If your intuition isn’t highly developed, you may doubt your feelings most of the time. There can be many ‘voices’ inside your head, making it extra challenging to know which one to listen to and when to follow your intuition.
However, following your intuition is a decision, which is hard to make when there’s anxiety thrown into the mix. So, how do you know if your intuition is telling you something or if it’s just your anxiety jumping in and causing fear?
Let’s look at the differences between your gut feelings and anxiety:
Differences Between Anxiety and Intuition
One of the differences between anxiety and intuition is how they come to you.
Your gut feeling can feel as though it comes out of nowhere. Anxiety, meanwhile, tends to build in intensity in response to being scared of a perceived threat. That ‘threat’ may be real or imagined. Both gut feelings and anxiety can prevent you from taking risks because you’re afraid of getting hurt.
Therefore, when you are trying to discern whether your gut feeling is telling you something or whether it is your anxiety causing you concern, think about where this feeling could have come from. Remember to be careful here, because overly believing your cause for anxiety, can cause your fears to become your reality. As objectively as possible, try to determine if your level of anxiety is proportionate to the perceived risk.
Intuition Can Be Pleasant, Anxiety is Unpleasant
The biggest distinction between your gut feeling and anxiety is how they make you feel. Intuition provides various ‘feelings’, which can often be pleasant, whereas, anxiety always makes you feel stressed and uncomfortable.
Anxiety also comes with negative physical symptoms. You may experience unpleasant feelings like sweating, stomach pains, and difficulty breathing. It’s like you want to hide and escape so that you don’t have to deal with the potential harm or negative consequences.
If it’s intuition, your gut feeling helps you heed the warning, but you feel able enough to deal with what could happen even if it’s negative. So, you can usually tell if it’s a gut feeling or anxiety when you pay attention to your body. If you feel good or at least empowered, that’s more likely your intuition at play.
Intuition is About The Now, Anxiety is About The Future
Intuition comes out of nowhere and is more about a fleeting moment that’s focused on the right here and now. Anxiety is focused on the future, where you fear the things that could or might happen. It’s like you are predicting what might happen but in a negative way.
Intuition Comes Instantly, Anxiety Builds Up Over Time
Your gut feeling comes to you instantly, without much thinking needed. You just get the idea or thought and feel quite sure about it without logical reasons. On the other hand, anxiety is something that builds up over time. It’s the worrying over pieces of information that may be conflicting.
They make you over-analyze to a point of nervousness and dread. So, if the feeling comes to you suddenly, it’s more often intuition. If it gradually happens to you, it’s more likely anxiety.
Intuition is Based on Experience, Anxiety is Imagination
You might not be able to explain logically either intuition or anxiety, but your intuition is usually based on your experiences.
You may not realize it, but your gut feeling tells you something because you might have experienced something similar before. There is a pattern that your subconscious mind and body recognize.
Since anxiety is focusing on what you think might happen in the future, it’s all imagination. You don’t have evidence and you’re not sure it will happen, but you worry about it anyway. If you’re constantly worried about something, that’s probably your anxiety.
The best way you can tell if your gut feeling is telling you something or if you are just anxious is by paying attention to your feelings, emotionally and physically.
Again, intuition feels good while anxiety doesn’t. Intuition is reassuring, especially if you are attuned to your feelings, while anxiety makes you worry excessively.
If you are torn between the two, give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and allow your feelings to settle down. Then, you can observe your thoughts better and untangle your anxiety from your intuition. Objectivity is your go-to tool here.
When you get more in tune with your body and you can tell whether it’s intuition or anxiety, you’ll understand yourself and your fears better. When you learn to distinguish intuition from anxiety, you’ll know when you should follow your intuition when making decisions, or ignore your anxiety and breathe.