Harness the power of your intuition

Intuition helps you to act from instinct, not impulse—a ‘look before you leap’ wisdom that points you to positive energy

Woman setting herself free

As a physician, I combine conventional medicine with intuition to enhance my insights about patients. I also use intuition in every aspect of my life and strive to always trust my gut—in small and large decisions. Intuition is the best friend you will have. I encourage you to develop and trust it too.

Reach back in your experience. See if you can’t remember a special time when you listened, really listened, to what seemed invisible, yet felt so true. Maybe it was an inner call to enter a career, a sudden inexplicable attraction to the person you were destined to marry, or simply a strong impulse to contact a good friend you haven’t seen for years. That indisputable sense of rightness is an echo of the code I’m speaking of. You deserve such certainty about all decisions.

As an intuitive psychiatrist, I worship my high octane intuitions—I owe the blessing of becoming a physician to one. However, at 20, when an unwavering inner voice told me I was going to medical school, it was the last thing I thought I wanted. Yes, I was the only child of two physician-parents with 25 physicians in my family from cancer researchers to gynaecologists, a lineage I seemed ordained to join. But I’d never liked science and would get bored around my parents’ doctor friends. At the time I was a hippie, living in an old converted brick Laundromat with my muralist-boyfriend in Venice Beach. I worked in the May Company’s towel department. Still, as my intuition sank in, it gave me tremendous energy. So, dubiously, I enrolled in one course in a junior college just to see. One course became two, became… 14 years of medical training—a trek that would’ve pushed Indiana Jones’s wiles to their edge. But my intuition had staying power, as it provided all the oomph needed to propel me to my calling.

Intuition saves Laura’s life

Similarly blessed, my patient Laura literally owes her life to an intuition about energy. A math teacher with vigour, at 45 she began experiencing a terrible pounding in her ear, diagnosed by a top neurologist as routine migraines. Despite his reassurance, she kept feeling “an energy like a train roaring through her body, screaming something was wrong.” As I heard the dire immediacy of this intuitive warning, I convulsed with chills. I was very afraid for Laura—she had to act. At my urging, Laura sought a second opinion.

I’m all for protesting when something doesn’t feel right. It’s foolish, even reckless, to ignore such energy signals. An angiogram was ordered; dangerous blockages in her cerebral arteries were found. This new doctor told her: “The good news is that you didn’t have a stroke or die. The bad news is you have fibromuscular dysplasia. You’ll need surgery to keep your arteries from collapsing.” Arteries collapsing? Of course Laura was terrified, but she was also relieved to have a possible solution. Then, the medical machinery kicked into high gear. Laura’s emergency brain surgery both cured her symptoms and saved her life. For a year, her angiograms have been fine. Now, Laura listens to her intuitions like they were her friends. She and her doctor agree: doubting it would have proven lethal.

When you deviate even a nano-fraction from your inner voice, energy wanes, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming out

How your intuition can be your guide

In my energy psychiatry practice, I advocate a ‘take no prisoners’ style of intuition. This gut-centred voice committed to your happiness, health, and survival, is, with practice, accessible to everyone. I want you to start listening. Really listening. I guarantee you’ll start making smarter choices. Why? You’ll be operating from a spot inside that’s juicy, core-felt, and authentic—not from an impulse to conform or disown your strength. You won’t be seduced by what may look good but betrays your gut. Intuition is a truth detector. When you deviate even a nano-fraction from your inner voice, energy wanes, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming out. The more ferociously faithful you are to this truth, the more energised you’ll be.

Intuition offers a direct line to your life-force, and also—as I experience it—to a divine intelligence. It’s the language of energy. You need to speak it to thrive, though our techno-crazed society doesn’t recognise this essential fact. At best it equates intuition with a woman’s trait [try telling that to Native American male shamans!] At worst, it’s a magic trick or fluff. No surprise then that there’s an epidemic of worn down, confused people out there.

Your intuition is like an inner compass

We can’t afford to remain deaf to intuition’s messages. Its expertise is energy; its job is to know every nuance of what makes you tick. A master at reading vibes, intuition is constantly tallying: what gives positive energy, what dissipates it. Who you meet, where you go, your job, your family, current events, are all evaluated—crucial data that you can learn to interpret and apply.

Man listening to himself
You can’t afford to remain deaf to intuition’s messages. It’s your inner compass

Intuition is energy and one aspect of this energy is the law of attraction: that mysterious, seemingly elusive magnetism between us. It masterminds love, friendship, work, and the chemistry of shared ventures. The opposite of attraction is repulsion or aversion, the force that pushes away. In Energy Psychiatry I’ve been voraciously curious to nail down the forces that bring goodness, love, and vigour into our lives. Though attraction is often paired with appearance, IQ, bank account, or charm, these aren’t enough to summon such blessings. Doing so depends on realising that you don’t just want attention; you want the right kind. The level of attraction I’m referring to has to do with life essences jibbing—a by-product of both karma and smarts. You can’t completely control it, but you can modify your vibes to maximise possibilities.

Zooming in on the key elements of attraction

There’s you: what you give off. There’s the other person: what they give off. And there’s a situation, such as a project or job, which has an energy field it generates too. The object is to cohere all the elements. This law crystallises who you’re attracted to and why you don’t sleepwalk through relationships. They’re tricky and can be a big blur even when your eyes are open. So, like many of us, you bumble around, not knowing how not to—a set up for confusion and suffering. Intuition de-hazes vision, and steers you to the right target. Here’s a formula from my book Positive Energy to help you get started. First, listen to your body: there are positive and negative intuitions about relationships, which highlight compatible matches. Second, act on this information, which is often the hardest part. Let me walk you through the process.

Recognise your body’s intuitions about vibes

A people-skill most of our parents didn’t know or teach us is intuitively reading vibes. We’ve learned to draw conclusions from surface data: how nice someone seems, looks, their education, or if a situation adds up on paper. But attraction goes deeper; to make it work for you, other ingredients must be considered… such as what positive vibes feel like—for instance a sense of heart, compassion, and nurturing. In contrast, negative people project prickly, draining vibes that put you on guard. Now, I want you to become even more definite about a positive person’s energetic gestalt, and how you react to it, though our preferences may differ. Then you won’t get baffled if someone sends a mish-mash of signals.

Man bling folded

We’ve learned to draw conclusions from surface data: how nice someone seems, looks, their education

Here is a general guideline of body-based intuitions. Use this checklist at a first meeting, to troubleshoot problems if you’re already involved, or to weigh ‘opportunities.’ Also, feel free to add to it. Being an intuitive, I know that a signature energy always accompanies situations or people. Remember the Lil’ Abner jinxed cartoon character who always had a black cloud hanging over his head? Not a vibe that bodes well for auspicious outcomes. Instead, learn to gravitate towards brightness, a positive intuition your body’s responses will affirm. When tuning into vibes, take a few quiet moments to go into sensing mode, not intellectual analysis. Look for these signs to determine attraction.

Positive intuitions about relationships or situations

  • a feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness; you may sense you’ve known the person before, as with the experience of déjà-vu
  • you breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm
  • you find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance
  • your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energised, expansive, or alive
  • you’re at ease with a person’s touch whether a hand shake, hug, or during intimacy.

Negative intuitions about relationships or situations

  • a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or increased stomach acid, which may prompt an unpalatable déjà-vu
  • your skin starts crawling, you’re jumpy, instinctively withdraw if touched
  • shoulder muscles are in knots, chest area or throat constricts; you notice aggravated aches or pains
  • the hair on the back of your neck creepily stands on end
  • a sense of malaise, darkness, pressure, agitation, or being drained

These criteria provide a no-nonsense appraisal of your body’s comfort zone. [The more positive intuitions, the better—even one can be definitive—but nagging negatives often mean “watch-out!”] They’ll lead you to friends, lovers, and work milieus with excellent vibes. Plus, you’ll know when to cool it or exit in the face of blatant warnings. However, what may obscure the picture is intense sexual attraction. If so, go slow until you get a keener intuitive read, particularly whether your gut feels safe with a potential partner.

Anxiety can also cause crossed signals. Whenever you can’t separate the jitters about first meeting someone from ‘beware’ messages that your body sends, you may want to give the relationship some time. Meanwhile, breathe and keep centring yourself. Also, when others are nervous, their vibes may come off as squirrelly. Typically though, as you get to know them, early jitters [yours or theirs] dissipate, but your body’s pro or con instincts persist. Before making any conclusive moves, these distinctions must be addressed.

My patient Alison, at 40, was consistently attracted to the wrong men and wrong jobs. But being deserted by her boyfriend after a miscarriage was “the kick in the head” that brought Alison in. She said, “I’ve always looked to others for what I ‘should’ be doing—how I behaved, dressed, who I dated or became friends with. I kept changing careers based on what people deemed right for me. I never asked myself what I wanted.”

As part of Energy Psychiatry, I taught Alison this law of attraction, which necessitated defining her intuitive needs. To keep Alison on track, I served as a kind of drill sergeant—gentle but firm. When she’d meet a man or interview for a job I’d ask, “What does your body say about the vibes?” Each time, I’d instruct her to go though the positive and negative intuition checklist. “Write them in your journal; bring them in. We’ll review the results together.” My job was to help Alison trust her vibes. As with everyone, she doubted herself, got scattered, forgot to tune in, talked herself out of what she did sense. But, from experience I know there’s always a moment of critical mass when intuition creates magnificent outcomes. Once Alison risked acting on her body’s signals, her choices became aligned with what she really wanted. Now, she’s pursuing a career as a freelance illustrator, which is fun for her, and is beginning to spot and attract caring, compatible men.

When evaluating the intuitive checklist, pay particular attention to the experience of déjà-vu

The role of déjà vu

It is important to know your body’s reactions to vibes, so you can better gauge where you’re drawn. When evaluating the intuitive checklist, pay particular attention to the experience of déjà-vu. It’s the cellular memory of having known a new person at some other time or place. To meet is not an introduction, but a reunion [The sense of inexplicable kinship differentiates déjà-vu from sizzling physical chemistry, though both have juice]. Déjà-vu may be positive or negative, sudden or slow, will be more significant with some people than others. Always, however, it’s telling you to ‘stay aware,’ perhaps to complete what’s not yet finished. Whether instances of déjà-vu are explained by a premonition or a past life recollection, they’ll draw you toward mystical alliances.

Man helping woman in her things fallen down
It is important to know your body’s reactions to vibes, so you can better gauge where you’re drawn

Many of my closest relationships have begun with déjà-vu. During the first few minutes with a person, there is a special attraction. It isn’t that I associate them with someone else or that their traits are simply appealing. Rather, my body and soul relate to them not as strangers, but spirits with whom I have an earned trust and shared history. With others, the timelessness of this rapport is missing.

Reflect on your relationships. Have you ever been chatting with a woman you just met at a business meeting and suddenly it strikes you, “Ah-ha. Here’s an old friend I feel I’ve known all my life.” It’s obvious: You’re both just resuming where you left off. Other déjà-vus are protective. In possibly dicey situations, they caution you to halt, separate friend from foe. The instant a screen writer patient of mine, who’s facile in the tools of Energy Psychiatry, walked into a meeting to sell a project, he cringed. One look at the prospective buyer, whom he’d never even spoken to before, and every cell screamed, “I know him. Get us out of here!” Fortunately, my patient knew to trust his intuition. Soon after, this man was indicted for fraud. Either heralding a good omen, or veering you away from harm, déjà-vu is your body’s way of taking care of you.

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Intuition helps you to act from instinct, not impulse—a ‘look before you leap’ wisdom that points you to positive energy. When it comes to who you love, where you work, or any important decision, the last thing you want to be is vague. Tuning in keeps you specific. Practise the next exercise to get this down.

Intuition helps you to act from instinct, not impulse—a ‘look before you leap’ wisdom that points you to positive energy

Learn how to pin down and act on your vibes

Now you’re going to tune in, trust your body, and make choices based on the vibes you sense.

Tune in: Choose a relationship or situation that needs clarification about whether or not to go forward. Perhaps a friendship, vacation or move. Begin with an easier target before you take on higher stakes. Run it by this section’s criteria for positive and negative intuitions—or others you find reliable. It’s helpful to make a ‘top five’ list of the most killer indicators of positive attraction. For one of my patients, it includes feeling energised and safe. Another must register an increased aliveness and peaceful sense. Write your top five in a journal so they don’t get hazy. See how they add up here.

Act on vibes: This is where we must be warriors. I know personally and from patients, how much easier it is to tune into, than to act on vibes. Insecurity, ego, lust, stubbornness can obscure better judgment. Sometimes it takes succumbing to them all to realise you won’t tolerate such battering again. But if you don’t have to take such a bumpy route, try these options. If the vibes feel overall positive, go for it; explore possibilities. If the vibes are mixed or you’re unsure, take a pass or at least wait. If there’s just negative, have the courage to walk away, no matter how tempting the option seems. Then observe how listening to energy in this way leads you to the juiciest opportunities.

Now scan the friendships you’ve attracted. Identify a person you really click with. Take a break from the hustle and bustle to get together, or, at minimum, talk on the phone. Make this interlude an unabashed love fest. Really groove on each other; be quick to praise. Appreciate your amazing self, and this amazing person: a miraculous coming together of friends.

QUIZ: Do you trust your inner voice?

We are the keepers of our own healing. We are the keepers of an intuitive intelligence so powerful it can tell us how to heal. The time has come for each of us to claim it again. Never forget: It is your right to heal. It is your right to look inside yourself for the answers.

I’m defining intuition as a potent form of inner wisdom, not mediated by the intellect. Accessible to us all, it’s a still, small voice inside—an unflinching ‘truth teller’ committed to our wellbeing. You may experience intuition as a gut feeling, hunch, a physical sensation, a snapshot-like flash, or a dream. Always a friend, it keeps a watchful eye on our bodies, letting us know if something is out of synch.

Even if you feel out of touch with it now, you can find it again. To help you determine how much you listen to your inner voice, I’ve created this quiz from my book Guide to Intuitive Healing: 5 Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness. Score yourself on how often or seldom you listen to your intuition.

Scoring—for every “yes”, give yourself 2; if your response is “sometimes”, give yourself 1; if it is “never”, give yourself 0. Now add up your total and read “How to interpret this quiz” below.

Do you believe your inner voice gives you good advice?

Will you get a second opinion if your doctor doesn’t offer a diagnosis or treatment that intuitively feels right?

Do you pay attention to your body’s early warning signs such as fatigue or unexplainable symptoms to take care of your health?

If you’re looking for a job, and happen to sit next to a woman on a plane who can help, do you act on the synchronicity and pursue this?

Do you ‘listen’ to the goosebumps as a sign to go ahead when you’re making a decision about a project or career move?

If you’re looking for work, do you check in with your intuition for guidance?

Do you pay attention to people’s body language when you meet them?

Do you listen to your body’s signals and stay away from people who drain you?

If you’re crossing your arms and moving away from someone at a party, do you listen to the discomfort your body language is communicating?

If you get a sudden flash that your child is sick or in trouble, will you follow up and call the school to find out?

When arguing with your partner, do you take a breath and tune into your intuition about how to reach him or her before saying something you’ll regret?

If all your friends are saying “this guy/girl is great for you” but your intuition says he/she isn’t right can you trust yourself?

Do you listen to intuitive messages in dreams?

Do you listen to your “ah-ha” feelings even if they don’t fit your picture of how things should be?

Are you spontaneous rather than having to plan everything?

How to interpret this quiz

To calculate your ability to listen to your inner voice score, total the numbers corresponding to your responses.

  • A score of 20 – 30 suggests that you have a considerable aptitude to trust your intuition
  • A score of 10 –19 suggests a moderate level
  • A score of 9 or below suggests a beginning level
  • A zero score indicates that you don’t regularly listen to your intuition yet, but the good news is that you can begin now to tap into this empowering resource!

Whatever your score, this quiz will help you develop and listen to your inner voice. You’ll identify your strengths and areas you’d like to improve. Developing intuition is an exciting process. Realise that we all have a way to go. The more you listen to your intuition, the more it will improve.

A version of this was first published in the July 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Judith Orloff
Dr Judith Orloff MD is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom and the bestseller Positive Energy. Her other books are Second Sight and Intuitive Healing. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. Dr Orloff synthesises the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness.


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