Q: Sometimes I just have to listen to my “gut” instead of facts. Is that normal? 

A: Humans are endowed with five incredible senses that teach us early lessons and help guide us through a lifetime of experiences. We learn not to touch a fire, but to appreciate its warmth. We learn the difference between a baby’s happy gurgle and a cry of hunger. We can gauge the speed of an approaching car in a moment– and detect sour milk with a mere sniff. Early humans used their sense of taste to reject bitter plants which could be poisonous. More important than appreciating the wonders of the world around us, our five senses help keep us safe. But do we have a “sixth sense?”

Even the most logical among us admit to experiencing “gut feelings,” sometimes referred to as intuition or our inner voice. Inexplicably, the whispers of our subconscious mind may be offering insights that do not align with available facts. So why do we think these thoughts?

Well over 80% of the myriad signals we receive daily are non-verbal. Our brains take it all in. Whether a look was dismissive or lingering. Not just what was said, but HOW it was said. We mentally record countless variations of sensory stimuli from every experience –and file them away for future use. According to Psychology Today, “intuition… arises from the accumulation of knowledge and experiences that are processed and stored in our brain’s neural networks, allowing us to access information quickly, often unconsciously.”

The Berkeley Well-Being Institute points out that intuition and instinct are closely linked. “Instinct is a key component of intuition. Instincts are hard-wired behaviors developed in response to environmental stresses and dangers. Listening to your instincts is a part of listening to your intuition.”

In our fast-paced world, the constant bombardment of information and distractions can drown out the gentle nudges of intuition. Our internal chatter adds to the noise, with fear, bias or wishful thinking. Mindfulness, meditation and learning to observe the unspoken can be helpful in creating space for intuitive insights to surface.

Using your intuition doesn’t mean dismissing logic entirely, but recognizing that intuition often operates beyond the boundaries of what we can rationalize. To learn more about intuition and trusting your gut, join me for Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa on May 10 at One Senior Place in Viera. Our topic will be “Listening to Unconscious Signals.” RSVP at or by calling 321-751-6771.



One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera. Ms. Conway hosts a monthly seminar, ‘Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa.’