We all know it—that funny, fuzzy feeling you get in the pit of your stomach telling you something is wrong, or even right. That’s your gut instinct. And yes, sometimes you should listen to it.
Research has proved that certain brain functions, such as the processing of certain emotions, can register as physical feelings in the “gut”. It’s called the gut-brain connection.
Another way to understand this feeling is by thinking of it as your intuition, or your instincts. Many people are skeptical about the idea of trusting your intuition, but these gut feelings aren’t useless. They come from somewhere, likely as a result of your brain understanding and processing certain things that it’s experienced before. So, ultimately, it’s just your brain doing what it’s supposed to do. Trusting your intuition means that you trust yourself, and trusting yourself is how you can ensure that your relationships and the conditions of your life are up to your standards: healthy, and, most importantly, happy.
Here are a few scenarios in which you should absolutely listen to your gut.
When you have a weird feeling about your partner’s intentions
Okay, so please do not take this as a sign to go break up with your partner, start an argument unprovoked, or try to do any secret detective work on your own. Well, at least not right away.
If you’re getting a weird feeling about whether or not your partner is losing interest or betraying your trust, don’t ignore that feeling—but also try not to irrationally act upon it. Not for the sake of the cheating partner, but for your own sake. Most of us can say we’ve been in this situation, and a lot of us can say that, in the end, we were right all along. In this case, being right sucks, but it proves why we should listen to our gut sometimes.
Try to approach your partner in a mature, direct manner and explain not only the worries that you’re experiencing, but any specific signs they may be giving you. Maybe they’re being distant or their tone when speaking to you feels off. These are all valid signs that, even when subtle, can spark that suspicious, wary feeling in our gut. Respect your feelings in this situation but remember that acting impulsively can end in disaster.
Staying in if you don’t feel like going out
Let’s say you and your friends made plans to go out on a certain night, but when the day comes, you absolutely have no desire to go. You may even feel like you shouldn’t go, possibly for no good reason at all. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God, the unexplainable powers of the universe, or simply that every single occurrence is just a coincidence—a gut feeling is a gut feeling.
There is something unexplainable planting that feeling in your mind and body, telling you not to leave the house, or specifically warning you away from a specific place. You’ve heard the stories of people missing their train or running late for work, and how those seemingly random events somehow saved their life. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that serious. Maybe you shouldn’t go because your God-awful ex is going to be there, or you really need a self-care night in. Regardless, trust your intuition when its screaming at you to stay in.
Trust your gut when it’s about your future
Imagine that you’re three years into your degree—basically at the finish line—and something is telling you that you’re going to be miserable in this field. Or maybe you see a new job listing and just know that it’d be perfect for you, but you’re already settled in at your current job and it’d be a hassle to quit.
Whatever your situation may be, whatever’s calling you elsewhere—it’s happening for a reason! Life is a journey, and everyone is on their own path. That path is never straight, and it can get pretty rocky sometimes (Alexa, play “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus). Those little gut feelings about what isn’t right for you are actually meant to guide you through the journey. This isn’t to say that you should go full Walter Mitty and abandon everything you’ve ever known, staking it all on one gut impulse—but if that gut feeling absolutely refuses to go away, believing in it could just change your life for the better.
These are just a few scenarios in which I recommend you listen to your gut, but again following your instincts is subjective. You'll know what's right for you.