Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

How to Intuitively Make Smart Decisions

Judith Orloff - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's "Positive Energy: 10 Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear into Vibrance, Strength, and Love ”

As an intuitive psychiatrist I worship my high octane intuitions. I owe the blessing of becoming a physician to one. However, at twenty, when an unwavering inner voice told me I was going to medical school, it was the last thing I thought I wanted. This gut centered voice committed to your happiness, health, and survival, is, with practice, accessible to everyone. But when you deviate even a nano-fraction from your inner voice, energy wanes, whether a subtle seepage or radical bottoming out. The more ferociously faithful you are to this truth the more energized you’ll be.

Intuition offers a direct line to your life force, and also, as I experience it, to a divine intelligence. We can’t afford to remain deaf to intuition’s messages. Its expertise is energy; its job is to know every nuance of what makes you tick. A master at reading vibes, intuition is constantly tallying: what gives positive energy, what dissipates it. Who you meet, where you go, your job, your family, current events, are all evaluated--crucial data that you can learn to interpret and apply.

Here’s a formula from my book, Positive Energy to help you get started. First, listen to your body: there are positive and negative intuitions about relationships which highlight compatible matches. Second, act on this information, which is often the hardest part. Let me walk you through the process.

Recognize Your Body’s Intuitions About Vibes

A people-skill most of our parents didn’t know or teach us is intuitively reading vibes. We’ve learned to draw conclusions from surface data: how nice someone seems, looks, education, or if a situation adds up on paper. But intuition goes deeper; to make it work for you other ingredients must be considered such as what positive vibes feel like, for instance a sense of heart, compassion, and nurturance. In contrast, negative people project prickly, draining vibes that put you on guard.

Here is a general guideline of body-based intuitions. Use this checklist at a first meeting, to troubleshoot problems if you're already involved, or to weigh “opportunities.” Also, feel free to add to it. Being an intuitive, I know that a signature energy always accompanies situations or people. Remember the Lil’ Abner jinxed cartoon character who always had a black cloud hanging over his head? Not a vibe that bodes well for auspicious outcomes. Instead, learn to gravitate towards brightness, a positive intuition your body’s responses will affirm. When tuning into vibes take a few quiet moments to go into sensing mode, not intellectual analysis. Look for these signs to determine attraction.

Positive Intuitions About Relationships or Situations

  • a feeling of comforting familiarity or brightness; you may sense you've known the person before, as with the experience of deja-vu
  • you breathe easier, chest and shoulders are relaxed, gut is calm
  • you find yourself leaning forward, not defensively crossing your arms or edging away to keep a distance
  • your heart opens; you feel safe, peaceful, energized, expansive, or alive
  • you’re at ease with a person’s touch whether a hand shake, hug, or during intimacy.
  • Negative Intuitions About Relationships or Situations

  • a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or increased stomach acid which may prompt an unpalatable deja-vu
  • your skin starts crawling, you're jumpy, instinctively withdraw if touched
  • shoulder muscles are in knots, chest area or throat constricts; you notice aggravated aches or pains
  • the hair on the back of your neck creepily stands on end
  • a sense of malaise, darkness, pressure, agitation, or being drained
  • Intuition helps you act from instinct, not impulse--a look before you leap wisdom that points you to positive energy. When it comes to who you love, where your work, or any important decision, the last thing you want to be is vague. Tuning in keeps you specific. Practice the next exercise to get this down.

    With Intuition Learn How to Pin Down and Act on Your Vibes

    Now you’re going to tune in, trust your body, and make choices based on the vibes you sense.

    Tune In: Choose a relationship or situation that needs clarification about whether or not to go forward. Perhaps a friendship, vacation or move. Begin with an easier target before you take on higher stakes. Run it by this section’s criteria for positive and negative intuitions--or others you find reliable. It’s helpful to make a top five list of the most killer indicators of positive attraction. For one of my patients it includes feeling energized and safe. Another must register an increased aliveness and peaceful sense. Write your top five in a journal so they don’t get hazy. See how they add up here.

    Act On Vibes: This is where we must be warriors. I know personally and from patients how much easier it is to tune into than to act on vibes. Insecurity, ego, lust, stubbornness can obscure better judgment. Sometimes it takes succumbing to them all to realize you won’t tolerate such battering again. But if you don’t have to take such a bumpy route, try these options. If the vibes feel overall positive, go for it; explore possibilities. If the vibes are mixed or you’re unsure, take a pass or at least wait. If there’s just negative, have the courage to walk away, no matter how tempting the option seems. Then observe how listening to energy in this way leads you to the juiciest opportunities.

    Now I want you to start listening. Really listening. I guarantee you’ll start making smarter choices. Why? You’ll be operating from a spot inside that’s juicy, core-felt, authentic--not from an impulse to conform or disown your strength. You won’t be seduced by what may look good, but betrays your gut. Intuition is a truth detector.


    Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

    Betterlife commented on 07-Feb-2013 05:45 AM
    Thank you for teaching us to live happier and more meaningful lives,you really are helping to make this a better world. I love reading your wise words and sharing your wisdom with others. I truly think of you as a friend-I can always find an answer to whats baffling me,by just going to your website and also you inspire me and others to approach life in an enthusiastic manner. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!!!!! I LOVE YOU!
    Patricia Powell commented on 07-Feb-2013 04:48 PM
    Its all true and so right on..I've been there so many times,but always thought I could change the situation,or make it work..it doesn't work that way..I'm learning that at least..so happy to hear what I already know put into words for me..I loved it..keep sharing your wonderful views and truths about life..they are so valuable to us..Thanks again, Patricia
    tropicalangel commented on 07-Feb-2013 06:27 PM
    Yes, thank you Dr. Judith for sharing your message as so many are disconnected with what their body is telling them. The more people are aware, the more they empower themselves to positively change their lives!
    rosemarie commented on 07-Feb-2013 09:19 PM
    Peace, Judith,
    Good to connect with your wisdom. I'm still struggling to be able to discern a "wide awake night" when I know something is wrong... but don't know what... like the 2004 tsunami, or the 'Benghazi attack, or the recent embassy attack. I feel programmed to pick these things up... it's the sister you met in Arizona...any advice?
    moetodete commented on 07-Feb-2013 10:40 PM
    Thank you Judith for the awesome post, it is very helpful to know all these precious tips for using unlimited potetial of our own ituition.
    Lamis Shurrab commented on 07-Feb-2013 11:11 PM
    I enjoyed listening to this video as much as I enjoyed reading two of your books - Second Sight, and Emotional Freedom so far (I plan to start the third and then forth soon after).
    When I read your words I feel like I am sitting with my personal psychiatrist who cares about me and feels with me and my issues and REALLY want to help me get over my issues.
    I just finished reading your book 'Emotional Freedom' which I couldn't put down, exercises, meditations and all. There are so many things (I can't even begin to put my finger on them) in it that resonates with my own life issues and which I have been struggling but need not struggle with them any longer or the way I was going with them. Now I know better.
    Thank you for your empathy and understanding of the true human nature and spirit.
    Bless your heart
    Brain Green commented on 08-Feb-2013 12:45 AM
    An aquaintance of mine once said to me, "You are the most intuitive person I have ever met." I experience it as a kind of knowing, without evidence. This is especially useful to me as a Hypnotherapist. From my website, I wrote, in full agreement with your experience -

    “For the artist and/or healer, experience, knowledge and skill are useful to deal with what’s known and knowable, whereas love sharpens the senses and their focus, leading to intuition, guided by inspiration to decipher the enigmas of that which defies analysis, the as yet unknown, the as yet unknowable, the unseen, the numinous and the ineffable.”


    "Paradigm shifting creative originality results from the pursuit of inspiration via intuition; intuition being defined as the product of the organic supercomputer that represents the subconscious mind, while inspiration is the spirit mind connection to the universal creative mind, where the virtually interchangeable unchanging elements of truth and beauty exist, omni-present throughout all eternity, whether known by mankind or not."

    Best wishes, hypnohotshot.
    Tamara commented on 08-Feb-2013 03:18 AM
    I really love what you do, I just left a bussines I started in September 2012, I got very ill with panick attacks and anxiety , just the thought to go and teach Spanish to the children made me feel so ill, I left two weeks ago, and I had this voice or feeling that I should start sewing against which I did when I was I child, I am doing it now I started making bags from scratch but I love it and also staerted making sculptures in clay another passion, so now I am doing two things I really love and I am feeling so much better.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Anonymous commented on 08-Feb-2013 08:03 AM
    In listening to your example about 'toxic jobs' which intuition can expose through body signals, I couldn't help but think about how much more 'toxic' effects could result when you have the stress of not having a steady income. Certainly avoiding negative and stressful situations is key to healthy living, but in today's economic climate where unemployment is huge, I would worry more about how I'm going to pay the rent, eat, etc...and thus add to my toxic state. I think it's more realistic to try to identify the what and why of the situation causing those negative vibes and then explore how they can be addressed so the negativity dissolves. Often it's our individual expectations thata set us on the wrong path rather looking inside to determine if some of the toxins are self-created because we fail to explore a satisfying solution.
    Judith Orloff commented on 08-Feb-2013 01:08 PM
    Really enjoy everyone's comments. Trust intuition deeply, passionately, in an ongoing way!
    Laurie C. commented on 09-Feb-2013 05:26 PM
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom Dr.Orloff. Your teachings really resonate with me.
    I have many stories of how listening to my intuition led me down the right path, but I need to share a story of a time I didn't listen to my intuition.Hopefully someone else can learn from my mistake.
    One night I had the urge to stop at a local convenience store that I'd never been to before.While there, I noticed that the girl behind the counter, though extremely overweight, had a very lovely face and the most gorgeous hair I'd ever seen. I had the overwhelming urge to tell her so, but being a rather shy person who doesn't say such things to strangers, I kept my thoughts to myself.
    Later that night I picked up the newspaper and saw a picture of the same girl posing with her high school debate team with an award they had just won. Noticing that the girl looked rather sad in the picture when she should have been happy, I thought to myself,"I should have told her she's beautiful." That thought stayed with me all night, as I lay in bed awake with a heavy, sick feeling in my stomach.
    The next morning I turned on the radio. The first thing I heard was that the girl I should have said something nice to had shot and killed herself just two hours after I met her because she couldn't take the constant teasing over her weight from her classmates anymore. She thought she was too ugly to go on living.
    I have no way of knowing for sure whether saying something kind to that girl would have been enough of a lift to help her keep going, but I have a feeling it would have helped. Lesson learned the hard way. I hope I never miss an opportunity to be kind to someone who needs kindness again.
    Anonymous commented on 10-Feb-2013 10:58 AM
    Many years ago I had to make a difficult medical decision, between two options. While not the easiest choice, I chose the one that made me feel at peace. It was the best choice.
    When I listen to that absolute inner calm and peace, it is the right choice.
    Lucy commented on 10-Feb-2013 01:15 PM
    I just found your videos and website and have learned alot. Thank you so much... I feel like my intuition gets me into trouble. I have always had the ability to "feel" or "see" people for who they are from the very moment I meet them. My problem is that others don't see what I see and I don't know what to with the info I have. It seems like others love the very people I know are not truthful or nice people and it singles me out and I feel alone and like I am a bad person.
    Cathy commented on 14-Feb-2013 02:27 PM
    I may be the exception to this. I tend to be introverted and any new situation I feel icky (all the signals you said to notice from your body). If I listened to my body, I would never do anything. I have had to learn to do things afraid and most of the time I find that if I had listened to my body, I would have missed out on a great experience/person/situation. I wish I did have an accurate intuition I could rely on.
    Michelle commented on 11-Nov-2013 09:57 PM
    While I whole-heartedly agree with the guidelines Judith outlines, and have been using them many years before I read the article above, there's an interesting experience I do not quite know how to characterize, and it rather bothers me still. Back in March, I had this negative and dark, dreading feeling upon adopting a beautiful male cat I named Sebastian. He had such a loving and delightful personality, and I have always been grateful for the time we had together. Unbeknownst to me and the adoption organization I got him through, I was adopting a dying cat. Four months after he came home, over $1000 later in vet bills (which I did not hesitate to spend, even though if it hurt a little), and some tears, my little angel passed on to the next world. My question is...I wonder why I felt like I had made a mistake in adopting Sebastian. While he was only with me a short time, it makes me happy to know is that I and my other cats, especially another new cat named D'Jango, were with him. I feel blessed to have been able to care for him, and am grateful for the companionship D'Jango (Sebastian's "little brother") provided. I think his decline in health was made a little more joyful because of all the love and comforts he had. Still, I cannot seem to reconcile this whole experience being a good thing, with the dark and foreboding feelings I had during the adoption. It seems negative intuition can sometimes lead to positive things I suppose. (BTW, the large vet bills were due to so many tests trying to figure out what the mystery illness was. The vets were stumped. My own research led to the neurological form of dry FIP and, consequently, Sebastian's DNA is now part of genetic studies on this disease at UC Davis.)

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