Oral Care and Health Daily

Do You Make Better Decisions by Listening to Your Heart?

New research sheds light on the best way to make up your mind. Here, tips to interpret your gut feel...

Should you listen to your heart or your gut instincts when making important decisions? The answer: Listen to both -- but don’t rely on intuition exclusively. New research from the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, U.K., suggests that people who are good at perceiving subtle bodily changes (such as shifts in heart rate) tend to be better at combining their gut feelings with intuitive decision-making, thereby allowing logic and emotions to shape their choices.

Factoring in how you feel -- rather than overanalyzing a decision -- may be the best way to make health choices, business decisions, and even relationship decisions, says Lynn Robinson, a business coach based in Wellesley, Mass., and author of Listen: Trusting Your Inner Voice in Times of Crisis. “We need facts, logic and intuition to make good decisions, especially because things are changing so much in the world that what worked before may not work now.”

Here’s how Robinson, who has coached dentists on how to use more of that intuition in their practice decisions, suggests we can balance gut instincts with logical, rational thought to make solid choices:

Step 1: Tune into your body’s signals. To benefit from your intuition, you need to be able to hear it -- and “we all get intuition in a different way,” explains Robinson. “Some people get an ‘Aha!’ moment in their minds. Others get goose bumps from excitement or a sinking feeling in their guts. Others might hear an inner voice. The answers don’t always come immediately.” Indeed, flashes of intuition may come when you least expect them (like while you’re taking a shower or walking the dog).

Step 2: Review your history. “Think back on past decisions you made, how you felt as you made them, and whether the outcome was successful or not,” Robinson advises. By doing this, you may realize that you had anxiety in your gut when you bought the house that turned out to be a money pit or that you felt truly energized and hopeful when you accepted what turned out to be the job of your dreams. If you can identify the clues that were linked to particular outcomes, you can watch for those clues as you make decisions today and tomorrow.

Step 3: Exercise your options. Make a list of a handful of choices you have available regarding a given situation, whether it’s how to best treat a medical problem, or whether to take a certain vacation, or even which dentist or doctor to choose. Then, go through the list and ask yourself which option feels the best, which one makes you the most nervous, which option you’re most excited about, and so on, suggests Robinson. This exercise will help you tune in to how you really feel on a gut level.

Step 4: Dip your toes in the water. Once you have a sense of what you’re inclined to do in a particular situation, try to take small steps in that direction, perhaps by doing research and gathering more information, seeking a second opinion from a dentist or health care provider, or talking to someone who works in a company you’re considering joining. Run your gut feelings by trusted friends. Then, see what happens. “Often, doors start to open to indicate you’re going in the right direction,” says Robinson.

Step 5: Question your intuition. When facing a particular decision, close your eyes, visualize your ideal scenario, then ask your intuition open-ended questions such as, “What’s the best way to proceed?” or “What should I do in this situation?” or “Which of my choices is likely to lead to the best result?” You can do this during waking hours or before turning in for the night. If you decide to sleep on a decision, jot down your question in a journal on your nightstand before you go to sleep. “Usually an answer will start to form while you’re sleeping, and often you’ll wake up with a sense of the best course of action, whether it comes to you in a dream or just a feeling,” says Robinson.

To avoid following your intuition blindly, you also may ask yourself why you feel the way you do. For instance, why does your heart rate rise or why do you feel spent when you think about a particular decision? If you can’t pinpoint why, don’t sweat it. “Intuition doesn’t always give you a clear, logical message -- it often comes in subtly,” Robinson says. “Sometimes you just know the right thing to do on some level, but you don’t know how you know it.” In that case, your best bet is to trust your mind, heart and gut to reach a consensus -- and steer you in the right direction.

More on oral health from our sponsor



This site is provided by Towers Property Management