Danger sign

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore That Feeling In Your Gut!

Written by Sherri Lojzer

Apr 25, 2016
We’ve all had it. As a species we are wired for it. You know the knot in your stomach, the feeling in your gut that tells you something is wrong? Its function now is the same as it was 400,000 years ago. This is our brain reading and processing all of the stimuli around us and sending a warning signal. It’s a system that was wired into our brains to react before our prefrontal cortex even has time to do any reasoning and is based on the perceived threat of dangers. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, we were at mortal risk every day so our wiring was designed to give us the best chance of survival. Now clearly our dangers today don’t generally match those of our Neanderthal ancestors but today’s dangers are just as real to us, even if they are in a completely different context. They are of course more socially focused around something occurring in our families, our work place or even our social circles. The triggers still happen regardless of the level of danger we perceive. The fact that this ancient mechanism still exists is an advantage for those who learn to embrace it as a tool for awareness, decision making and critical thinking. This is not the only tool we should use of course, but it certainly can be a significantly effective and vital one for recognizing that something is not right. What we do with that information and how we react to it is where most of us struggle to get the right balance, since our bodies are reacting as if we are still in mortal danger. The first step though is in recognizing when this system kicks in. Once we have learned to trust the instinct that something is wrong, we can learn to develop strategies to balance the actions and reactions to it. So the next time your gut tells you something is wrong, don’t ignore it!

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