We’ve all felt it… the racing heart and sudden heaviness in the pit of your stomach. Those moments when your mind races and you struggle to sort both your thoughts and feelings. These experiences are often thought to be the result of anxiety. But have you ever considered that they could be your gut trying to tell you something?
Oh yeah, your gut. You know… that thing that we’re constantly told to trust. That gut feeling is called intuition and it’s often used interchangeably with anxiety. But they’re two totally different emotions. And mistaking anxiety for gut feeling makes it harder to trust your gut and achieve positive outcomes. Yikes!!
The more we thought about this, the more we realized the importance of understanding intuition and anxiety. Differentiating between the two can help you recognize and use each to your advantage. So, in keeping with our affinity for self-improvement, let’s dive right in.
Intuition Vs Anxiety
On the surface, intuition and anxiety can seem pretty similar. But they’re two different states of mind. If you suffer from anxiety, know that you’re not alone.
Mental health matters to us. A LOT. And, thankfully, there are a ton of great podcasts on mental health that you can tune into for game-changing tips and advice on what to do when your nervous systems are out of whack and impacting your emotional well-being.
It goes without saying, anxiety sucks. When you’re feeling anxious, the physical symptoms make it hard to know whether anxiety or your gut instinct is to blame. But we got your back! We’ve got all the deets on intuition and anxiety, including what intuition and anxiety are and how they’re different, to improve the way you react to stressful situations.
What is Intuition?
By definition, intuition is “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.”
Intuition is an instinct we’re born with. Our brains and gut are connected, which is why many people experience intuition as a “gut feeling.” But it doesn’t always present itself that way. Instead, it can sometimes feel more like the universe is guiding you in a set direction. (Like if you keep seeing your angel numbers everywhere!)
No matter how it presents itself, intuition is always focused on the present, unlike anxiety, which is usually related to the future.
Intuition is usually experienced as a calm “knowing” but it’s not always easy to recognize. Some people are naturally intuitive, whereas others have to work a bit harder to develop their intuition.
How To Improve Your Intuition
If you’re more the “trust is earned, not given” type, listen to Improving Your Intuition with Laura Day from Recovering from Reality. Host Alexis talks to the best-selling author about the value of our intuition and how we can best use it. You’ll find even more info on how to trust your intuition in this episode of The Papaya Podcast.
In the meantime, here’s an easy walk-through on how to listen to your intuition:
- Take a moment to focus on your breathing
- Pay attention to the thoughts that are filling your head
- Then redirect your attention to your heart and think about what you know to be true
- Allow what you know in your heart to guide you toward the most beneficial solution
Try some of these techniques to develop your intuition and learn how to trust it when you’re suffering some anxiety:
- Replace negative self-talk assumptions with facts
- Recognize and face your fears to give them less power over you
- Remind yourself of your strengths
- Practice positive self-talk
Daily affirmations are FANTASTIC for boosting self-confidence and overcoming anxious thoughts. Try starting your day with these morning affirmations in between sips from this Soul On Fire mug. Or if your job is a source of anxiety for you, read these daily affirmations for work.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”
Anxiety is rooted in fear. For most people anxiety feels threatening, like an intense, overwhelming attack on the nervous system. It often shows up as symptoms like sweating, breathlessness, and shaking. Anxious thoughts are directed toward the future, particularly future threats, whether they’re real or not.
How to ease anxiety.
There are a ton of great podcast episodes on anxiety. This episode of The Blonde Files and the one from Art of Being Well dig into the science of anxiety. If you often feel ashamed of your anxiety, listen to this episode of The Papaya Podcast. It’ll inspire you to OWN IT AND OVERCOME IT!
And for valuable tips on how to master anxiety and take control of your health, tune into this episode of Him & Her. Seriously, the podcast hosts of Dear Media have your back when it comes to anxiety!
Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety
Anxiety is frantic; intuition is gentle, calm.
Anxiety is often frantic and fills your mind with repetitive, fearful concerns about the future and the unknown. It causes you to question your abilities.
Intuition is a gentle feeling that encourages you to follow what you already know.
Intuition is confident and knowing anxiety is unsure.
Being in touch with your intuition allows you to feel more confident and sure of yourself. It’s a sense of “knowing.” Anxiety, on the other hand, is rooted in questions and insecurities.
Anxiety triggers your fight-or-flight response intuition keeps you grounded.
When you experience anxiety, your nervous system is working in overdrive in response to whatever triggered it. As a result, your fight-or-flight response often causes physical symptoms.
Intuition has very few, if any, physical symptoms. It’s a more subtle feeling that keeps you grounded and guides you based on what you know.
Knowing the difference between intuition and anxiety is the first step to mastering both.
Anxiety sucks. Intuition is powerful. Being able to recognize each one and differentiate them from each other is game-changing. It’s one of the best ways to improve your mental health!
To learn more ways to give your mental health a boost, head over to the Dear Media blog and browse our whole catalog of shows. There are so many that talk about how you can improve your mental health. Anyway, no matter what you need, we’re always here to help!