Trust your gut instincts

In his bestseller, The Gift of Fear, now a classic, Gavin de Becker tells us that victims of violent behavior usually feel a sense of fear before any threat or violence takes place, but too many ignore that sense. De Becker’s counsel:

Trust your instinct.

But too many choose not to heed that inner voice, which theologians maintain is the voice of our Guardian Angel.
Angels are masters of intuition because, being bodiless pure spirits, they do not learn the way humans do. We learn through our senses, incrementally, over time. Angels, however, receive their knowledge when they were created by God. Angelic knowledge, therefore, is intuitive. And so, when you have a “gut instinct” — a flash of intuition — it’s probably your Guardian Angel communicating with you.
Guardian AngelNow science has confirmed the wisdom of our intuition — a 1997 study by a team of University of Iowa and Salk Institute neurologists (Antoine Bechara, Hanna Damasio, Daniel Tranel and Antonio R. Damasio), the results of which were published as “Deciding Advantageously Before Knowing the Advantageous Strategy” in the journal Science, February 8, 1997. (For the PDF of the article, click here.)
The neurologists hypothesized that in decision-making about a complex situation, our intuition (“a nonconscious biasing step”) precedes “overt reasoning.” Note the jargons:

  • “Overt reasoning” is deliberation that is conscious and fact-based.
  • “Nonconscious bias” is intuitive knowledge that uses neural systems other than those used in “overt reasoning”.

To test their hypothesis, two groups of subjects were asked to perform a gambling task: A group of “normal,” i.e., unbrain-damaged subjects and a group of patients with damage to their prefrontal cortex and resultant defects in decision-making.
The study found that:

  • The “normal” group made the right decision even before their conscious deliberation: “Normals began to choose advantageously before they realized which strategy worked best, whereas prefrontal patients continued to choose disadvantageously even after they knew the correct strategy.”
  • “Normals” intuitively sensed risk or danger: “normals began to generate anticipatory skin conductance responses (SCRs) whenever they pondered a choice that turned out to be risky, before they knew explicitly that it was a risky choice, whereas patients never developed anticipatory SCRs, although some eventually realized which choices were risky.”

The study’s conclusion is that:

  1. Our intuition or instincts (“nonconscious biases”) guide our behavior before conscious knowledge does.
  2. We need that intuitive knowledge in order to make the right decisions: ” Without the help of such biases, overt knowledge may be insufficient to ensure advantageous behavior.”

Guardian Angel (2)Some advice on how to listen to our intuition/guardian angel:

  • Give yourself mental space to reflect. Spend time alone, even if it’s just a few minutes.
  • If it’s a really important decision, create a larger window before you decide. Tell people “I need to sleep on this, I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  • The “should” reasons we think of usually mean we’re not listening to our guts.
  • Tune in to how your body feels.
  • If it’s the right decision, you’ll be at peace about it.

~Eowyn

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SuzySherSteven Broilesupaces88MomOfIV Recent comment authors
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Joanne Rosemarie
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Joanne Rosemarie

Thanks for a brilliant article. If I get a chance I’m going to hunt for the study on my university library website, I’m lucky to be able to read these journals for free while I’m still a student as I will finish in four months. It can’t come soon enough, though, often times there are no real answers in Psychology. Thank God that there are in the Good Book!

Helene Pineau
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Helene Pineau

Your article is spot on. I can recall a specific incident when I should have listened to that inner voice. I was grocery shopping and needed a bag of milk (I live in Canada where you can purchase litre-bags of milk). As I reached for a bag on the shelf I had the strongest feeling not to take that particular bag and even hesitated. But my ‘reason’ told me to take it anyway and I brushed away the little voice. Well when I got to the cash and placed the bag on the counter, there was a pool of milk… Read more »

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TrailDust
Admin

Thanks for the reminder, Dr. Eowyn. I often tell my loved ones to turn on their situational awareness when in certain places. But this article is a good support for the understanding that situational awareness needs to include your “gut instinct.”

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

What a wonderful “radar” Our God sent with us when coming to Earth. If we just listen, we can keep ourselves from danger and harm. Dr Eowyn, you have chosen an excellent topic for this article. It is of value to each and everyone of us. Thank You.

Dan
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Dan

The Gift of Fear is a book every woman should read and make getting the hell away as fast as she can from every encounter with a strange man in an isolated location as instinctive as she would running from a nude man with a knife in his hand in an isolated parking lot, out walking or jogging, in an elevator, and the like. No exceptions since, as the book shows, homicidal, psychopathic rapists are nothing if not brilliant in their strategies to overcome a woman’s natural wariness.

MomOfIV
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MomOfIV

“If it’s the right decision, you’ll be at peace about it.”
Amen Dr. Eowyn!
wonderful post and The Gift of Fear is an excellent book

upaces88
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upaces88

I have told this true story many times. My daughter called me from College to tell me she would be coming home for the week-end. She wanted me to make her favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. My Lord! I didn’t have any sugar and ran across the street to borrow a cup. I may(?) have been gone from the house 5 minutes. I baked the cookies and went to bed. I was in a deep sleep UNTIL I heard this VOICE coming from the corner of my room, “ELAINE!! WAKE UP!!” My eyes flew open. There was a figure standing over… Read more »

Steven Broiles
Member

Thank You, Dr. Eowyn, for this invaluable post. As a child, I was often told I had a great memory and a great vocabulary. I was also told that “children should be seen and not heard.” This is not to blame either my late parents (whom I believe are actual saints right now) nor my teachers (some of whom I also believe are saints), but I was both protected and suppressed by a number of people. Looking back on it all, my training—not primarily from home, to be sure, but from the other kids and adults on the block, the… Read more »

Sher
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Sher

My “go-to” priest and exorcist, Rev. Fr. Ripperger has a recorded talk on Guardian Angels on the Sensus Fidelium you tube channel. I’m not on my computer now so can’t post the link but, as I remember, he also said that our angel’s superior intellect can “read” us and so can immediately figure out what action we plan to take, rather than Angels “knowing” the future. He adds that we also seem to have an assigned personal fallen angel or demon who, likewise knows our weaknesses and who can tempt us through our imagination. Father strongly recommends custody of one’s… Read more »

Steven Broiles
Member

I’ve listened to Fr. Ripperger, and he’s an incredibly good man and good priest. He did author a seminal work on a college psychology textbook back around 1970 that is still used today.

Suzy
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Suzy

https://aleteia.org/2016/06/03/pope-francis-vs-francis-underwood/
Sher, in this article Fr. Longenecker talks about how he watches the HBO series House of Cards. I asked him how a devout Catholic could watch such a show, but he did not answer me. Here is my question to him: Fr Longenecker, Is it acceptable for a devout Catholic to watch these kinds of shows? I thought we were supposed to steer away from them because of “The violence, illicit sexual encounters and corruption…”. Please advise, thanks.

Sher
Guest
Sher

Here is the link to the video by Fr. Ripperger on Guardian Angles
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HROH926Ln-A

MomOfIV
Guest
MomOfIV

A good story of someone using her gut instinct…
“ALERT: If You Spot Rubber Band On Your Door, You Need To Take Action IMMEDIATELY”
https://thoughtfulwomen.org/2016/05/20/alert-if-you-spot-rubber-band-on-your-door-you-need-to-take-action-immediately/