Really interesting post, and relatable. Recently, I decided to move to New York based on a gut instinct – but since I’ve committed, I’ve felt a complete change in heart, a gut-wrenching negativity about it. I’ve always been someone to trust my instincts, but this change forced me to consider that “gut instincts” are really a bunch of different things battling for my attention.

(Forgive me, I don’t have a background in philosophy so might sound like a bit of a fool here.)

My conclusion is that there’s a feeling of “recognition” in all cases, and that “the voice of experience honed by many decisions and mistakes” is actually extremely accurate, and applies across domains. For instance, if you’ve had a bad experience in switching jobs based on a feeling of hopeful idealization, you might recognize this feeling preceding a big move, and you’re probably right to feel an instinct to be cautious.

When I decided to make the move, my gut was telling me YES, based on many good decisions I've made based on the feeling of who I was around and how they made me feel. So I did – and then it became a different situation. Suddenly, the question wasn’t should I do this but what will happen when I do this. My second reaction (I realized under the heavy influence of mary-wanna) was a feeling of pure fear – a reaction to the simple fact that I’m going some place new and will deal with a lot of uncertainty.

Hopefully my decision was right. In any case, amazing post, sorry to use this as a therapy session :)

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Basically we have three neuro-centers in our bodies - three ‘minds’ if you will. The most commonly known one is our brain. However, there is also a neurological center associated with our cardiovascular system and another one associated with our gut. Each functions in distinct ways. As far as the amount of neurotransmitters, the center in the gut is the most extensive. The Scriptures speak to this as well. It’s an interesting study worth some investigation.

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I feel stress in my "gut." It's taken me decades, but I've come to understand that the proper reaction is to identify the source of the stress and then go from there. Sometimes, there's nothing to do about it, but identifying it always helps.

Most often, as you wrote, the stress is fear. Here's a trivial example in my life, but an example that the reaction of my gut takes as existential. It's the anticipation of playing in a tennis tournament. I'm just a "B" player and the stakes are low, but the feeling of being measured and competing in sports brings back all sorts of unpleasant childhood memories of not being good enough.

Thanks for helping me further police through the whole "gut" issue!

robertadvidn.substack.com/about (free)

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