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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Can We Really Trust Our Intuition?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 31st 2011

intuitionOver time we have all had many experiences in life that have been taken in like bits of information, digested by our minds and turned into algorithms that the mind uses to perceive this present moment. After a while it just seems like we a get a feeling, an intuition, or a sense of things. However, this isn’t always reliable and we need to know this lest we walk around the world blind.  

Shakespeare’s King Lear:

Lear: You see how this world goes

Gloucester: I see it feelingly

But what produces the feelings? It could be a biological predisposition, but often times it’s a micro-thought beneath the surface of your awareness and the thought may be inaccurate.

Let’s say you’re walking down a street and see a colleague. You wave hi and smile and the colleague just walks on by. You get a feeling that the person is mad at you. But wait is “the person is mad at me” a feeling or a thought? It’s a thought, but we confuse it with a feeling.

The feeling that popped up is fear or worry, but the micro-thought that arose before it was “something is wrong with our relationship.” When in fact, it may just have been that the person was preoccupied and this may have led to a totally different feeling, maybe concern for the other person.

So, while it’s good to have a sense of intuition, it’s also very healthy to question it. Maybe something just happened that put us in a particular mood and this is coloring our “sense or feeling” of things. If we walk around anxious, we’re likely to interpret things from an anxious lens.

At the end of the day, intuition is good to have, but it’s also important to question. Just because we “feel” a certain way does not make it truth.  

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

definitely Intution has some meaning hidden in it.. - sikander - Feb 10th 2012


there is something hidden in intution but we are not enough skilled and learned to get the good from it. As i feel, in this world nothing occur in vain and evryting occur with some meaning. And later or sooner we understand it..

SO research should be carry on and later on everything will be clear.


intuition is neither a thought, nor a's a "knowing" - Sage - Apr 17th 2011

To me intuition is neither a thought, nor a's a "knowing" can not be explained by either. Thinking a colleague is mad at you since he/she did not return your hello is far different than the intuitive hit that tells you that colleague will find a $20 bill on the sidewalk, then you find out he/she did.

intuition or superstition - janet - Apr 3rd 2011

What a great article to bump into today. Last night I was tossing and turning wondering whether my intuition was really intuition or just superstitious thoughts. Just questioning my intuition was liberating but fears strikes when you think that this is dysfunctional, to do-to question your intuition. "So, while it’s good to have a sense of intuition, it’s also very healthy to question it." I actually tried to determine whether my intuition was valid and what it was based upon. I've been taught all of my life to trust my intuition, but what if is just a garble of biased feelings and thoughts based upon my perceived experiences rather than reality? Sorry for any grammatical errors or typos. I'm doing this from a blackberry. Thx for writing this article. Janet

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