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15 techniques to help you trust your intuition when you have anxiety

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Trusting our intuition when dealing with anxiety can be challenging because anxious thoughts often cloud our judgment with fear, doubt and a multitude of “what if” scenarios which can significantly muddy our ability to discern our true, intuitive voice.

The challenge lies in the fact that anxiety and intuition can sometimes produce similar physical sensations or emotional responses, making it difficult to tell them apart. For instance, both can cause a gut feeling or a sense of urgency, but the origins and purposes of these feelings differ vastly.

Anxiety typically arises from fear and apprehension about potential negative outcomes, often focusing on future events with a negative bias. It’s a survival mechanism gone into overdrive in the modern world, where the stakes are usually not as life-or-death as our primal instincts assume.

In contrast, our intuitive voice is a more profound sense of knowing that comes from within, offering guidance that doesn’t necessarily rely on rational thought or logical analysis. Our intuitive voice can feel like a nudge towards or away from something, a feeling of clarity about what is right or wrong for us, without the anxious chatter which accompanies fear-based decision-making.

What is Intuition?

Intuition is often described as the ability to understand something without conscious reasoning. It’s a form of knowledge that appears suddenly in consciousness, emerging from our brain’s ability to draw on internal and external cues, past experiences and perceptual insights. It is an inner voice that provides sudden clarity or insight that guides decision-making or the perception of people and situations.

How to learn to trust your intuition

The key to trusting your intuitive voice in the face of anxiety is to develop practices and habits that help you distinguish between these two different internal guides. This process involves learning to quiet the mind enough that the intuitive voice can be heard over the din of anxiety. 

Building a trusting relationship with your intuition amidst anxiety is about creating a balance between acknowledging and managing your anxious thoughts and feelings while also making space for that inner voice of wisdom to guide you. This involves a journey of self-exploration, patience and gradually leaning into the practice of trusting yourself, even when your anxious thoughts try to convince you otherwise. It’s about finding your way back to your true self, guided by the understanding that your inner voice is a loyal companion on your journey, always aiming to lead you towards what is most authentic and fulfilling for you.

Here are some more strategies to help you trust this inner voice despite having anxiety:

  1. Distinguish Between Anxiety and Intuition

Intuition and anxiety can feel similar, but they are fundamentally different. Intuition often feels like a calm, clear knowing or urge that comes from within, while anxiety is usually accompanied by worry, fear and often a sense of dread. Learning to recognize the difference between these feelings can help you trust this inner voice more.

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, including distinguishing between anxious thoughts and your intuitive voice. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and being present ‘in the moment’ can reduce anxiety and improve your connection to intuition.

  1. Reflect on Past Experiences

Reflecting on times when you followed your intuitive voice can be enlightening. Consider instances where trusting your gut feeling led to positive outcomes, or conversely, where ignoring it led to regret. This reflection can build confidence in your intuitive decisions.

  1. Start with Small Decisions

Practice trusting your inner voice of wisdom with small, low-stakes decisions. This can help you build trust in your intuitive sense without the pressure of significant consequences. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually apply it to more substantial decisions.

Anxiety often leads to overthinking, which can drown out your intuitive voice. Try to set limits on your decision-making process. Give yourself a set amount of time to make a decision, and then commit to following through on your intuitive choice.

  1. Take Care of Your Physical and Emotional Health

Your physical and emotional well-being can impact your ability to connect with your intuitive voice. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and engaging in activities that reduce stress and increase joy.

Exercise can be a powerful tool for managing our worries and clearing the mental clutter that obscures your intuitive voice. Physical activity releases endorphins, improves mood and reduces stress, making it easier to distinguish between your inner knowing and anxious thoughts. Even a daily walk or short yoga session can help align your mind and body, creating a better environment for your inner voice of wisdom to flourish.

  1. Learn to Accept Uncertainty

A significant part of anxiety is the fear of the unknown and a desire to control outcomes. Learning to accept that uncertainty is a part of life and that not all outcomes can be controlled can help reduce anxious thoughts and make space for intuition.

Learning to accept uncertainty involves acknowledging that it is impossible to control every aspect of life. This acceptance can alleviate the pressure to predict and control outcomes, thus reducing our fears and worries. Acceptance doesn’t mean passivity or resignation but rather a recognition of the limits of our control and a willingness to move forward despite not knowing exactly what the future holds.

Gradually exposing yourself to situations of uncertainty can help build tolerance. Start with low-stakes situations where the outcome is uncertain but the potential negative consequences are minimal. This practice can help build confidence in your ability to handle uncertainty and make decisions intuitively.

  1. Write It Down

Sometimes, writing down your thoughts and feelings can help clarify which is anxiety and what might be your intuitive voice speaking. Seeing it on paper can help you sort through the noise.

When anxious thoughts cloud our judgment, the act of writing provides a reflective space to explore thoughts and feelings without external pressures. This process encourages a deeper understanding of personal values, fears and desires, allowing the subtle inner voice to become more discernible.

Journaling offers a safe environment for self-expression, where the mind can quieten, and the inner voice—that gut feeling or instinct—can be heard more clearly. Over time, this practice can build a stronger sense of self-trust and confidence in our intuitive judgments, providing a counterbalance to the often overwhelming waves of anxiety.

  1. Affirmations and Positive Self-talk

Affirmations can significantly enhance our connection to our intuition and reduce our fears and worries. By repeating positive, empowering statements, we can shift our focus from fear and doubt to trust and confidence in our inner guidance. This practice helps rewire thought patterns, moving from a state of constant worry to one of openness and receptivity to intuitive insights. Affirmations such as “I trust my intuition” or “I am calm and clear-minded” remind us that we can tune in to our inner guide to help us navigate uncertainty.

Over time, this positive reinforcement not only diminishes the grip of our fears and worries but also strengthens the connection to intuition, creating a virtuous cycle where each reinforces the other. As trust in our intuitive capabilities grows, the worried thoughts that cloud our judgment recede, paving the way for more intuitive and aligned decision-making.

  1. Create a Quiet Space for Reflection

Anxiety often thrives in chaos and noise, both externally and internally. Creating a quiet, comfortable space where you can sit with your thoughts can be incredibly beneficial. Use this space to disconnect from the daily rush and allow yourself the time to listen to your inner voice. This could involve practices like journaling, meditation, or simply sitting quietly and watching the clouds or contemplating a flower. The key is to allow your intuition a clear channel to communicate with you, away from the distractions and noise that fuel anxious thoughts.

  1. Use Visualisation Techniques

Imagine yourself in a situation where you have to make a decision and visualise choosing each of the options available to you. Pay attention to how each choice feels in your body and spirit. Often, your gut instincts will guide you toward the option that feels right, offering a sense of calm, even if it’s accompanied by nervous excitement. This technique helps you tap into your subconscious and bypass the anxious thoughts that can dominate our conscious mind.

  1. Differentiate Between Helpful and Unhelpful Anxiety

Not all anxiety is detrimental. Sometimes, it can be a signal that something isn’t right, which can actually be a form of intuition. Learning to distinguish between unhelpful anxiety (which is often about improbable outcomes or excessive worry without a real basis) and helpful anxiety (which might alert you to legitimate concerns) can be invaluable.

  1. Set Boundaries Around Information Consumption

In the digital age, constant information overload can exacerbate anxiety and drown out your intuitive voice. Setting boundaries around your consumption of news, social media and even the types of conversations you engage in can help minimize external anxieties. By creating a more tranquil internal environment, you’re more likely to hear your intuitive voice when it speaks.

  1. Cultivate a Practice of Gratitude

Focusing on gratitude can shift your perspective from fear and worry to appreciation and abundance. This shift in focus can calm the mind and create a more receptive state for intuition. Consider starting or ending your day by listing things you are grateful for. This practice can reduce the volume of anxious thoughts and make it easier to recognise and trust your intuitive insights.

  1. Experiment with Creative Expression

Engaging in creative activities such as painting, writing, dancing, or playing music can help bypass the logical, anxious mind and tap into intuitive feelings and insights. Creative expression provides a non-judgmental space to explore your thoughts and feelings, allowing your intuitive voice to surface naturally without the pressure of making ‘correct’ decisions.

  1. Seek Support

Talking to a therapist or a trusted friend about your struggles can provide new perspectives and coping strategies. They can help you identify when your thoughts are anxiety-driven and when they might be more intuitive. 

Sometimes, the interplay between anxiety and intuition can be complex and challenging to navigate alone. A mental health professional, especially one familiar with cognitive-behavioural techniques or mindfulness-based practices, can offer personalised strategies and insights. Therapy can be a safe space to explore your experiences and learn the skills required to distinguish between intuition and worry.

I hope you have found these strategies useful. Bear in mind that trusting your inner voice is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate this process.

If you have any questions or feedback about anxiety and intuition, let me know in the comments.

Blessed be X

Eva May Baker
Eva May Baker
Hello, and welcome to The City Witch, your portal into the magical world that exists within the hustle and bustle of city life. My name is Eva Baker and I am an urban folk witch, author and your guide on this magical journey.

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