Archive for the ‘Instinct’ Category

Service of Ignoring Pressure When Your Gut Says “No”

Monday, August 10th, 2020

I’m always sorry when I haven’t listened to my gut and I’m angriest at myself when I’ve given in to pressure. I first wrote about the subject in 2017. These days it could be life or death if you ignore your instinct.

This excerpt of a comment on Facebook from someone waiting in line for a Covid test reminded me. The writer ached, had low fever, cough and sore throat adding: “Could be a cold/flu but for fact that a stupid inconsiderate friend hung out w me Sunday —no mask—after testing positive on Friday…he got the results after contaminating my home. Shouldn’t have let him in.”

One friend did follow her instinct. She refused to leave the car when she saw that none of the guests at an outdoor celebration wore a mask. Another was embarrassed to wear a mask at a gathering of 10 because nobody else wore one.

It’s not easy being green, or an outlier, though if September 11 and the pandemic have taught us one thing it is to avoid or extricate from situations when our antennae flash “danger.” Would I have exited the World Trade Center, I asked myself, even though people were told to stay in place? Since 2001 there’s no question that I’d head for the stairway–and I did several times when my office was in a building with a sketchy fire alarm system and no loudspeaker to warn or explain why it went off. I always left the building.

Is your gut reliable? Do you listen to it? What’s happened when you’ve ignored it? Have you missed opportunities when it directed you to be too cautious?

Service of Listening to Your Gut

Monday, October 16th, 2017

I believe in listening to my gut. When I don’t I’m sorry almost 9.9 times out of 10. It doesn’t always speak to me however, which might be the subject of a different post.

Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal article dug into the subject. In “Does Your Gut Always Steer You Right? Weighing a big decision? Here’s what experts say about when to go with your gut or your rational brain—or some combination of both,” one expert warned about the pitfalls of asking too many people for advice. After a while “stop and be quiet so you can hear your own gut,” she wrote.

Your instinct is affected by mood extremes: Best not make decisions during periods of great stress and anger, happiness or being totally relaxed–all of which might distort your decision. When on a high, I’ve accepted invitations that I’ve later regretted–though Bernstein had far more earthshaking decisions in mind in her article.

What you eat, wrote Bernstein, can harm “the gut’s connection to the brain.” Avoid refined foods, chemicals, and eating too much too fast. On the other hand vegetables and fermented foods “promote healthy bacteria,” and consequently, mental clarity. I can’t attest to this.

“Using unconscious and conscious thought to make a decision is often best.” Make a list of pros and cons and set it aside. Sometimes, she wrote, the answer will be staring back at you.

If not, “do something that absorbs your conscious mind.” Hike, run, walk on the beach, play a musical instrument but don’t watch TV. Author of “The Mind-Gut Connection,” Emeran Mayer, said “Go into yourself without distractions from the outside, and your unconscious will keep working on the problem.” Mayer is also a gastroenterologist and neuroscientist.

I’ve found that the right answers/decisions come to me in the middle of the night, when water beats on my head in a shower, on my walk to and from work or while riding the subway.

Has your gut stood by you? Have there been times it’s led you astray and have you figured out why? When you’ve ignored it, have you paid the price?

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