So What's the Deal With Gut Feeling?

By Stephanie Peters

We are so quick to ignore our intuition when we make decisions. Perhaps this is because it feels like we are relying on uncertainty and ‘external forces’ to guide us, something that seems ridiculous to very rational and logical thinkers. But there may actually be a reason why so many people have been successful through trusting their gut - I recommend Magnus Walker’s story for one.


Have you ever experienced the sense of knowing things before we actually know them? Or knew what decision to make even is a logical reason why isn’t possible?


If only we could tap into these insights more often! Researchers and psychologists have posited that this is your gut feeling trying to get your attention, and it informs your decisions more than you think.


‘Your emotional responses are not as fallible as some would have you believe’ says neuroscientist Valerie Van Mulukom


Our decisions are made from a mixture of logic and emotion and the intuitive right brain is almost always “reading” your surroundings- even when your conscious left brain is otherwise engaged (Hope College social psychologist David Myers, PhD). In this way, our brain is updating its cognitive models all the time. However, the emotion element of our decision-making has been slowly overpowered by analytic thinking in the past decades. In a BBC article by Valerie van Mulukom, she describes that emotions are not actually dumb responses that should be ignored or corrected by ‘rational faculties’ but are a key form of informational processing that should be paid more attention to.


So how do we tap into our gut feeling more often?


Taking time to relax and simply reflect can help it rise to the surface. Especially with the endless to-do lists involved in A Levels this may be hard to do, however, our mind needs some time to catch up and this may help you to make the right decisions- particularly at this important time in deciding future plans.


So next time you feel either positive, affirming instincts, or negative and warning ones, take some time to pay it some attention :)