Is it possible to fine-tune your intuition? Absolutely.

Have you ever been on a date and thought “I have a funny feeling about this person”? Or asked yourself why your stomach aches every time you see a particular friend? Your body often sends you signals about your environment that your conscious mind misses. Your body intuitively knows when something is wrong, but you may not recognize the signs because you are not in tune with your body.  Is it possible to fine-tune your intuition? Absolutely.

With intuition, you can understand something immediately, without the need to wait for your conscious reasoning skills to kick in (which may never happen). You instantly know why you have a funny feeling about your date without wasting time getting to know a person who is not right for you. Without spending years working on a friendship that is hurting you, with intuition you can pinpoint what is wrong instantly. In my work as a marriage counselor in Los Angeles, I help patients develop their intuition.

How does one develop intuition? Two ways: First, you learn the signals your body is sending you; your body is the best tool you have. Second, you develop the mindfulness skills necessary to take a step back and see situations clearly.

Imagine you are meeting a friend for dinner. The last time you spoke, you got into an argument about politics. But as you open the door to the restaurant, your conscious mind says to you, “It was not that big of a deal. Our friendship is solid.” The conversation over dinner is stilted, she speaks to you sharply and in a clipped way, and the meal feels like it drags on forever. But, because your intuition is undeveloped all you know at the end of the night is that something felt off.

If you had a fine-tuned intuition, you would have recognized right away that your friend is angry with you and your friendship is making you unhappy. Mindfulness would have helped you get out of your head—where you were thinking about what you would say to her and what you wanted to order—and given you the clarity to instead focus on your friend. You would have noticed how tightly she had folded her arms around herself and how pinched her face looked. If you had paid attention to your body’s reaction to the situation you would have known that this is a friendship that is making you miserable and that you should probably let go of it. Your stomach ached all night, an intense tiredness washed over you when you were with her, and you only felt relaxed once you got home.

Now, imagine you are on a first date. Your date is attractive, smart, and charming. But something does not seem quite right. You finish your drinks and make plans to see each other next weekend. As you drive home and for days afterward, you mull over in your head whether you genuinely want to see this person again.