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Are you an over thinker? Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? It may be because you are over-analysing all your decisions. When you are in a leadership role you need to make so many decisions during one day, you can feel like you are on a hamster wheel of endless noise and distraction. The dilemma is should you use your intellect or go with your gut instinct instead?

A surprising number of academics (see article here) and psychologists say that going with your gut is better than basing a decision on an intellectual process but when financial decisions and the bottom line come into the equation can you really use your gut to decide? Many decisions do need to be backed up by data, but not all of them have to be.

Intuition is automatic, fast and occurs subconsciously. While analytical thinking is slow, logical and conscious. Often overthinking can lead to high levels of stress and never feeling like you ever have enough time to do your work. So why not try using your intuition instead?

There are two schools of thought on this one. Many would argue certain important decisions should be thought over carefully and rationally using logic, in order to make a successful decision rather than relying on your gut feelings or intuition.

BUT gut feelings are powerful and should not be ignored. They are there for a reason. Intuition/gut feelings are a result of the brain subconsciously using current experiences and incoming sensory information to compare against stored knowledge of past experiences as a way of predicting what will come next and, essentially, telling you what would be the best decision for you to make. It could be argued that many strong leaders are successful because they use their instincts, and that recognising and listening to your gut is important not only for business but for your mental health as well.

So, why is trusting your gut important?

·      Trusting your gut is the ultimate act of trusting yourself.

·      It helps to avoid unhealthy situations and relationships.

·      It is shaped by your past experiences and knowledge.

So how do you trust your gut?

1. Slow down and clear your mind. This helps to recognise and process the information you are receiving.

2. Breathe slowly, and notice and listen to the bodily sensations/reactions (for example, changes in heart rate, breathing and muscle tension). Be curious about why these changes have occurred.

3. Ask yourself; “What is my gut trying to tell me?” Explore the context and consider whether it seems to fit in your decision-making process.

4. Focus on yourself and what is best for you. Tell yourself out loud what decision you are making and see how your body reacts to it. Do you get a physical response? Do you get a tightened or relaxed gut?

So next time you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to think, slow down, breathe and listen to your body. When you are in the flow and using your intuition at work, making decisions becomes much easier. If you need help with finding your inner compass get in touch with me to have a complimentary discovery call by emailing hello@jocowlin.com.

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