Is it Gut Instinct Or Fear? Gut Instincts You Should Never Ignore

As humans, we are born with ‘feels’ that instinctually help us survive and thrive. That deep twinge that you sense in the pit of your gut is primal wisdom that prompts you to take notice and action.

What Are Gut Instincts?

Your gut instinct is a basic survival skill that effectively warns you of impending danger and alerts you to differentiate between negative and positive situations. Unfortunately, it can even cause you to experience a physical reaction when you’re around toxic people.

Imagine the scene: You’re walking home alone late at night when you sense that someone is lurking in the shadows…

Your primal instinct will trigger the amygdala (collection of cells at the base of the brain) to send a distress signal to the brain’s hypothalamus region, which activates the sympathetic nervous system (that control’s the body’s rapid involuntary responses). At the same time, your heart rate increases to pump more blood to your brain and muscles, and adrenaline courses through your body.

Unlike intuition – calm, clear sensing, and cerebral – gut instincts are physical, visceral, and emotionally reactive. They can feel as subtle as a flutter or a tingle or as striking as a sucker punch.

Gut instincts are based on a rapid appraisal of a situation that doesn’t involve analytical reasoning. So even though you may not be fully aware of what’s going on around you, your second brain is busy making comparisons with memories of past situations.

This immediate understanding triggers the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the body, creating a powerful primal response to keep you safe. Those brief, emotionally charged, and subconsciously perceived ‘feels’ can also help you make better decisions.

If you have a strong physical reaction (like a sinking feeling in your stomach) to something that you dislike, it’s a sign that your primal instincts are switched on. By paying attention to the spontaneous signals, you’ll know when to take prompt action.

Gut Feeling Or Overthinking?

Not sure if you’re overly sensitive or if that feeling is a deeply instinctual hunch? Consider where the awareness sits in your body. Is it a gut feeling or insecurity?

If you’re all up in your head, you’re likely to be overthinking and using logic to understand what’s going on.

If you’re a sensitive soul, a harsh comment may ring alarm bells and cause you to be watchful of other behaviors that support your beliefs.

The niggling feeling that won’t go away is your gut telling you to take action RIGHT NOW.

Physical Danger

If your gut instincts deliver a sudden feeling of dread or fear, pay attention, as it could be a warning of imminent danger! Is your gut instinct real?

It’s your gut instinct’s job to protect you from harm and warn you to fight or take flight. NEVER ignore a feeling that is telling you something is wrong. Instead, listen to your gut, and take steps to quickly remove yourself from the situation or proximity to someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.

Your gut instincts reflect the potential dangers that your subconscious mind already knows about. In extreme circumstances, your decision to ignore your gut feeling could result in a life-threatening experience.

Your gut instinct may have sent your spine tingles to alert you to danger. Perhaps you witnessed someone calmly talking to a child, without having any facial expression, but with a glance that was predatory in nature?

If you failed to act on your gut and later discovered that the child was abused, you would rightly kick yourself not to trust your primitive powers and step in.

Negative Energy

Your gut instinct has the uncanny ability to decipher positive and negative energy. It also knows when you’re keeping bad company.

Your sixth sense may cause you to have a knee-jerk reaction to someone, even though the reason may not be physically apparent to you. When something feels ‘off’ about a person, you probably have an unfavorable first impression. While the feeling may not necessarily be a warning of anything dangerous, it could be a sign of toxicity.

Your survival instinct is hardwired to form predisposed associations between certain stimuli and responses. The concept of biological preparedness is that people and animals are conditioned to respond in a particular way due to the evolution of survival mechanisms. For example, objects of common phobias that pose a safety or wellbeing threat (like spiders, snakes, and dangerous heights) generate an automatic survival response to minimize potential danger.

Something that isn’t seen as an obvious ‘in your face threat’ – like the insincere smile of someone who doesn’t have your best interests – can cause you to experience a reaction you don’t find easy to explain.

We’re all born with intuitive skills that alert us when it’s time to pay extra attention. Unfortunately, these subtle gut twinges are often triggered when you’re around other people. Negative and toxic folk (with low energy) love nothing better than leeching your plentiful supply of positive energy so that they can feel better about themselves.

As your visceral instincts are not responsible for forming opinions of someone, it’s best to detach yourself from anyone who puts you down, tries to manipulate or control you, or puts demands on your time.

Sense Of Knowing/Premonition

If you suddenly find yourself being vigilant, your gut instinct may be giving you the heads up on how things could potentially unfold. This sense of knowing is your conscious brain’s way of recognizing that something is either good for you or isn’t working out to your benefit.

Hyper-vigilance that is finely tuned may even give you a premonition about how things will pan out with someone in a specific situation. So it’s not wise to ignore these gut-centric sensations, especially when you’re about to make big life decisions like accepting a job offer, buying a house, or getting romantically involved.

When someone asks you out on a hot date, your ‘feels’ will confirm that it’s safe to engage in reciprocal communication or warn you that the person has an unsettling predatory quality.

Your gut can help you decide if a new job is right for you in a career scenario. If a knot of dread forms in the pit of your stomach, when you consider the offer, it’s crucial that you pay attention and widen your job search. The job that feels ‘right’ doesn’t come with a warning.

If you have decisions to make, run the options by your primal wisdom and pay attention to what it tells you. Then, only take action when you have a sense of inner peace or a feeling of absolute euphoria.

An Inner Word Of Warning

Sometimes your gut instinct has to resort to issuing an inner word of warning, as the feelings of nausea or physical uneasiness that it typically uses to grab your attention are not working. Is it gut instinct or fear? If you ignore red flags because you don’t trust your own judgment, you may suddenly hear a voice in your head whispering urgent words of caution.

The Eureka Moment

Besides being an essential survival skill that helps you get out of negative situations, your gut instinct level also preps you to take action in positive ways. It can send tingles up your spine or give you full-body chills or goosebumps of excited anticipation. These feel-good vibes can also manifest as a strong urge to do something at the right time.

When you suddenly feel sure that you know what to do, your gut will back it up with a spark of inspiration and a deeply satisfying eureka moment. So it’s time to trust your gut and yourself. Don’t be afraid to leap of faith because you’ve got this!

That eureka moment is the uplifting feeling you get when you’re offered something that aligns with your true core self. It could be a job working for a company that shares your values and vision or a proposal from someone who has a similar outlook on life. At that moment, everything seamlessly ‘clicks’ into place because your gut instinct knows that it’s aligned with your core values.