A simple technique to improve your Gut brain. Yes, you have one!
Do you listen to your gut brain?
Know what it sounds like? – Try this simple practice
A few years ago, I was at this job and I remember creating some content for a presentation and suddenly I had this weird feeling as if I wanted to run. There was a voice within that kept screaming – ‘Danger’! I thought it wasn’t anything worth paying attention to because I feel anxious easily. But this feeling just wouldn’t leave me. The more I worked the voice became louder and louder. I felt really heavy in my chest and I couldn’t breathe… I quickly ran to the bathroom and as soon as I entered, I started crying. Deep sobs.
I couldn’t understand what went wrong. I calmed myself and asked myself – “What do you need?”
Almost immediately I said to myself, “I need you to leave this sick job, like now!” I ignored it. Yes, my job sucked. There was less of counselling and more of politics. The environment wasn’t just toxic it was sick and filled with paranoia. I knew it wasn’t the kind of job I dreamed of. Far from it. It was a means to an end, just to say I’m working or doing something productive. My mind and body were always in a weird conflict anytime each time I started to get ready for work each morning. It was getting tougher each passing day. My body felt heavy and I would experience these bouts of crying frequently. More than 4/5 times a week (which is not good at all). I started to worry now. I kept getting this feeling that I needed to leave this job, Now! But I kept ignoring this feeling. Naturally assuming that perhaps I’m just nervous and this is a temporary feeling.
One day, I remember going to work but not stepping inside. This heaviness in my chest kept increasing and I remember going to a café, ordering a cappuccino, taking out my journal and writing these words, “I’m done with this place. I don’t like it here and I want to quit. I don’t know what the hell I will do next. How will I earn money but I want to leave!” I felt relaxed ordered another cappuccino, read a book till I finished my coffee, went home.
The next day, I quit! (Didn't blame the coffee)
I know now, this voice that kept asking me to leave my job was my gut or intuition and the more I ignored it the worse things felt.
I’m not a neuroscientist or studied the brain in a scientific fashion but I understand that intuition bridges the gap between our conscious and unconscious brains. What we call sixth sense or gut brain. The reason we use gut brain or intuition interchangeably because studies have now proven that our gut has a brain of its own. Our gut has an entire network of neurotransmitters called the enteric nervous system. So, the sensations of anxiety and panic I experienced was my gut brain telling me to leave this job, Now!
I’ve had similar experiences. A sensation that either gets me all excited (butterflies in my stomach) – which is good or I feel extremely anxious (puke, panic all over) – which is not good.
We all have a gut brain. We are highly intuitive, all of us.
During a session many times I ask my clients to listen to what their gut brains is trying to tell them. It seems silly at first but the more they listen the more they realize how this brain was always there guiding them.
Can you think of instances from your personal and professional life where this gut brain of yours helped you?
Pause, close your eyes, breathe and think. If you can note down these experiences, they always come in handy later on.
Now the most important question arises, how to listen to the gut brain? I’m going to share a simple breathwork practice I use each time I need to listen or understand what my gut brain is trying to tell me. It also helps me in staying focused and prevents me from said, danger.
Step 1 - Sit comfortably on a chair or your bed with your back straight. Close your eyes. Place both 3 fingers from both your hands on the forehead and the pinkie or little finger on your eyelids and close your eyes with your thumbs on either side. Please be very gentle with your eyes and forehead so you don’t cause yourself unnecessary pain. Once you’re comfortable in this position start by deepening your breaths slowly and gently. Since your ears are closed with your thumbs, you’ll be able to listen to your breath easily since it’ll cut off the external sounds.
Step 2 - Then place both your hands on your stomach and lower your chin slowly toward your chest and continue with your deep breathing in the same manner as you did before. (Do this 3 times gently initially and once it becomes easy for you to practice it daily, you can then slowly extend it to 8 to 10 times.)
Pay attention to your gut and your breath both the times. Allow thoughts and feelings to surface. If you feel overwhelmed and feel like crying, allow yourself to cry.