There’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of tuning into your intuition. We know that intuition helps us make spiritually-aligned decisions, protects us from danger, acts as our inner doctor, gives us the heads-up when we are needed by our loved ones, and serves as the unseen world’s secret gateway to the human world, helping us live our best lives.

But how do you know if you’re tuned in or not? We all have the capacity to listen to our intuition, but sometimes we’re at the mercy of forces that block our ability to interpret our intuition clearly. Here are eight signs that your intuition may be blocked, plus ten tips to help you tap into it.

8 Signs You’ve Lost Touch with Your Intuition

1. You feel confused often

If you struggle to make good decisions and often lack clarity, this is a sure-fire sign that you’re not tuned into your intuition. When you and your intuition are communicating regularly, you’ll find that a combination of your inner knowing and outer synchronicities team up to help you make the aligned decision that steers you towards the highest good for all.

2. You lack flexibility

When you’re following your intuition, you have to be willing to go with the flow, which sometimes means changing your plans based on the guidance you’re getting. When you’re out of touch with your intuition, you may be so rigidly tied to a calendar that you ignore all the warning signs that tell you it’s time to cancel a commitment. I’m not suggesting that intuitive people must be complete flakes. Keeping your commitments is a sign of respect and responsibility. But sometimes intuition requires you to say “no” when you previously said “yes.” When you’re really tuned in, this happens less, because you tend to intuit the “no” from the beginning.

3. You feel blindsided by people

You trusted him. You trusted her. He was your lover. She was your best friend. Then they slept together. OUCH! What happened? When you’re not tuned into your intuition, you may feel blindsided, as if you never saw betrayal coming. But often, all of your friends saw it coming a mile away. Intuition gives you red flags that warn you, but if you insist on only seeing the best in people while blinding yourself to their shadow, you may be blocking your inner knowing.

4. You wrestle with regret

Intuition helps you make regret-free decisions, because intuition is always doing its best to guide you in the direction of the greatest flow, ease, integrity, and alignment with your soul’s unique journey. When you’re out of touch with intuition, you’re making decisions from your mind or your ego, and regret is a common side effect.

5. You tend to be a chameleon

If you can chameleon yourself to be like the jocks when the game is on, like your business partners during the board meeting, like the church goers on Sunday morning, like the committed parents at the PTA meeting, like the country club socialites at the local fundraiser, like the yoga devotees at yoga class, and like the party girl on Friday night, you may not be fully tuned into your intuition. It’s not that you can’t switch hats and fit into many circles; it’s that when you’re following your intuition, there are no masks to wear, no personas to put on like t-shirts. You’re ALL YOU, ALL THE TIME, and you’re unapologetic about it. So that might mean you wear your game day shirt to the yoga class, you get down with your bad self at the country club fundraiser, and you skip the PTA meeting because the sun is shining and the beach is calling you to bask in its beauty.

6. You dismiss your instincts as ‘crazy’ or ‘irrational’

Intuition rarely feels rational. One day I was at the mall, and my intuition told me to walk into the Gap. Now no offense to Gap lovers, but I don’t like the Gap. I never shop there. So I could have easily dismissed my intuition. But I’ve learned that things don’t go well when I ignore a strong hit, so I walked in the Gap just as someone was having a Code Blue. I’m a doctor, so something in the unseen realm was telling me my services were needed, and I’m grateful to have been used as an instrument of love. If you ignore the seemingly crazy guidance, you will not only fail to let yourself be led to the most aligned jobs, relationships, and transformative experiences; you also might miss out on the chance to be someone else’s miracle. (PS. The woman whose heart stopped is alive and well.)

7. You doubt yourself

I never trust people who tell me their intuition is perfect. I think it’s always wise to put a question mark behind something you believe you’re intuiting. Discernment is key when it comes to tuning into spiritual guidance. But with that disclaimer, I can assure you that when you’re tuned into your intuition, you experience much less self- doubt. It’s not that you don’t filter the intuitive guidance that comes in. Blind faith in intuition can get you in trouble. But over time, as you confirm how things went when you followed your intuition, you’ll develop evidence-based faith. You’ll know that seemingly miraculous things happen when you follow your intuitive guidance, and you’ll learn to trust it, which fills you with a certain confidence, leaving you with far less self-doubt.

8. You give your power away too easily

When you’re not tuned into intuition, you’re far more likely to expect someone else to make all of your decisions, even the most critical ones. As a doctor, I saw this all the time in the hospital. A patient who is not tuned into intuition will expect the doctor to make every decision, giving all her power away. Whereas someone who is tuned into intuition might question the doctor, sharing an intuitive hit like “I sense that surgery will harm me and we’re better off watching and waiting.” Or the intuitive person might instantly sense what lies at the root cause of her illness, trusting that if she treats the root cause, conventional treatment might be avoided.

10 Ways to Honour Your Intuition

I’ve come to think of intuition as the disguise the spirit world lovingly uses to speak to the human world in a way that protects us and makes our lives easier. So how do you tap into this voice? Here are a few tips:

1. Know that intuition smacks you with truth

Even if the voice of intuition scares you with what it whispers, it always lands with a thud of truth. Intuition smashes though layers of denial and cuts to the core to show you what’s true.

2. Recognise that intuition tastes like freedom

Martha Beck suggests that we ask ourselves, “Shackles on or shackles off?” When the voice of intuition speaks, it always feels like shackles off.

3. Listen to your body

Start by noticing how your body feels when you’re faced with a decision. Your body’s ‘Hell no’ will feel like a tight gripping sensation. A ‘Hell yeah’ often feels like openness, especially in the chest. Sometimes a choice will feel scary, so you might be confused by butterflies. But are they the butterflies of excitement or the flutterings of dread? Tune in.

4. Interpret your dreams

When the cognitive mind is asleep, intuition has a heyday. Dreams can be filled with intuitive messaging that needs to be decoded. Read up on the benefits of writing down your dreams and the various techniques to interpret them.

5. Learn to read energy

Sometimes, you instinctually read someone’s energy without even realising you’re doing it. You’ll look at someone you’ve never met and pick up on cues about their emotional state, health, and wellbeing. But when we make it a conscious practice to read the energy of a person, business opportunity, or personal choice, we bench-press with our energy-reading muscles and strengthen our intuition.

6. Ask for guidance

Your cognitive mind will try to convince you that it’s possible to control life. But your soul giggles when your mind thinks like this. The sooner you realise that the Universe doesn’t need you to be in control, the more peace and ease you’ll experience.

Since you’re not in charge, why not enlist the help of forces of consciousness larger than your Small Self? Whether you call it God, Goddess, Buddha, Allah, or Captain Crunch, surrender to this force of love that can show you the way of greatest flow for your unique soul.

7. Cultivate presence

Be here now. When your mind is churning over what happened in the past or worrying about what hasn’t yet happened, you’re less available to all the intuitive knowing that only exists in the present moment. To cultivate presence, start a meditation practice, spend time in nature, and practice mindfulness in your daily activities.

8. Tune in to signs

The world is alive, everything is conscious, and consciousness itself is always trying to communicate with us. But most of the time, we’re so busy, distracted, and caught up in our minds that we miss the signs showing us how to find and fulfil our calling, how to align with the right people, and how to live in accordance with our souls. Learn how to interpret the signs.

The sooner you realise that the Universe doesn’t need you to be in control, the more peace and ease you’ll experience.

9. Play with your intuition

As I detail in my book, The Fear Cure, your intuition is never more spot-on than when your life or the life of a loved one is at stake. If your intuition screams, ‘Don’t trust the babysitter!’ you’ll want to take note.

But don’t wait for life-and-death situations to start learning to discern between intuition and paranoia. Instead, cultivate a playful relationship with your intuition. Make it a game. Is the phone ringing? See if you can intuit who it is. Going to a Super Bowl party? Can you intuit who will win? Heading out for a first date? Can you sense whether the date will fly or flop? Get playful and see what happens.

10. Put your intuition to the test

Got a hunch? Write it down in an intuition journal and check back on it later. Sometimes it will take a year or two to assess how things went when you followed your intuition or ignored it. In the beginning, following your hunches can feel risky. But over time, you’ll develop what I like to call ‘evidence-based faith.’ When you see how effortlessly things can flow when you follow your hunches, you’ll be less inclined to let your mind dismiss your intuition.