Intuition vs. Anxiety

On episode 16 of Living Tarot, I talk about how anxiety affects intuition. In the current environment so many of us are feeling overwhelming stress and anxiety due to the global pandemic, white supremacy and systemic racism, climate change, and an upcoming US election. For many people this is the most anxious they have ever been. Even people who are well resourced with their mental health are struggling. In this episode I discuss how to tune in to Intuition even with all of this anxiety in our daily lives. Recognizing anxiety and intuition is the number one question I get from students.  Anxiety is the cloud that hangs over our ability to connect with intuition and can block us and frighten us away from tuning in.

  • I discuss the patterns of anxiety versus the patterns of intuition in our bodies.
  • I talk about the importance of an embodiment practice to help us recognize signals that come up when we’re feeling anxious or when we’re getting an intuitive impulse.
  • I even speak about my own experience of recognizing how anxiety shows up for me and how I tune into my intuition when that happens.
  • If you have been wondering how to tell intuition from anxiety this is the episode for you.

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Sheila M  0:05  

Welcome to Living Tarot. I’m your host Sheila Masterson. I’m a tarot reader and teacher, an energy healer and medium, and creator of Practical Tarot for Everyday Intuitives. Each week on this podcast, I’ll share my own experience of embracing and growing intuition, and interview guests about how they heard the call of intuition, embraced the adventure and embodied the tarot along the way. Join us and learn how you can stop second guessing, empower yourself through intuition and live intentionally with the Tarot. 

Welcome back to Living Tarot. Continuing on with our theme for the month of October, I wanted to talk today about intuition versus anxiety. This is one of the most popular polls that you guys voted on on my Instagram. And it is also one of the most common questions that I’ve gotten in classes, where I’ve taught about intuition. It’s one of the things that I work through with a lot of my one on one students. And I understand why it comes up because it also comes up for me, I think it’s pretty common. And to say that 2020 is not a year, rife with anxiety, and really, really tough challenges. This has been on my mind to cover because we do have a global pandemic going strong, we do have a social justice uprising, for the Black Lives Matter movement for justice in America. And also, we have in the United States, a very contentious election. So there’s a lot to be anxious about right now, quite frankly, and a lot of external stressors that are beyond our own control. 

So for many people who even are in treatment for anxiety, or have dealt with anxiety, over a long period of time, while they are very resourced to manage anxiety, they are not necessarily well resourced to manage chronic anxiety over six months to nine months of time without feeling a little bit of burnout, for sure, I think the term is is surge capacity, you’ve reached your surge capacity for how much you can take and how much your body can handle of being in a high stress situation, especially because this is a long term problem, especially for those of us in the United States. And it is there’s no solution in sight that we can see right now. And so we’re not getting the relief of knowing that something is going to be over soon, we’re not really getting a break from it. And so it’s pretty normal to be feeling extremely anxious right now. And I am a big believer in destigmatizing all mental health care issues. And it was important for me to talk about how this does play into intuition. Because there is a connection and we do see it a lot. And you have to in order to survive and to thrive even when that’s going on. You have to have that connection to your intuition as that kind of guiding light bringing you through these experiences. 

So we can’t talk about intuition and anxiety without talking about our ego. And in the spiritual community in particular, the ego gets such a bad rap. Everybody’s always talking shit on your ego, smash your ego, crushed your ego, kill your ego, you know shove it down, hide it underneath all this other stuff and that is a total bunch of garbage. It is not true. It’s not an effective way of dealing with it. And honestly what you create if you try to tell your ego no Be quiet, go down there, come back later. You know when you postpone or you or you delay or you try to ignore your ego has a tendency to just get louder, and the ego really is just doing its job, it’s important to recognize that because the job of the ego is to keep us present to keep us safe, to keep us in our physical body. To keep us aware of any trouble that might come up, it is a, it’s a self preservation tool. And I think that so many of us, you know, there’s a lot of talk in the wellness community about trying to crush this. And I just, I don’t think that it’s such an effective way to deal with it. And I don’t think it recognizes the truth of the ego, which is that it isn’t a bad thing. You need to have an ego so that you could advocate for yourself so that you can ask for what you need, so that you know when your needs aren’t being met. 

So putting that aside, what I do find to be a more effective technique for dealing with your ego, when you’re trying to listen to intuition, is to acknowledge it. So to acknowledge that it’s going to come up and a lot of us have, you know, a story that the ego tells us what’s that scary story, you know, what’s your ego scary story. And maybe it is something about, for example, I’ll use my my own life for personal examples. So when I was getting ready to leave my corporate job, I had a lot of fear. and rightfully so I had a lot of fear about going out on my own, I had a lot of anxiety going on, even though I knew it was the right decision, I was extremely anxious. And so I had this ego fear anxiety story that was playing in my head, like all the time, 24’7, I was like, Oh, my gosh, don’t they play anything else on this channel, I’m so sick of hearing this and it went something like, you can’t leave your job, you’ll never find something so secure and stable again. And you’ll never be able to afford this type of lifestyle, or you’ll never be able to buy a car, you’ll never be able to buy a house. And then you’ll have kids and your kids won’t get to live in a house, they’ll live in an apartment forever, and they won’t want to have other kids over from school and, and it kind of goes into this whole spiral. And suddenly you find yourself 10 steps ahead of anything resembling your current day life. And, you know, that that that trains gone off the tracks a little bit, and that your ego is really, really running the show at that point. And the way that I really dealt with that, and, and tuned back in to check in with my intuition and say, you know, is this still right? Is this still the right thing? Was that I would say, Okay, thank you ego, thank you fear. Thank you anxiety for keeping me safe. Yes, I know. I know, that’s fair. I know, that’s a possibility. But I’m just gonna, I’m just going to listen to like, what else is going on in here. So just turn turn that down a little bit. So when you acknowledge it when you say, yeah, you know what, that is a real possibility, maybe I won’t make any money for a couple years, maybe I will have to rely on my partner. And that makes me uncomfortable, maybe I am going to have to get a part time job for a little bit. And as you start to kind of answer some of those things, and just just acknowledging that you are paying attention to that. It’s, it’s, it doesn’t become quite so loud anymore. And you start to be able to hear what’s underneath it. And that’s where we find that voice of intuition, it tends to be a little bit softer. It’s usually in a different part of our body, like we talked about last week when we talked about embodiment. So I might feel I feel fear and anxiety and and my ego in one part of my body. So I feel that fear. And then in a completely different part of my body, I get the impulse of intuition. And so I can usually notice where it’s coming up. And if I do have that anxiety that’s kind of running rampant and I’m having trouble checking in. I will acknowledge that. I will say Yes, I know. You’re totally right. That’s so true. That’s so true. And then I will say, Okay, I’m just gonna listen to what else is here for a little bit. And sure enough, underneath that, I will hear that voice of intuition. as clear as day, maybe softer than everything else, but it will be in there. And one of the things that has helped me so much, is recognizing how normal it is to have that running. That running dialogue, that running display of everything that can go wrong. And acknowledging it and then tuning in. Because, you know, it’s kind of like, it’s kind of like a little kid in that way. And that like you give them that little bit of attention, and then they’re good for for a few minutes. And you can pay attention to whatever show you’re watching or whatever, whatever thing you were trying to talk to your husband about, or whatever it is, where you can just kind of appease appease that sense of anxiety, and then tune into what’s really true underneath. And if you are in those moments, where you’re like, Oh, my gosh, I don’t know, if I’ve ever been so anxious, I am stressed to the max, I don’t know what to do. You can write down what comes up when you tune in in that moment. And you can really, you can really take that that edge off just the slightest bit and and hear that intuition. And write down you know, that clear message that comes through once you clear out that anger and frustration and anxiety and ego talk, you can hear that really gentle, intuitive message and write that part down. And just keep reminding yourself that because then it’s almost like you have like a save point in your brain where you’re like, Oh, yes, we just did this yesterday. And then I got this message from my intuition. And then you can listen for what else. And the more you do that, like we talked about last week, it is like a muscle you get used to turning that down. When my sisters- I have sisters who are much younger than me. And when they were young, my mom worked from home. And she was so used to tuning their voices out because she she would focus it on work that even now as adults, sometimes we tease her all the time that she kind of tunes them out, unintentionally, because she just got so used to it. And it’s just like that, the more you you start to turn that down, the more you can tune into intuition and pay more attention to that, the more it grows, and the more your ability to do that over and over grows. And you will have times where it wanes where you’re, you know, right now especially, it’s been very challenging for so many of us. And it is worth mentioning that you know, it is worth mentioning that these are extraordinary times, and that your level of anxiety is probably higher maybe than it’s ever been. And it can be even harder to hear your intuition. And because we are maxed out, you might be mistaking other things for your intuition as well. So I did want to talk about that a little bit. 

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I also wanted to say that you have to look at if you’re having trouble telling the difference between anxiety And intuition, you have to look at what the message is. So when we’re hearing from anxiety, we’re hearing something that is largely laced with fear. And every, like the example I gave from my life where I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money to buy a car and then to buy a house. And then that would affect my children’s ability to, to make friends when they go to school. I don’t I’m not married, don’t have children don’t have any plans to at the moment. And I’m like 10 steps ahead, but it’s all run on fear there, right. However, on the other hand, you will have intuition, which is more like a gentle nudge, a gentle voice, a suggestion, an idea, something loving or compassionate. And it doesn’t have this same frenzy to it, at least how it works for me and how I’ve seen it work for most people, it tends to be a little less frantic, it would probably be the best, the best way to put it. So notice the quality of that as well. And for those of you who are experiencing really intense anxiety right now, first of all, I am a huge proponent of therapy, I can’t recommend it enough. I think it’s extremely important and extremely undervalued. In our Western society. It’s stigmatized, and a lot of ways. And I just think that’s total bullshit. I think that if you need help, you should absolutely seek out help. And if there was ever a time to need help, it is right now. So please take care of yourselves. I also would say, when it comes to times like these that are extremely anxious, and you are looking to get some of that excess energy out, it’s important for us to have some sort of physical practice. And I don’t mean, I don’t mean that you have to be like going to CrossFit or going to the gym every day, or having some like, elaborate workout routine. But our bodies are biologically structured, to respond to stress with the hormones and the adrenaline, so that, you know, we can escape the lion that we run into in the wild, you know, way back in the day. But now, we aren’t having as much of that physical activity in our lives. And so we don’t finish out that stress response, until we can kind of shake that out. And so what happens is, we, we build this whole thing up. And, and we have all this anxiety and our body is in like fight or flight. And then we we can suit you know, we have different ways of soothing, so maybe you just breathe, maybe you do some sort of deregulating exercise some sort of somatic exercise, which is excellent, because that can get your anxiety back to a manageable level. But there’s still the matter of what is biologically going on in your body. So you still are kind of jacked up on those adrenaline and other hormones. And so one of the things that I find very helpful, which sounds crazy, is to just kind of shake it out. So I will literally just like shake my body and I’ll shake my arms, I’ll shake my legs, almost like if you were imagining you got like shocked by electricity. Sometimes I just kind of sway my arms back and forth. Sometimes I do a little yoga practice or I take a quick jog around the block. And if you are not an able bodied person, you can also do you know, you can do muscle contraction and release if you have access to that. So you can just kind of scan around your whole body and do like progressive muscle tension and relaxation. Or you can even in your mind, kind of scan the whole body and imagine each of your muscles doing that. Because your brain doesn’t actually know the difference between you thinking you’re doing it and you actually doing it. So you don’t have to be you know an athlete or you don’t have to be physically able in any way to to do this type of exercise. And I would recommend that you do it regularly in in this day and age, but especially If you are sitting down to do some sort of intuitive work, if you’re doing divination, if you are getting energy healing done, if you are trying to get an answer on something, if you’re sitting down for a creative project, all of those are really wonderful times to get that access out. So that you can really work from a lower anxiety baseline and be able to access your intuition in an easier in an easier way. So that’s one of the things that I find can be extremely effective when it comes to dealing with intuition and anxiety. And finally, I talked about it in the episode where I talked about when to get a reading from a professional reader. But it’s worth mentioning again, that if you are even if you are a reader, or you identify as a reader, and you’re just having like a really anxious time, it can be helpful to have somebody else hold the space for you. So whether that is getting energy healing, or working with some sort of somatic healer, or a yoga teacher or a tarot reader, there are so many different ways to work with your own intuitive connection. And sometimes when we are really in the depths of a really difficult time, or we’re really managing through a lot of anxiety, having another person there to hold the space to reflect things back to us. And to really give you your autonomy back to validate things that you were feeling intuitively, that can be extremely powerful, especially in growing your own intuitive ability, because what happens when you come in and you know, I’ve had clients come in and have, you know, a Reiki session with me or a tarot session with me. And they’re very anxious, and they have a lot of stuff going on. And they’re not quite sure. And I can tell that they’re unsettled from the moment they come in. And, you know, we have a conversation, we talk about what’s going on.

We talk about where they really want to focus things or where they’re looking for answers. And then I tell them what I’m seeing or feeling or what’s coming up. And then sure enough, I mean, nine times out of 10, I will tell them something, I’ve seen this, this and this and they’re like I knew it, I knew, I knew that was a problem. And I knew that was like, I knew that I just got in this fight with my spouse and and I’ve got this pain here. Or I just got in a fight with my partner. And now I I’ve been having this like foot pain for weeks. And I don’t know what what happened. But I felt like it was related to that. And it just didn’t make sense to me. Or, you know, I’ve had all kinds of things like that happen. And I’ve seen firsthand and have experienced firsthand as somebody who gets energy work and and gets professional readings from friends and other people. And I can’t, I can’t recommend it enough, when you’re having a hard time getting out of your own way, because just the tiniest bit of validation can send you on your way to fully trusting those intuitive impulses when they’re coming across. So I hope that helps give you some insight into intuition and anxiety. I have been working for a little while now on something more detailed for this. So I’ll have to let you all know when that is up and running. But in the meantime, you can always book a session with me to work either one on one with coaching or with Tarot, or with Reiki, all of which I am still doing over zoom virtual sessions. And could be a really great way to start to tune into this intuition and especially now, with so much going on in the outside world. As always, I would love to hear your feedback. I would love to hear what really resonated with you what sounded familiar what you recognized in your own experience. And I would love to hear about anything that you’d love for me to talk more about or anything that stood out to you as something that you’d like to hear a whole episode on. I am all ears so you can feel free to reach out to me I will see you back here next week. 

Thank you so much for listening to Living Tarot. If you loved today’s episode, please leave us a review and subscribe so that you never miss an episode. This helps us reach even more budding intuitives. Feel free to share on Instagram and tag me @StarSageSpirit and let me know what you learned what surprised you and what you’d like to hear even more of. As always, if you want to hear more about my courses, or book a reading with me, or for full episode show notes, you can head over to