Through natural selection, we are all alive today because our ancient relatives were good at listening to their gut. The innate ability to evaluate danger, thoughtfully plan, and carefully execute, are all human characteristics that have kept us on this earth for over 250,000 years.
It's very easy to recognize this instinct in wild animals. It’s a driving force that is biologically in tune with protecting their young, selecting a mate, and finding food. In wild species, decisions are exclusively based on this instinct.
For those looking to exercise and improve their internal compass and unleash the full capacity of your evolutionary instinct, here are a few of my favorite ways to strengthen these powerful evolutionary genes:
1. Be outside and be present. This works best when you can find some green space to explore. Make sure to embrace the moment, listen to nature, and feel your connection to the planet. I love doing this in the early morning and having the sunrise midway through my journey.
2. Get lost and find your own way back. Veer off the beaten path and be ok with becoming disoriented, try and find your way home without help. I like to do this in an area where I have some landmark to always reference. Maybe a river or a mountain peak. You will be surprised with the connection you form with the land and sure to orient your internal compass.
3. Maintain good gut health! Your GI system is lined with sophisticated neuro-receptors that constantly communicate with your brain. In order for these powerful sensory receptors to function, make sure to promote good gut health through a diet that limits inflammation and promotes healthy bacteria.
4. Play in the dark! Some mornings I run in abundantly technical and wooded trails with tons of roots, rocks, and critters on the path. The idea is to take away your most dependent sensory receptor (your eyes) and feel the ground. You will go much slower, but your overall sensory awareness is unbelievably heightened!
5. Start making decisions based on your gut. Like any organ or muscle, you have to train your instinct to become powerful. The above tips are great to start, but nothing is better than trial and error. Go into situations holistically and make decisions based on the multitude of input your body is receiving. Make sure to evaluate the outcome of these decisions for future fine-tuning!