One of the most amazing things about the human brain is that it hasn’t evolved all that much from the hunter-gatherer stage. We are basically just beings who are walking around a modern society armed with cavemen’s brains. The natural rules of survival are still deeply ingrained in all of us, which was necessary back on the Savannah when we were being chased by predators. Nowadays, that doesn’t really happen as often but our brains can’t always distinguish between true fear and intuition that something might be wrong. Sometimes all it takes is a slight step out of our comfort zone to make us think we feel fear, when in fact it’s just our intuition.
The part of the brain that houses our emotional mind is called the Amygdala. This is where fear comes from. Fear is a purely emotional response to a prompting event. There is no logic or reason behind fear. You will know that you are in a state of fear when your instinct kicks in for either fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. When you see these as your only options then you are in a state of fear.
The balance of the emotional mind and the logical mind is called the wise mind. It represents a balance of the Prefrontal Cortex and the Amygdala. The balance of emotion that a person feels when in the wise mind state goes by many names, such as intuition, or gut feeling. It’s something that just “feels right”, a pearl of inner wisdom. It’s the perfect happy medium between cold, hard facts and raw emotion. When you get a sense that something might be wrong and you are able to think at least somewhat rationally, that means your mind is still open to logic and reason.
Another way that fear and intuition differ is that you tend to think about past triggers or start to forecast “What if” scenarios when you are in a state of fear. If you are being intuitive, then you are living in the present moment and being mindful of what’s happening around you and you are doing so in a calm, rational way. Fear is often a loud, prolonged voice in our head with danger lights blaring. Intuition takes on more of a brief, gentle nudge. There is much less emotion all-around with intuition as opposed to fear.