Dr. Traci Stein on Developing Intuition

Most of us have other words for intuitive insights, such as hunches, vibes, and gut feelings. Some people describe these experiences as psychic and others shy away from the term.

Sometimes intuitions will be about pretty ordinary experiences, like which will be the best route to take to work on a given day, or which song the radio station will play next. At other times you may suddenly know that something really good (or not) will happen at work that day.

Perhaps you may feel uneasy or have a particularly vivid dream right before a natural disaster or other major event. And you have probably heard of parents sensing that their child was injured or ill, even if that child was far away from home at the time.

I’ve had my own experiences ever since I can remember, but for most of my life intuition felt like something that happened to me, rather than a potential tool I could further develop. For example, I’d go through long periods where I could reliably predict which side of the train car would open first (increasing my odds of getting a seat!). And then, I might not be able to do this for months, or even years.

Similarly, before the arrival of caller ID, I often heard the phone ring in my house seconds before it rang, correctly knowing who the caller would be before picking up the handset.

Some intuitions were one-offs, such as when I had a sudden, strong visual impression of a colleague I hadn’t seen in several years, about 20 minutes before nearly colliding with her on East 21st Street in Manhattan –an unlikely place, located nearly 200 blocks from where she lived.

Other experiences were both more unsettling, such as having a growing unease about a family member over the course of a week, only to find she’d been hospitalized.

Far from being ‘woo-woo’, intuition is a natural, very trainable, and quite useful skill. Like strengthening a muscle, intuitive ability tends to become more reliable and stronger with practice. There is also a large and growing body of research into intuitive, or psychic experiences, with modern physics offering some insight into how these are possible.

For me, the bottom line is that although most of us have been conditioned to disregard, devalue, or disbelieve in these perceptions, I have found them to be invaluable, just as our more earthly senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are.

If you have a desire to hone your intuitive skills, or are simply curious to give this a try, I encourage you to do so. It’s been one of the practices I’ve most enjoyed.

Some things that can help you become more intuitive, taken from a larger list in Belleruth’s book, Your Sixth Sense, with a dollop of my own spin:

1) Meditation – meditation helps to clear the mind, making the often subtle intuitive communications easier to recognize.

2) Guided imagery – using your imagination can help you set your intention and open your chakras, or energy centers, making it easier for the information to flow (the equivalent of actively tuning in).

3) Get regular exercise – exercise is both grounding and stress-reducing – both of which are helpful when doing intuitive work.

4) Keep a journal – this will help you chart which impressions turned out to be genuine intuitions versus wishful thinking, fears, or daydreaming.

5) Practice! You may be surprised at how quickly your intuition develops once you dedicate some time and energy to it.

6) Remain open-minded and curious – let go of any expectations or self-imposed pressures. Have fun with the process!

7) Find like-minded people who will support you in your exploration and have their own success stories to share.

Be well and have fun with this.