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I was doing schoolwork this week when my best friend called me. She lives in Oklahoma, so naturally we usually stick to texting each other sappy “I miss you” texts, and sending Draco Malfoy TikTok’s we think the other would like. So when she called me, I knew something was up. [bf_image id="q4s6il-gd0h4-4k9fmm"]

When she started talking to me about her problem, I tried my best to give her some half-decent advice, but let’s be honest here, she’s the psychology major. Any advice I give her just sounds like I’m trying to monologue in a bad Netflix original. But then she said something. She mentioned that she felt this pit in her stomach. This feeling of anxiety that just made everything feel wrong. Immediately my pathetic Riverdale-like monologuing stopped and I knew just what to say.

I knew that feeling- people smarter than me probably call it anxiety (shout out people in STEM, I could never), I call it a gut feeling. And it was trying to tell her something. Countless research has been done on the correlation of anxiety (gut feeling), and decision-making. (Disclaimer: clinical anxiety and feeling anxious are two different things, I’m talking about the later!!) In fact, anxiety is a necessary response that our body employs when we feel like we’re in a threatening situation. Ever heard of the term ‘fight or flight?’ According to the NCBI (there’s a more official name but it is VERY long so I’ll keep it abbreviated), “anxiety increases the attention to negative choice options, the likelihood that ambiguous options will be interpreted negatively, and the tendency to avoid potential negative outcomes...” The basic conclusion I drew from that is that when you feel anxious about a decision you’re about to make, your body is literally sending you a red-flashing, bold-lettered message about something. [bf_image id="qalii9-6hnl4o-5hsyyd"]

When I was in high school I had a teacher who came up to me one day with my test in hand and said, “Chloe. Why did you erase your answer? You literally went back and erased the correct answer and wrote the wrong one in, you need to trust yourself.” Needless to say, I’ve always had a bit of an issue following my gut in the past. This past year I spent 5 months ignoring my gut. I had never gotten bad anxiety before, and yet my days were filled with absolute dread. I knew I was making the wrong choice, deep down my gut did at least. After long horrible months of trying to ignore and dissuade my gut, I finally decided to open my ears (heart?) and listen to that damn gut of mine. Spoiler alert, it was right.

It was almost poetic how immediately after I caved and finally did what my gut wanted me to, I felt a literal weight off my shoulders. It’s cheesy, I know, but there’s no other way to describe it.  I’m not even going to say the stereotypical, “if I could go through it again I would, because it made me a stronger person” queue heart eye emojis, no. Those months sucked. The only thing I really gained was a lesson on gut feelings and some really really cringy, embarrassing stories that, thanks to my loudmouth, a few too many people have heard.

Anyways, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a healthy body is usually pretty smart. You take care of it, and in more ways than one, it’ll always be there to take care of you back. So listen to it.

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Hi! I'm Chloe Fuleihan, and I'm a first-year student at KU and a first-generation American, pursuing a journalism degree as well as a minor in Spanish. My ultimate dream is to live in a large city, and work for an organization like HerCampus that empowers strong women! My passion is helping others and I hope to achieve that through my writing.
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