Aha Moments Are Real -- Here's How to Spot Them

woman looking for aha moment

Ten years ago, Edmee Cherdieu d'Alexis was working as a group fitness manager at a sports club in New York City when she got a random phone call. It was someone asking if the gym would host a teacher training for a new "Latin-based fitness class." Edmee's boss was skeptical, but Edmee had a gut feeling that this was something she needed to say yes to.


Despite her boss's hesitations, Edmee agreed to host the training. Her instinct was spot-on, because that li'l ole "Latin-based fitness class" is today a global phenomenon you might have heard of: Zumba. And that "aha moment" led Edmee to open the first Zumba studio in New York.

"As a mom, I try to teach my daughter to follow her gut instincts," Edmee tells CafeMom. "Even if sometimes there's no logic to it, it may lead her to some really amazing destinations."

Recent research agrees. In fact, a rush of insight -- aka an "aha moment" -- is actually even more accurate than simply thinking something through.

That's because the latter can be sloppy and rushed; you WANT an answer, damn it. But the former is organic. Think of it as your brain unconsciously connecting dots. (And getting it right.)

CafeMom asked Dr. Judith Orloff, MD, author of Guide to Intuitive Healing: 5 Steps to Physical, Emotional and Sexual Wellness, to shed some light on the subject.

How do you define an aha moment?

"It's when you get a sudden flash of clarity, a knowing or a rush of goosebumps that gives you intuitive insight into a situation," explains Dr. Orloff. "It can be a positive intuition saying, 'This is good for me,' or a warning such as, 'This job will be draining.'"

What are the signs you're having one?

"A sudden flash of insight you didn't have before, an answer to a decision you've been trying to make -- it feels right in your gut to go ahead with a choice," Dr. Orloff says.

And don't write off goosebumps as a cliché, she adds. They really CAN indicate that you're on the right track.

More from CafeMom: You Already Know the Answer to Your Crisis -- Here's How to Own It

Why do we fight so much against trusting our gut?

"In Western culture, we're taught to worship the intellect and distrust anything that can't be proven by statistics," says Dr. Orloff.

Plus, we all have so much chatter in our heads -- to-do lists, worries, fears, hopes, and dreams -- "that there's no time and space to hear the small voice of intuition which can guide us in the right direction," she adds.

Is there anything we can do to get better at spotting those "aha moments" when they happen?

"Listen to your gut feelings about someone or something and don't second-guess yourself," urges Dr. Orloff. "Listen to your body's signals -- do you feel drained around someone who is an energy vampire in your life? Do you feel energized around positive people? Notice how your energy fluctuates in response to people. This is an example of your body's intuitions."

We tend to be "outer-oriented," paying closer attention to what's going on outside ourselves rather than what's happening within, Dr. Orloff notes. But we can train ourselves to take time to listen to our body's intuitive signals and then follow them.

The payoff is worth it.

"Aha-knowings can better your life and lead you to positive people and siutations," says Dr. Orloff.

And we know that you know we're right.


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