Anxiety is a debilitating, ever-present companion for those who suffer from it. Some people are more able than others to recognize the difference between anxious thoughts and intuition and how to deal with them. Here are some tips on how to recognize these two types of thinking, when they may be helpful vs harmful, and what one should do if they think they’re experiencing anxiety-driven irrationality.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear that occurs when there’s an anticipation of danger or the unknown. Anxiety is a natural and healthy reaction to danger, but for those who suffer from anxiety disorders, the feeling can be overwhelming and debilitating. Anxiety disorders can all be linked back to anxious thoughts (see below) which occur when we don’t trust our intuition or gut instinct.
The difference between Intuition and Anxious Thoughts
Intuition is a voice that emerges in our heads during times of uncertainty; it guides us away from danger and assists us with problem-solving. An anxious thought is one that seems to emerge from nowhere and does not really serve to help; it usually creates more anxiety than it actually helps alleviate.
Anxiety can also be linked to thoughts about being a bad person, being unloveable or unworthy, and other types of irrationality that have no actual reality check. The truth is, worrying about absolutely nothing will not change the outcome of anything you are worrying about. When we think about events that haven’t even happened yet (we don’t even know if they will happen), those thoughts often consist of something bad happening … but the thing is- things rarely turn out as bad as we anticipate them to be.
When our gut instinct is correct, we’ll feel like we had super-human intuition. We can look back at all the times that we had saved ourselves, our loved ones and our careers from potentially being ruined by making the wrong decision. Were you able to speak to your gut instinct when you felt it was right? Have you ever noticed where those intuitions were leading you? If not- chances are they were not leading towards a positive outcome. Underlying anxiety can cause us to believe that things will turn out no differently than they did before … or worse.
Intuition is present in every corner of our life. When we’re able to recognize the difference between relaxed and anxious thoughts, we can make better decisions by trusting our gut instinct and intuition. If you feel lost or are unsure how to respond to something that you don’t understand, ask yourself: Am I feeling the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety over this situation or am I just having a thought? We all have some anxiety-ridden moments from time to time, but it’s important to notice when these thoughts pull us away from being aware of the present moment, and present-moment awareness is what leads us towards a better self-image.
The Difference Between Anxiety and Intuition
Anxiety is linked to thoughts that are irrational, often illogical and can be negative in nature. Intuition is a voice that emerges from within, it pulls us towards the direction we need to go in life. When you feel anxiety, you often feel it in your stomach- a feeling of dread or nervousness. When you feel intuition, it feels like it’s coming from the chest … a reassuring type of feeling that helps pull us towards what will be best for us. It’s easy to mistake anxiety for intuition, especially if you don’t feel it in your stomach (which is the place that most people associate with anxiety). You may feel like you are thinking clearly, but it could be that you’re allowing a negative thought to occupy your mind when you should be focused on figuring out why something makes you uncomfortable.
The Mind Can Argue Your Intuition
You may tend to consider intuition as far-fetched or a weird experience that doesn’t apply to your life … but guess what? It does. Intuition can be a very real thing and it can help us find answers to questions we have. Intuition is the voice that helps guide us along when we have concerns about a situation. It’s one that should not be ignored. When our intuition tells us something is wrong, it usually means there is something we need to pay attention to, whether it be an important decision or a life-changing opportunity. When our gut tells us something isn’t right, we should always trust that feeling and pay attention to it.
Intuition can also help us manage our stress levels. If you’re able to pay attention to your intuitive voice, you’ll notice that when it’s strong, it goes beyond a hunch. Intuition is linked to a clear sense of knowing.
Why We Fear Intuition
If we had listened to our intuition in the past, we would have noticed our gut feeling telling us not to date that person, not get married or buy something and so on- but often times we ignore these warnings because we don’t want those outcomes. We might be afraid to trust our intuition because we’re scared of what it might tell us. We’re wired to be scared of change and most people won’t change unless there is a strong reason to do so.
It takes courage to trust your gut feeling, but it’s the only thing that will allow you to live the life you want. It will help you learn from your experiences and turn your life into an adventure that becomes far more enriching than before. Practicing present-moment awareness with and without anxiety will help you become less afraid of the unknown and allow for bigger changes in your future. You’ll learn to see what is right, and what is wrong and use your intuition to steer you toward the answers that you seek in life.