbiome educates the cells in our gut and also impacts chemicals that are produced. When our gut is out of balance – it can impact our serotonin production sending messages to our brain – which impacts our thoughts and our feelings. So we are literally feeling from our gut.
A ‘gut feeling’ also refers to that sixth sense, a flash of clarity or a feeling of calm or being energised when you have made a decision. When you are anxious or fearful or experience something emotionally it might feel like butterflies, you might get an upset stomach or have that need to go to the loo. You may get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. This sense or feeling may often feel like it is not logical. Which is why some of us more logical thinkers find it hard to trust it.
Intuition is a big part of our ‘gut feeling’. Research at Leeds University concluded that intuition is a very real psychological process where the brain uses past experiences and cues from the self and the environment to make a decision. The decision happens so quickly that it doesn’t register on a conscious level. This is where our subconscious mind comes into play.
Intuition can be about tuning into things of a more spiritual, energy or psychic based nature. We are all born with intuition. Some of us choose to listen to it – some don’t. Think of it like our inner voice or guide – there to point us in the right direction - when we listen to this we really can’t go wrong. We can also be guided by healthy dose of common sense and rationality – it’s all about balance!
When we tune in, connect and learn to listen to and trust our ‘gut’ or intuition and hear the messages being communicated - it can be really empowering. We can exercise this connection and intuition like a muscle. Here are some simple ways:
#1. Feel it. Lean into the feeling and tune in. Our bodies, brain, mind and senses are smart! Pay attention.
#2. Set boundaries and be mindful of your environment and the people you choose to spend time with. Our brain and our conscious and subconscious mind take on a LOT of information from what we experience in our every day. So be discerning of your surroundings.
#3. Find time to sit and be still with yourself. Practising mindfulness – breath work, meditation, gratitude – all help us to connect and tune in.
#4. Take a walk and spend time in nature.
#5. Take care of the health of your gut via the foods you eat, managing stress and anxiety levels, getting good quality sleep and tapping into joy and what lights you up.