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I once fell out with a boyfriend on holiday when I offered to drive us home using my intuition versus a map.

It was the days before smartphones and sat-navs existed and my boyfriend stubbornly insisted that the only way to get from A to B was by reading a map.

Obviously, I loved proving him wrong and getting home without a hitch.

I have always followed my little hunches and gut feelings, and that’s why I love Sonia Choquette’s book newly revised edition of Trust Your Vibes: Live an Extraordinary Life by Using Your Intuitive Intelligence.

Sonia is an author and speaker and one the most highly regarded experts in the field of intuition. Feted by everyone from celebrity Fearne Cotton to Oprah’s team, Sonia has become a world-renowned intuitive guide and spiritual teacher over the past 40 years. Author of 27 New York Times best sellers, her books have been published in 37 languages and 40 countries and have been read by over one million people.

‘Intuition is like a secret superpower we all have, ibuprofen alaxan fr ’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘It brings you peace of mind and helps you enjoy your life and helps you to access the innate sense of security, confidence and courage you deserve.’

For this week’s Big Happiness Interview, Sonia talks us through how tuning into our intuition can bring us joy and make us happier.

What is intuition?

It’s an awareness and a consciousness that is that is not centred in our external senses but inside our heart and gut.

Some scientists call the gut the second brain.

We are hard wired with a sixth sense, but we have been culturally conditioned to ignore it. My work has been all about encouraging people not to ignore but to use it to guide your life decisions.

Following your intuition will make you happier because it opens doors that appear closed, connect us to people when we feel alone, even lead us to love when it seems nowhere in sight.

Do we all have a sixth sense?

I have 50 years of experience asking people…. have you ever had an intuitive feeling, a hunch? A gut feeling? I’ve been around the world and I’ve never received a no.

People might say that they don’t trust it, they don’t listen to it and ignore it but no one ever says they don’t have a sixth sense.

Do we have to work on our intuition like a muscle?

No, it’s not something that we have to work on. Nobody has time for that. It’s more like a shift of attention. We just need to pay attention to it, shine a light on it and listen to it. But the more you use your intuitive radar, the stronger and more precise it becomes.

Why might we choose to ignore our intuitive hunches?

Sometimes it’s easier to ask someone else’s opinion so you don’t have to take responsibility. ‘Let’s ask someone else so they’ll tell me what to do.’ We’ve been culturally trained to give our power to authorities. And look where that’s got us!

Nobody can really make choices that really speak to what really matters to us better than ourselves.

Following your intuition will make you happier because it opens doors that appear closed, connect us to people when we feel alone, even lead us to love when it seems nowhere in sight.

I think I’m really intuitive but often I doubt myself. How do I build my confidence?

Working with your intuition is simply activating your inner guidance system and once you’ve done that you will soon be able to distinguish it from doubt, fear and wishful thinking.

Intuition enables us to take our power back. It’s a moment to moment information channel and guide. Just like when you’re on a GPS in a car, if there’s a traffic accident, the guidance will shift. It responds to real time to what’s happening now. So it can change as life shifts.

It’s constantly guiding you home, taking taking care of yourself moment to moment, in the best possible way.

How do you get in touch with your intuition?

Recognise that your intuition isn’t in your head but in your body.

Try it now. Put one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Take a breath. Ask your intuition – what do you feel? Then express it out loud, verbally acknowledge it. After you’ve acknowledged it, you can’t ignore it.

But you’re given a choice. You don’t have to act on it. You’re bringing it to the light of your awareness and then you can choose. If you name it, you claim it.

When you verbalise your intuition, you begin to acknowledge its existence. If you can record it on your smartphone or write it down, you have hard evidence – so you can see what happens if you choose to follow it or not.

I have 50 years of experience of working with people and I know that if you do this for two weeks, it starts to make sense, and you start to trust your intuition more as you realise it’s your inner voice taking care of you.

If you’re used to making logical decisions, that might feel quite scary.

Intuition is different from logic. Logic works by looking to the past, piecing evidence together and drawing a conclusion based on past evidence and assuming that it will always be the same going into the future.

Our world is changing so dramatically right now, that I’m not sure we can make those assumptions with any confidence. The world is moving so quickly, we need an ability to respond to what’s actually happening now versus what has happened in the past.

You don’t just have to dive off the cliff. You can ease into it. But it’s usually obvious.

If you were sitting in dark room and you turned on the light, it doesn’t take long for you to see it’s better with the light on. It’s the same with intuition. Once you turn it on, you begin to recognise pretty quickly your intuition gives you more information to make better decisions.

Intuition enables us to take our power back. It’s a moment to moment information channel and guide. Just like when you’re on a GPS in a car, if there’s a traffic accident, the guidance will shift. It responds to real time to what’s happening now. So it can change as life shifts.

Often we don’t want to listen to the messages from our intuition because we’re scared of change. How do stop feeling afraid?

If you feel afraid, try this. Name three things that you see right in front of you. This brings brings you back into the moment. You might say… I see a window, I see trees, I see a vase. Just look at them. Don’t just skip by them. And take a deep breath between each one and exhale, like you’re blowing out candles. Open your jaw and let out a sigh out of an open mouth. Feel how you get back in your body and back in the present. Then tune in, ask yourself a question that you’re deliberating about and then ask – what is my heart/gut saying?

Nine times out of 10, you’re going to have an answer within five seconds. Remember, you don’t have to listen to your intuition or act on it, just acknowledge it.

Mostly when clients have acknowledged out loud what their intuition is telling them, they feel relieved, not scared. The open jawed sigh works because it relaxes the vagus nerve and allows you to shed stress quickly and centres you. It’s an instant regulator, and gets you out of your fearful head-based thoughts.

How do I use my intuition to make good decisions?

Consider your decision and imagine saying yes or no and see how it feels. Narrow it down to what I call ‘green, amber and red light’ choices.

If you get a strong negative vibe, that’s a red light. It’s suggesting that you stop and you don’t further engage.

If the energy is very positive, it’s a green light. Even though you may be typically more conservative or cautious, go for it.

And if it’s an amber choice, pause until you get some more information. It’s a super simple way of making a decision.

How do you use your intuition to build a happy life?

If you’re in a new situation, whether it’s a new life, a new job, a new neighbourhood, a new area of interest, first thing you want to do is you want to get write down your own priorities and values. Write down what’s most important to you in life. What do you care about? What do you think is meaningful? What is reflective of your integrity, what matters? Write down your values over a period of three or four days, because new ones will come up. Say it out loud, talk about it, bring it into the light of day and ideally into conversation.

As you write it down, you can then reflect, do I value this? For example, you might say, I value my freedom, I don’t want to be controlled. I value consistency. I like my life to be without a lot of drama. I value adventure. I actually don’t want an overly predictable life. I like to explore and discover.

This exercise helps you familiarise yourself with what you want. It’s about reconnecting with yourself and becoming aware of what really matters.

Five ways to boost your intuition

Identify how a bad vibe feels in your body.

Pay attention to how you physically sense bad vibes, such as when someone is lying or misleading you or when something does not feel right, as in a business deal.

Acknowledge bad vibes quickly and out loud and move away as quickly as you can.

Recognise who and what feels good

Always pay close attention to the energy around you and spend as much time with people who make you feel good or doing things that make you feel god.

Speak your truth

Be calm and clear, communicate what works for you and what doesn’t.

Stand up for yourself. It doesn’t mean ranting or raving. Be true to who you are and say so with straightforward, kind, unwavering words.

Be open, enthusiastic, and adventurous

Plan positively, be open to life’s opportunities.

If you hear gossip, disengage

If someone is critical, be silent.

Trust Your Vibes (revised edition) by Sonia Choquette (Hay House, £14.99) is out now.

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