By Kris Kile
In our last blog post we started a discussion about the rich source of intelligence our body is.
Today we explore another form of body intelligence–gut instinct. Gut instinct generates intuition, which is a very real form of intelligence that we usually ignore. However, it can be developed and become as reliable a form of intelligence as our mental intelligence or emotional intelligence.
Gut instinct leads to intuition, which can help generate wisdom
Gut instinct won’t always invite you into behaviors you desire. Experts say it tends to be biased towards survival instincts. So, for example, in times of stress, the brain encourages us to seek out comfort foods. That literally is a gut instinct and it can become problematic if over-indulged.
But, the fascinating thing is that this is not the brain in your skull, but rather your “other brain.” The body contains a separate nervous system that is so complex it has been dubbed the second brain. It comprises an estimated 100 million neurons and is around twenty-seven feet long, stretching from your esophagus to your anus. It is spread out through two layers of gut tissue. It is part of the autonomic nervous system.
Embedded in the wall of the gut, this second brain—called the enteric nervous system (ENS), has been known to help control digestion. And, recent research is showing that it also plays a big role in our physical and mental wellbeing. It tends to work in your unconscious, but influences responses you make to situations. It can work together with or independently of the brain in your head.
Your gut contains more than thirty neurotransmitters, just like the brain, and more than 95% of the body’s serotonin (the wellbeing and happiness neurotransmitter) is found in the gut. It also is becoming more and more apparent to medical researchers that gut health has a lot to do with brain health.
This takes “Taming The Brain” to an entirely new level! There is more information coming out all the time about this “second brain” which is, in fact, our gut. Learning to notice the intuition that it produces can be a powerful contribution to making wise decisions.
“There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions,” Ivy Estabrooke, a program manager at the Office of Naval Research, told the New York Times in 2012.
In our next blog post, we will take a look at how we can hone an accurate gut instinct and intuition. This is an exciting new field of growing research.
How in touch with your gut instinct are you—currently? When you are in touch with it, what do you notice? Share your answer on Facebook.