Orlando Counselor Providing Trauma, Anxiety, and Relationship Therapy
Have you ever asked yourself, “Is this fear or my intuition telling me not to do this?” “Is my gut telling me ‘no’ or is my fear holding me back?” About 10 years ago, while I was working through my own anxiety, I asked my counselor a similar question… “How can I tell the difference between my fear and my intuition?”
She paused for a moment. In her silence, my anticipation was building. I had been bound by fear and anxiety for so long. Knowing the difference between self-limiting fear and an intuitive hunch would be like finding my own personal Holy Grail. I eagerly and with great suspense awaited her response. She said with a kind and gentle voice, “That is your work, Lauran, to discover this for yourself.” My insides deflated like a popped balloon. “Seriously”, I thought to myself, “Can’t you just tell me?”
The studious client that I was, set out to find the answer. I journaled, meditated, and read inspirational books to help me find the answer. I agonized over decisions, asking myself, “Is this intuition or is it just my regular old anxiety getting in my way again?” Eventually, that question fell to the back burner and wasn’t in the forefront of my mind anymore. I consciously stopped the search, and of course, over time, I organically found my answer.
As an anxiety and trauma counselor in Orlando, I hear this question or a similar rendition of it in my office all the time. “How can I tell if this my anxiety or if this my gut guiding me here?” Just like my anxiety counselor said to me years ago, This is your path. Learning to trust that part of yourself is your journey. I can’t locate your personal Holy Grail, but I can offer some guideposts to learning how to get your own answers.
Inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of 10. Do this five times. Extra long exhales, tells the brain’s fear response to “stand down” so that your brain and body can settle.
Ask yourself, “Am I in my head?”
Anxious thoughts show up in as overthinking. If you’re ruminating, you are in fear, and not in an intuitive place. If you notice you are in your head, say to yourself, “This is likely fear talking” and come back to the decision later.
Know your fear pattern.
Fear patterns are very personal and specific to each individual. Some people have a fear pattern of staying too long in a job or relationship, because they are afraid of leaving. Others have a fear pattern of jumping around from one thing to the next. Yet others have a fear pattern of blaming and not taking responsibility for their part of the disturbances in their life. Exploring your fear pattern requires an honest appraisal of your life and being willing see where fear patterns have held you back.
Challenge your fear pattern.
After you have taken an honest inventory of your fear pattern, be willing to challenge it by doing something different. If you have a pattern of holding on to things, try letting things go. Not only will this create a shift in your life, it will allow you to get to know the edges of the fear and anxiety that have held you back. For me, there is a frantic, anxious, and controlling edge when I am being guided by fear. My body clenches and I am on high alert.
Intimately know your limiting beliefs.
Be aware of when you are making decisions based off of them or reacting to them. I know I have stumbled into fear when there is an undercurrent of “I am not good enough” or “I don’t deserve”.
Explore for expansiveness.
When you are making decisions that challenge your limiting beliefs, find the part of you that is nudging you toward the bigger and the better, and spend time cultivating this expansive energy. Whether it’s writing, vision boarding, or dreaming big with your partner, don’t be afraid to play in this creative and expansive place.
Know the trifecta of your mind, body, and emotions.
Know the trifecta when it’s anxious and know it when it is calm. Intuition is calm and fear is frantic. When I am being guided by fear, there is a frantic, anxious, and controlling edge. My body clenches, my mind is racing with fear based thoughts, I feel anxious and I am on high alert. When I am calm, my body is settled, my thoughts are steady, and I feel open and aware.
It is not uncommon for people working through anxiety to come to a place where they are ready to let go of fear-based thinking and decision-making. This isn’t an easy step. It’s an act of courage and a leap of faith to trust your wise intuitive self.
In my next blog post I will share 7 more tips for trusting your intuition. For now, let’s keep this conversation going. What are ways you have learned to tune into and trust your intuition?
Lauran is an anxiety and trauma therapist providing counseling in Orlando, FL. She also specializes in helping people heal old broken relationship patterns that keep them from finding, creating, and keeping healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. Lauran uses a down to earth approach infused with cutting-edge therapies that go beyond traditional talking to help clients feel calm in their body and mind and find peace within themselves.