I'm sure you have heard people say: 'I feel it in my stomach' 'I always go with my Gut'. You might even say that yourself. But logically we still like to believe the best decisions come from the logical brain, but did you know you have two other brains and one of them, is in your gut!
Embedded in the lining of the intestines, is the enteric nervous system, with hundreds of millions of neurons - one thousandth the number in your brain. Gut neurons communicate with the brain through the vagus nerve, which runs from the base of the brain to the chest and abdomen. This 'gut reaction' evolved to protect us from danger. Using the gut we could sense predators before we saw them with our own eyes. The clearest connection between the gut and the mind is how we experience anxiety and stress. A gut instinct is when we have a reaction to something we may find fearful. This information from your gut intuition will be sent to the head brain for action. The Reptilian brain, which is in charge of keeping the body safe. It reacts to hostile or frightening situations. Its normal way of dealing with fear can be well remembered using five Fs:
Flight - Run away, get out of there. Fight - Stand still and I'll give you a bunch of fives. Freeze - Most animals and insects do this; they keep still and play dead or are paralyzed with fear. Food - Give the body energy to be able to cope with the situation. Fornicate (Yes there is another F we could use here!) - We have a strong desire for sex for the procreation of the species. Think about the baby boom after the war, or make up sex after an argument.
Whatever the brain decides the gut will send blood to the arms and legs in case we want to fight a predator or run like hell. Of course now stressful situations are unlikely to be caused by a predator, but our bodies reactions can be the same. Making decisions through this form of intuition means that we make choices out of fear or defence.
There are, in fact, two forms of intuition as I write about in my book 'You DO Know - learning to act on intuition instantly'. The second form of intuitive knowing is often discounted because it has no words. It is rooted in emotion. For example, when we have an excited, expansive feeling and we simply know, we may not understand why we know, we just know. This second intuition centre comes from your heart. The heart has its own independent nervous system. Like the gut there are at least forty thousand neurons (nerve cells) in the heart. This is as many as are found in various subcortical centres of the brain.
Following this heart lead intuition can lead to remarkable life changes, as your decisions become about the expansion of who you are rather then limiting yourself to avoiding pain or fearful situations. On a personal level of using heart-based intuition means you can make quicker decisions about what is right for you, which also means less stress. It also means that you can open your heart more widely to people as you know who you can trust, making it the intuition to follow for love.
Next time you hear 'follow your heart' 'Trust your gut' you will understand it's not a brainless act after all. For more information check on my website www.beckywalsh.com