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
You have an important decision to make. You’ve done research, made a list of the pros and cons, asked friends and family for advice.
When should you just trust your gut?
Scientists, authors and motivational speakers (plus plenty of moms) have long touted the power of intuition—our mind’s ability to understand something without the need for conscious reasoning. Think of all the recommendations you’ve heard: “Put the problem away and come back to it later.” “Intuition doesn’t lie.” “Sleep on it.”
Many studies support this advice, showing that the decisions we make unconsciously before our rational mind can get involved, are often better.
But not always.
John Bargh, a psychology professor at Yale and director of the ACME (Automaticity in Cognition, Motivation, and Evaluation) Laboratory, has a book coming out this month: “Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do.”
Dr. Bargh says that our gut is better at helping us sort out some things, such as whether we are in immediate danger. It can help us quickly identify our preferences. And it’s good at helping us make complex decisions—say, buying a car—when the amount of information and choices can be overwhelming.
When should you trust your gut?
Consult your gut for complex decisions.
Make a list and set it aside
Using unconscious and conscious thought to make a decision is often best. And conscious thought should come first. An excellent way to do this is to make a list of the benefits and drawbacks of each choice you could make.
If the stakes are high, try to think rationally
Pay attention to your state of mind
Remember that strong emotions can change your intuition.
What you put in your gut makes a difference. Refined foods can damage the microbiome in your gut, and this harms the gut’s connections to the brain.
Here is the link to the complete article:
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