One of the biggest fears people have is the fear of being themselves. That’s because they are afraid of what other people might think of them. This exact fear is what leads us to worry about how we are being perceived, it keeps us playing small in an effort to avoid criticism, and prevents us from being authentically who we are.
When you hold back from others who you truly are, the costs are great. Not only does this affect your ability to connect to others in a meaningful way, it can indirectly lead to burnout.
Certainly, there are many reasons why people burn out, but one of them is being stuck in a job you’re out of alignment with or feeling like you don’t jive with the people around you at work.
In this article, I share the connection between intuition and burnout. Specifically, we’ll explore what intuition looks like, how you can tap into it, and how doing so can help you prevent burnout.
Why You Feel Stuck
Think about all the ways you feel stuck in your own mind, where you’re disconnected from your body, and where you’re not able to tune into your intuition.
This stuckness comes from the battle between your ego and your spirit.
If you are dealing with a negative mindset, a critical inner voice, self doubt, feeling not good enough, then you’re in your ego.
When you’re in your ego, you disconnect from your body. You’re living in the past.
The ego’s job is to scan the environment to find anything that is familiar. It looks at things in very much a black and white way: it’s about being “right” or “wrong.”
That’s where we get stuck.
What Intuition Looks Like
Your intuition is not focused on “right” or “wrong.” It’s focused on the truth. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s something you just feel. It’s an inner knowing rather than something you have to contemplate.
Intuition comes when you are open to receiving information regardless of your intended outcomes. Sometimes, you’ll know on a deep level that something isn’t right for you but you push anyway. You don’t really want to know the truth. You want to plow ahead with wishful thinking.
But how many times have you ignored that inner knowing and gotten a good result? Probably never. We cannot think our way into our spirit.
While your ego is making decisions based on the past, your intuition gathers information from the future. You have to be open to receiving this information and let go of your attachment to the outcome or the desire to be right.
Because your intuition is your truth, it doesn’t matter what other people think. It doesn’t even matter what you think. It’s all about what you know intuitively.
I’ve talked to a number of people recently who tend to be cut off from their emotions and their body. They’re very much in their thinking mind all the time. And that’s a problem for them because they have a really hard time turning it off. Not only that, the messages in their head are largely negative. This creates added stress, makes it harder to relax, harder to fall asleep, and brings up self-doubt.
When I ask them how they feel, they immediately respond with, “This is what I think.” It’s too hard for them to access their emotions. They aren’t yet integrated.
We all can get into that state from time to time.
What we want to strive toward is to get out of our head and into our body. That’s where intuition comes from.
3 Ways to Tap Into Your Intuition
In order to access your intuition, you have to be open. You have to be willing to listen to the truth within you. What feels true for you in this moment?
Sometimes, we know the truth, but we override those messages with our rational mind, or the ego. We talk ourselves into situations that are bad for us because they sound good on paper. We push ourselves to think hard instead of tuning in and allowing ourselves to be guided.
What does intuition feel like? In order to answer that question, you have to tap into your heart or your gut. That’s where intuition lies. It’s never in your head. If you’re in your head, you’ve overthinking. You’re in the ego. You’ve got to let go to go deeper.
When you have a question that you want an intuitive answer to, you first have to quiet the mind or do a pattern interrupt.
How do we do that? The three ways I will share with you are breath work, mindfulness, and laughter.
If you’re feeling tense in your body, it’s because you’ve accumulated stress. This is natural and normal because some stress is necessary. That said, we want to release the tension which is leftover after the event is over and done with. One way to do that is through the breath.
Take a moment now and inhale deeply. As you exhale, sigh it out audibly. Yawn it out. When you give voice to the exhale, it releases something even deeper.
You may not yet know how to avoid the accumulation of stress, but if you mindfully breathe with the intention of releasing the tension, you’re at least preventing the stress from building up. This is important because built up stress equals burnout.
Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know what to do but after you got quiet, the answer came to you? That was you tapping into your intuitive side. This is exactly why so many of us are told to meditate on the answer to our questions.
The problem is that when our ego is running rampant, it’s sometimes too difficult to quiet the mind enough to hear the answer in meditation. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Think of a question you have, a decision you need to make. Rather than doing a rational pros and cons list, put the question aside for a moment and just notice your surroundings. Look around the room. Pay attention to the colors, the shapes, the textures around you. Name all the round objects in the space.
Now bring yourself back to the question and see if an answer has emerged. This was a pattern interrupt.
While you were scanning the environment, you couldn’t think about your question or the pros and the cons of it. You were focusing your attention elsewhere. This allows you to tap into your intuition and access the inner knowing you have about your situation.
When we’re in our rational mind or the ego, we can be very serious. We are tense and seek to stay in control. We rationalize our decisions, we worry about the future, and we predict what will happen based on what’s already happened previously.
All this leads the ego to control of your life and while that may not sound like a bad thing, consider this quote from Einstein. He said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.”
We’ve been programmed to flip the switch on this. We let our rational mind be the one in charge as opposed to letting our mind serve us. Instead of getting stuck in fear and doubt, what we could do instead is tap into our spirit and let our rational mind work for us.
Another pattern interrupt that gets us out of our heads is laughter. When we laugh, we raise our vibrational energy. Have you ever noticed that when someone else laughed, their laughter was contagious? I’ve certainly experienced situations where I came into a room where someone was laughing. I had no idea what they were laughing about, but it got me laughing as well.
There are a couple of ways to go about laughing. You can think about something funny from the past any time you need to jumpstart the process. You can tune into the laughter hotline and listen to other people laugh, which will get the ball rolling. Finally, you can put yourself in situations that are funny like a comedy club or watching a funny movie at home.
After your laughter session, tune back into your question and see what pops up.
How Intuition Can Help You Prevent Burnout
As we mentioned already, burnout is the chronic accumulation of stress. One way to prevent this accumulation is to find ways to dump the stress along the way rather than hoard it.
The yawning exercise above activates what’s called the vagus nerve, which dumps the stress and allows your brain to get quiet. It provides a nice release of the tension and allows us to feel calm.
The mere act of being in your spirit means you’re no longer exposed to that critical inner voice that tells you everything you’re doing is not good enough, that worries about what other people will think of you, and that fears making mistakes and getting rejected. This alone massively reduces your stress levels.
You might be thinking, “I’m not an intuitive person. I can’t access my intuition.” But here’s the truth. You are hardwired to be an intuitive being. You simply need to quiet that voice in your head and allow your gut and your heart to speak to you.
You may have made certain decisions in your life based on intuition without even realizing it. Think about all the people you’ve dated before you landed on your current partner. What was it about this person that made you decide, “They are the one”?
You had many options in terms of a career or even a job to work at. How did you choose your current place of employment? If you’re feeling burned out, perhaps you weren’t listening too closely. It’s when we let our ego drive the bus that we burn out.
How Do I Know If I’m Tapped In?
There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to see whether you are being led by your ego or your intuition:
1) Am I focusing primarily on things from the past (ego) or am I allowing myself to be open to things that haven’t even happened yet (intuition)?
2) Am I making decisions based on what others want (ego) or what I know is right for me (intuition)?
3) When I need an answer to a question, do I think hard about the pros and cons (ego) or do I go with my gut feeling (intuition)?
4) Am I being driven by fear (ego) or by love (intuition)?
5) Am I ruminating and catastrophizing (ego) or feeling calm and certain (intuition)?
6) Do I feel contracted (ego) or expanded (intuition) in my body?
7) Am I trying to control everything around me to feel calm but instead feel anxious (ego) or am I able to feel calm as a result of letting go (intuition)?
When you allow your spirit to guide you, you no longer have to stay stuck. Nothing has to hold you back anymore from living the life you want to live. You get to have peace of mind, dump excess stress, and quiet the noise in your head that tells you, “You’re not going to be able to do this,” “This isn’t good enough,” “No one is going to like what you have to say,” or “You’ll never be successful.”
You don’t have to live in a cage. You have a choice. You can listen to what my intuition teacher, Sonia Choquette, calls your “barking dog” (AKA your ego), or you can listen to your spirit.
I recently did this exercise with one of my clients who wanted to create online courses. She was doubting herself and holding herself back because she worried what others might say. She thought they’d call her “crazy.” Then her mind started to give her all the excuses for why she cannot move ahead with this project. She didn’t have the time. She didn’t have the money to invest. It would be too difficult. She already had a really good job.
But when she tapped into her spirit, this is what she heard: “It would be really great to be able to work from anywhere and have more control over my time and how I’m spending it.”
She remembered how much she loves learning and how this would allow her to do just that. Rather than think about how she doesn’t have the money to invest, she thought about how it could be a potential source of additional income.
Ultimately, her desire for freedom rose to the surface. She saw this as an opportunity to get more of her time back so she could spend it with her family and relax more.
You don’t have to be afraid of getting it wrong. If a choice is not right for you, your intuition will know. You just have to trust in the process. Trust in yourself.
If you’re burning out, download the Burnout Checklist to see which stage you are in and what you need to focus on to recover.