How to Tell the Difference Between Your Imagination and Intuition

Imagine Central Park

Lately, I have been imagining a lot. Imagining how my future will be. It comes in the form of creating solutions. Imagining can also be used as a form of escape such as daydreaming. I daydream of being on the beach or spending delicious time laughing with my nephews. Imagining is an active way of thinking. But when you use your imagination in ways other than what it was intended for it can wreak havoc on your life.

Imagination is defined as the ability or action of forming things that are not real; the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced; the ability to think of new things, or something that only exists or happens in your mind.

When I imagine something I can be so focused it can feel like it is happening to me right at that moment. My body starts exhibiting the physiological changes. For example: If I’m imagining about something that makes me feel scared, my heart starts to beat a little faster, my breathing becomes more shallow. Or if I’m imagining something that excites me, I stand taller and breathe faster and deeper. If I am imagining something sad, I may start to cry tears. Imagination is a valuable tool to create what you want in your life.

Intuition is what internally guides you to make a decision. I call it my “Inner Nurse”. The definition of Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is the feeling that guides the path your heart wants to take. If you take a moment to silence your mind and listen to your breath, you can hear the faint whisper underneath. For me this often shows up strongest right after I meditate, I can ask a question to myself and can get the answer almost immediately. Intuition is passive, it is a deep knowing with no explanation other than you feel it in your gut.

We all get caught up with our imagination but knowing how to differentiate between it and your intuition can help you make better decisions in your life. Often times your body already knows the answer before your mind does.

Here are some simple tools to be able to tell the difference between your imagination and your intuition (Inner Nurse).

  1. Muscle testing: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your chest and take a deep breath. Then mentally ask yourself a question. If your body sways forward it means Yes. If your sway backward, it means No. If it stays still it means it’s neutral or you need more information. (the Yes and no can be reverse but make sure to decide what each movement means before you start)
  2. Mental Visualization: Another great tool is to visualize an arrow. I like to visualize a metronome. I see the ticker move left to right. (it can be with your eyes open or eyes closed). You can ask a question and if it points right it means yes and if points left it means no. If it stays in the middle, it just means that you may need more information or maybe you are undecided about something.
  3. Just Ask: If you could imagine yourself on the beach, basking in the sun. You have the power to will yourself to find an answer in any moment. You have to condition yourself. All you have to do is ask. You can also mentally ask yourself a series of questions or say statements. Start with something simple that is clear cut, for example: I have blonde hair (for me that is a clear No) then progress to more difficult questions to answer. Should I accept this job offer? Don’t overthink it, the first answer that comes to your mind is the answer.

Tweet this: Intuition comes in a clear answer via @joannaychan

BONUS: What do I do if I don’t know? If your go to answer is “I don’t know” then you will essentially hypnotize yourself into thinking that. When you place all your focus on getting an answer, you will find it. Remember it’s a good thing that you are confused, it just means you are looking for a different answer.

Be prepared: Sometimes you don’t get the answer that your mind wants. Just accept it and take the next step. Once you find the answer, all you have to do next is to decide in that moment what to do. Take action or take a moment to wait and gather more information. We often forget that deciding to make no decision is an active thing. It can be the best decision in the moment.

Now it’s your turn, has there been a time in your life that your intuition told you one thing but your imagination lead you to make another decision? Please leave a comment below and if you liked this article, I would ever be so grateful if you shared it with your friends. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to learn the tools to Nurse Your Life.