Source: Gut Feelings

People use the term “gut feeling”, but they don’t originate in the stomach or intestines! These feelings that most of us experience at one time or another actually originate in our subconscious mind.

What the subconscious mind does is first to accept the information coming in. Then it compares and matches it with its store of similar previous experiences. These experiences are stored in the brain, sort of like videotapes. The brain is so amazing that it matches information in only 1/10 of a second! For example, you know that you’ve seen that house before, or that you can play a particular song on the piano. This is oversimplified because we automatically associate with the things that we know, but this is how the subconscious works. This part of the brain can take from a small amount of data, a complete picture although some can be fuzzy or smudged. The subconscious is highly visual and it also links to our emotions.

So now, when the subconscious replays those videos of a previous experience, even a tiny portion of it, you not only receive clear visual information, you also receive emotional input attached to this information. This is what we call our gut feelings. Here’s an example of this experience. Let’s say you are in an apparent uneventful and innocent situation, but you suddenly experience an unexplainable, intense feeling of fear. This is your gut feeling. What happened is that the subconsciouus instantly analyzed the situation (remember at 1/10 of a second?) by matching the new experience with a related previous experience in its store of “files” or videos, and judged this new situation to be very dangerous. Now the conscious mind of the brain is the rational portion. Of course it sees no hint of danger, but the subconscious is flashing RED ALERT! It’s saying ESCAPE! Run as fast as you can from the situation!

Some people call gut feelings their intuition, but whatever you call it, the brain always works in the same way. This is our subconscious instinctive system kicking in (yes, we humans still do have natural instincts!). The instinctive system provides a counterbalance and a complement to our reasoning.

As we all know, our gut feelings or intuition may not always turn out to be right. This is why many people just shrug off these feelings. Usually we are conditioned from grammar school age not to violate the laws of reason, and are punished for it if we do. So as adults, most of us will choose to distrust our gut feelings especially if there’s enough time for one to analyze the situation.

One of the most valuable uses for intuition is our judge of and dealings with other people, especially the ones we have just met. For instance, suppose you meet a man and suddenly experience a bad feeling about him. You can’t explain it but you just don’t like him. Your subconscious instantly is doing matches of previous similar experiences. It’s possible that he reminds you of a tyrant boss you had years ago. You know you don’t like this man instinctively and you will react accordingly to the situation. Many times in dealing with people, your gut feelings are right.

We all have our gut feelings from time to time. Sometimes we should check them for accuracy , but sometimes we should heed them. If a gut feeling is so overwhelming and strong, we should trust our instincts. Nature has given us our “gut feelings” as a form of life insurance. When a real emergency arises and there’s no time for analytical thinking, it’s wise to follow your basic primal instincts – your gut feelings.

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