How You Can Tell The Difference Between Anxiety And Intuition

Anxiety is a worry, nervousness, or feeling uneasy. Intuition is an instinct or a hunch. These feelings can feel the same and often go hand in hand. We’re always told to listen to our intuition and follow our instincts. But that can be difficult when these two sensations tend to cross over each other.

Over the past month, I’ve gone through a lot. The circumstances that I’ve been dealing with have tested my ability to tell the difference between my anxiety and my intuition. So here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1. Anxiety is loud, but intuition is quiet.

When anxiety strikes, it’s often accompanied by a variety of thoughts, each one more frantic than the other. Some symptoms can include a racing heart, sleepless nights, and a constant state of worry. Anxiety demands attention; it screams for it. Intuition, on the other hand, whispers softly. It’s the gentle nudge, the quiet sense of knowing that something isn’t right or that you should take a different path. Intuition doesn’t need to shout because it speaks from a place of inner wisdom and confidence.

2. Intuition is calm, but anxiety can make you overthink. 

Anxiety makes your mind spiral, analyzing every possible outcome and often fixating on the worst-case scenarios. It’s the what-ifs and the maybes that fuel the fire of anxiety. Intuition, however, comes with a sense of peace. Even when it’s warning you about something negative, there’s clarity and calmness to it. It’s a straightforward signal without the emotional turmoil. When I’ve followed my intuition, I’ve felt a sense of reassurance and purpose, even in difficult situations.

3. Anxiety is future-focused, but intuition is present-focused. 

Anxiety loves to pull you out of the present moment to the point where you constantly worry about what might happen next. It’s all about the anticipation of what could happen. Intuition, however, grounds you in the now. It’s about tuning into your immediate feelings and the current situation. It’s about what feels right in this moment, not what could go wrong in the future. By staying present, you can better discern whether your feelings are based on an immediate, intuitive response or a projection of future fears.

4. Anxiety is reactive, but intuition is responsive. 

Anxiety often triggers a fight-or-flight response. It’s a reaction to perceived threats, whether real or imagined. Intuition, on the other hand, is more thoughtful. It allows you to respond to situations with a clear mind and a sense of purpose. Instead of reacting impulsively, you can take a step back, assess the situation, and decide based on your inner values.

With your intuition, you just know. It’s not something you have to convince yourself about; it’s a deep, inherent understanding that feels almost instinctual. When intuition speaks, there’s no second-guessing. It’s a clear, direct understanding that emerges without the need for logical analysis.

Learning to trust yourself is a journey. It requires patience, practice, and a willingness to look inward. Over time, the distinction between anxiety and intuition becomes clearer. You begin to recognize the familiar patterns of anxiety and can gently guide yourself back to the calm, steady voice of intuition.

Unfortunately, anxiety and intuition may feel similar at times, even though they are fundamentally different experiences. Anxiety is loud, overbearing, and future-focused, while intuition is quiet, calm, and present-focused. By becoming more aware, you can learn to navigate these feelings better and make choices that align with your inner guidance. Remember: with intuition, you just know. There’s no need to convince yourself. It’s a pure, instinctual understanding that guides you confidently and calmly through life’s challenges.

Featured image via Leah Newhouse on Pexels


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