Intuition is one of those qualities that you know is there and working in the background but it’s difficult to ever put your finger on.

Sometimes described as having a “gut feeling”, intuition is defined as, “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” Some think of it as nothing more than wishful thinking or an imaginary cognitive ability based on some bias to magic. However, intuition has become a topic of research at some of the highest levels of authority, showing that this intangible ability is more than just fluff.

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“Research in human pattern recognition and decision-making suggest that there is a ‘sixth sense’ through which humans can detect and act on unique patterns without consciously and intentionally analyzing them,” says the U.S. Office of Naval Research. “Evidence is accumulating that this capability, known as intuition or intuitive decision making, enables the rapid detection of patterns in ambiguous, uncertain and time restricted information contexts.”

There are, in fact, already countless studies on intuition pointing to this very conclusion. Intuition helps us navigate the world on another level. Perhaps it’s our ability to detect minute sensory information that we never notice consciously or a heightened state of awareness we can leverage periodically. Whatever it is, there’s no question: intuition is an ability we all have and can make great use out of if we know how.

The only real valuable thing is intuition.

– Albert Einstein

When it comes down to it, intuition is about learning to listen on a deep level. To listen to ourselves, to our heart, and to the heartbeat of the world around us, both sensory experience, emotional, and perhaps something more.

It’s an ability we can all develop, though some have undoubtedly developed a keener ability over time through a variety of circumstances, practices, and other factors.

Here are seven things highly intuitive people do to leverage the power of intuition.

1. They lean in to the voice and listen closely

Intuition is only as powerful as you allow it to be. If you push it away and only believe what is quantitative, concrete, and visible to be true to you then you suppress your ability to tap into this mysterious ability.

Highly intuitive people understand the power of their intuition, hence why their ability is so developed, so they knew that by listening keenly to this voice they can take the most from it. Intuition speaks to us but we can only take from it as much as we are willing to listen.

2. They have dedicated quiet time each day

To become highly intuitive, a person needs to nurture the kind of environment that would allow for a quiet mind and keen attention to develop. And the way to both of those things is quiet solitude.

By taking a little bit of time each day to meditate, read, draw, or even just drink a cup of coffee or tea on your porch in the silence of the early morning, you can cultivate the kind of mind that allows you to tune more keenly into the voice of intuition.

3. They develop mindfulness in daily life

Mindfulness is a tool of the highly intuitive. A consistent practitioner of mindfulness naturally develops the kind of mind that is right for receiving intuition because mindfulness allows us to develop a calm, clear, and sharpened mind, the perfect receiving ground for intuition.

You may have regular quiet time each morning, however, intuition can strike at any moment. For this reason, to grow accustomed to moving about your daily life more mindfully can also be very beneficial for tapping into your intuition.

4. They learn how to skillfully manage their emotions

The mind is the domain of intuition. If your mind is in chaos you have little chance of hearing when intuition comes knocking because those strong emotions can cloud your intuitive ability.

A 2013 study explored this very topic by looking at the effect that emotions play on intuitive judgements. The study surprisingly found that there was a connection between being in a more positive mood and the effectiveness of our intuition.

Highly intuitive people, whether by chance or intentional effort, maintain a balanced emotional state, quelling anger and fear born often from anxiety and stress, so that there’s as little interference as possible.

5. They tune in to their body

Many live as if the mind and body were separate parts, the body nothing more than a transport system for the mind.

However, the two are more closely linked than we ever knew before. Bacteria in our gut seems to affect our mood; ideas in our mind affect how we unconsciously carry ourselves throughout each day; and stress is like the chicken and the egg, bodily stress is connected to mental stress and mental stress is connected to a laundry list of physical health problems.

The body can work much like a detection system, small changes in your movement or a particular feeling hinting at various conditions such as anxiety about something you hadn’t realized you were worrying about.

For that reason, highly intuitive people don’t take it for granted, at least in terms of its connection with the mind. They understand that by listening to the body they can take in all kinds of useful information.

6. They reflex their creativity

Expressing yourself creatively is very much the same process as listening to your intuition. Every creative refers to it differently: the muse, the magic, God, or simply the subconscious mind. But regardless of what you call it, it’s the same special power which communicates our ideas to us.

This process of listening to our creative source is the same muscle we reflex when listening to our intuition, albeit perhaps a bit more actively in the case of creativity. In fact, one could say that it is the very same thing, that our intuition is what we’re listening to when expressing ourselves creatively.

And it doesn’t matter how you express it, whether it’s writing, drawing, painting, building, designing, decorating, or any other of a dozen activities that use our creativity most directly, just so long as you’re practicing tapping into this creative, or intuitive, force within yourself.

7. They listen to their dreams

Dreams are a powerful force for the highly intuitive person because they offer a near-unrivaled gateway to the subconscious.

This is important because the subconscious mind is where intuition arises from. The basic theory is the mind processes much more information than it reveals in our conscious mind. Some of it can’t be because it has more to do with our sensory experience than conscious thought.

As we dream, information comes to us from deep within our subconscious, information which many of us miss. The highly intuitive person knows this and works to observe more consciously while dreaming.

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