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3 Reasons to Trust Your Gut – Not Your Anxiety

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What is the difference between your anxiety telling you something and your intuition telling you something?

Trust your gut, they say…  In this piece in New York Magazine they say,

What makes self-sabotage so tricky is that it attempts to solve one problem (alleviate your abandonment anxiety) by creating another (making your partner want to leave).  You get so wrapped up in proving your theory, in the “stress and anxiety,” in some outdated story about how good things won’t last for you, that there’s no room left for the relationship to take place.

Self-sabotage is essentially a stress response to emotional danger…

But the difference lies in the evidence.

     1. Anxiety from the past is triggering your fear of abandonment. Mary wants to marry her boyfriend but thinks he might be cheating.  She stalks his facebook, his instagram and his twitter on an hourly basis on her “hunch.” She finds nothing but cannot stop her obsession.  This is no longer a gut feeling, it’s a bad habit, a self-destructive, relationship-bombing behavior that is sure to drive someone away. In this case, although there is NO EVIDENCE that he’s a cheater, Mary continues to rely on her false “gut feeling” which only serves to create more anxiety.

     2. Anxiety masks as fear of the unknown. Joya wants to go out with a boy from her sorority but he is a player.  When he finally asks her out she says no based on what her friends have said instead of finding out for herself.  The information she has obtained as evidence is from the past and unproven, especially since Joya really likes him.  She continues to rely on bad information instead of living her life.  She is more afraid of the unknown than finding out the truth about him by using her own experience.  Of course this assumes he is a safe person.  [Not talking about dangerous situations].

     3. Anxiety is not the same as intuition.  Jessica thinks her boyfriend is seeing someone else at the same time.  Intuition may be based on patterns and evidence that you have directly observed: he’s always late, keeps his phone locked away and acts sneaky.  This intuition tells you from observed experience that he is hiding something.  Anxiety is when instead of confronting him, you convince yourself that he is doing something wrong and that he will inevitably leave you.  Ask him what’s going on instead of making up stories in your head. Test the intuition with objective reality.

If this sounds tricky, it is.  According to the Huffington PostIntuition is being neutral, unemotional, whereas fear is highly emotionally charged. Reliable intuition feels right, it has a compassionate, affirming tone to it. It confirms that you are on target, without having an overly positive or negative feel to it. Fear is often anxious, dark or heavy.

Take a step back and breathe deeply for a moment.  What’s the worst that can happen?  What part is objective and what part has no business in the present?  IF it belongs in the past take a look at what happened.  It’s over.  You are OK now.

The only way to separate from rumination is to pause.

Then say, am I really onto something or am I making things up out of desperation not to be dumped.  Who are you really hurting by this?  It’s never easy to trust, especially if you’ve been burned before.  But the only way to know what’s true is to trust in yourself, in your journey, in your pain and loss and struggles.  Then come out wiser, stronger with more understanding than before…


Photos by mac.rj, -Jeffrey-,

3 Reasons to Trust Your Gut – Not Your Anxiety

Donna C. Moss

Donna Moss was a blog contributor at Psych Central.

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APA Reference
Moss, D. (2018). 3 Reasons to Trust Your Gut – Not Your Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Jan 2018
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