We have all heard it said – listen to your gut, what does your gut tell you?
Have you ever had that gut feeling, that moment when you just knew?
Have you ever not listened to it and lived to regret it?
The gut sense is your basic human instinct. It is the collective intelligence of your cells all working synchronously to keep your body safe and in proper working order. Your gut offers feedback about how you feel about something, based on your past experiences and fears.
I remember just before Christmas last year, I had to pick up some dry-cleaning and I parked my car, grateful for a spot for 5 mins. I had a feeling to look back and check the sign and ignored it thinking its right across the road and it will be fine, only to come back to an inspector booking me. My dry-cleaning that day cost me $275.
We are hardwired with gut instincts that respond faster than we can think. We are hardwired for trust and distrust. It is the most primitive and oldest part of our social networks in our brains and our bodies.
It can happen so quickly that unless you are aware of that feeling, that gut reaction, you are likely to miss it. From my experience it can be as much as a flutter in your gut that signals you to stop and take notice. With practice I believe that you can learn to recognise, listen to and trust this momentary reaction, that feeling when you know!
Wikipedia defines it this way:
Constantin Economo discovered a neuro network that enables us to connect with other human beings; a network that is embedded in our brain and in our gut. This network is what gives us our gut instincts.
When we are in conversation with others, even before we open our mouths, we size up and determine whether we trust or distrust them, and our gut instincts tell us whether the interaction is going to be safe
Neuroscience tells us that the gut is our 6th brain* – the gut brain is revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way we think. Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS).
Stress is correlated to having an imbalance of gut flora, some what caused by the foods that we eat. The better the quality the better the balance. Processed foods, too much alcohol and caffeine can disrupt the balance which then puts us out of balance.
90% of the body’s serotonin is located in the EC (enterochromaffin) cells of the GI track, where they regulate intestinal movements. This neurotransmitter helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also plays a role in cognition, specifically in learning and memory.
So what is the difference between Instinct and Intuition?
• Instinct is our innate inclination toward a particular behavior (as opposed to a learned response).
• A gut feeling—or a hunch—is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted on if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence.
• Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason. Read more here.
* Judith E. Glaser Conversational Intelligence