What's Behind That Gut Feeling?

NEW HYDE PARK, NY – Ever have a feeling that the guy (or girl) you just met was the “one?” Or a hunch that you shouldn’t take a shortcut home?

That’s your intuition triggering a gut reaction and an instantaneous decision to do or not do something. It’s seemingly inexplicable -- or is it?

“A lot of what we do is not kept in our conscious thoughts,” says Jessy Warner-Cohen, PhD, health psychologist at LIJ Medical Center.

“It’s like driving a car. If you’ve been driving for a long time, you don’t think about all the things that go into it, like every time you press on the gas or the brakes. You just do it by rote of memory, and that’s a lot of what intuition is.”

Our intuition stems from the daily things we see and experience,  and those develop patterns in our brains. The word itself comes from the Latin word “intuir” meaning knowledge from within.

And those patterns can cause a positive reaction, such as when you recognize things that you like about a person, says Dr. Warner-Cohen, or a negative feeling like when you sense that something just doesn’t fit right.

“So, when something seems off or on, that’s when you get that gut feeling,” said Dr. Warner-Cohen. “Even if you can’t put your finger on it, you have all these patterns coming into play.”

Topics: News

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!