How To Follow Your Gut

how to follow your gut
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How many times have you said to yourself, “I should have followed my gut!” It’s easy in hindsight to look at the many mistakes or bad decisions we made and realize that if we’d only followed our gut, things might have turned out differently. But, we have to be able to listen to our gut in order to follow it. And sometimes we are so caught up with the craziness of life, or so overly concerned with what others think of us, that we don’t even hear what our gut is trying to tell us. Learning how to follow your gut is one of the most important things you can do.

It’s no wonder that our gut is often referred to as our “second brain”. We are beginning to understand that our gut is filled with a mass of neural tissue, with neurotransmitters that handle way more than our digestion. The “second brain” is technically known as the enteric nervous system, and contains over 100 million neurons. Recent research has discovered that our emotions are completely influenced by the nerves in our gut.

Research is currently underway to find out how the second brains mediates our immune response. This makes sense given the fact that 70% of our immune function is directed at the gut to fight off unhealthy invaders. We are also beginning to understand that the trillions of bacteria in our gut communicate with the nervous system that is located in our gut. This is fascinating to me, and makes an even stronger case for us needing to make sure that out gut is constantly flooded with “good” bacteria.

Now that we know that our gut has its own nervous system, and even creates serotonin to help soothe our nerves and make us happy, we need to listen to it in a whole new way. What is your gut telling you today? My biggest enemy in terms of NOT listening to my gut is when I become disconnected from my body by either being too busy, or by being too involved in my phone or computer. Hours and days can go by where I just forget to check in, and if I get too busy or stressed I will invariably feel it in my gut. Studies have shown how stress can totally cause IBS. When I was in a very stressful relationship in my twenties, I was almost constantly (and painfully) bloated. It became a huge issue because I was a theater actress, and literally looked like I was 6 months pregnant on stage when the bloating got really bad. I remember trying every IBS-curing diet on the planet, however, the only thing that worked was leaving the relationship!So, when our gut is trying to tell us something, it really is! And we ignore this intelligence at our peril. Learning to listen to our gut can save us from a making some really silly mistakes, so here’s how I take the extra daily steps to make sure that I am in tune with what my body is telling me:

    First thing in the morning, before I grab my phone, I pull out a yoga mat and/or a meditation cushion, and I spend about 5 minutes focusing on my breath. I take long, slow inhalations all the way down into my belly, and as I exhale, soften my belly. I do about 5 – 10 cycles of this slow, deep breathing. You can either do this sitting on a comfy chair or meditation cushion, or if you are more comfortable, you can lie on your mat in corpse pose, or with your knees bent.With my eyes closed, I tune into the emotions that reside in my gut. Am I nervous, agitated, irritated, exited, joyous or depressed? When I take this time to check in and ask these kinds of questions, I often get surprising answers. Oftentimes I had NO idea that I was nervous or angry about something.I then continue to meditate by either re-focusing  on the gentle rhythm of my breath, my mantra, or a prayer.When I finish my little check-in/meditation session, I often pull out a notebook and journal what I discovered. This helps me to sort things out, and get a little more clear about the right course of action to take (which is often that I just need to let go and trust).

When I become aware of what my gut is trying to tell me, I can tap into my intuition. And, my friends, my intuition has NEVER led me astray.




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Sophie Uliano is New York Times best-selling author and leading expert in the field of natural health and beauty, who takes a down-to-earth approach to beauty focusing on what's truly healthy. Join my masterclass to get started.