For our entire lives, we’re constantly bombarded by the beliefs and expectations of others — from our parents and our best friends, to our employers and companies that know how to market to us. And yet, when we need to make big decisions for ourselves, we’re told to “go with our gut” or “follow our intuition.”

Following our intuition isn’t an easy endeavor when we’ve been socially conditioned to drown it out among everybody else’s noise. But like any skill, it can be learned with practice and a genuine desire to get to know ourselves better.

Schedule Time for Solitude

The reason why so many of us often have such a hard time connecting with our intuition is because we’ve learned to focus our awareness on our external environment. Spending time alone and in silence will give you the opportunity to tune your awareness into your inner world without distraction.

Observe Your Sensations

Intuition doesn’t always come to us through words. Our inner voice may be able to speak for it at some point, but intuition often starts with feeling. Whether you notice an emotion like fear or a physical feeling like a slight twinge in your right foot, stay with that sensation and mindfully observe it.

Engage With What You Feel

The first couple steps to tuning into our intuition is really no different than mindfulness meditation, other than the fact that we’re focusing our total awareness inward rather than outward. To better understand your sensations, try engaging with them by asking them questions like:

  • If you were a color, what color would you be?
  • If you were a shape, what shape would you be?
  • If you were a scent, what scent would you be?
  • If you were an image, what image would you be?

This may seem a bit ridiculous at first, but it’s actually a great way to explore what you’re feeling and gather subtle hints of their meaning. Be open to whatever answers are revealed, whether they come via your inner voice or as another sensation. There’s no wrong way to do this and you can go further by asking questions like:

  • What are you?
  • What do you represent?
  • What do you want me to know?
  • What is the truth that I don’t want to admit?

Getting in touch with our intuition essentially involves tuning into how we feel and then having a conversation with ourselves to try to make sense of those feelings. Be patient with the process if you find yourself struggling to feel anything or aren’t having any answers revealed to you.

Sometimes we go so long with ignoring our intuition that it actually goes into hiding and needs to be coaxed a little to come back out. If it needs time to communicate with you, then all you can do is keep practicing and wait until you’re ready.

Other techniques you can use to get in touch with your intuition include completing a body scan meditation, doing some dream journaling immediately upon waking up, and doing everything you can to strengthen your sense of self-love. In time, feeling what your intuition is trying to tell you and knowing what it means will come more naturally.