Basic female instincts

by Mark Rowe

Madiha Adil, Self Defence Practitioner of Get Licensed discusses the reasons why female intuition can be used to protect you in dangerous situations.

Have you ever suddenly felt uneasy without really knowing why? The hairs stand up on the back of your neck and a pit forms in your stomach, and you just know something isn’t right. That’s your intuition kicking in!

Intuition is thought to be the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a quick subconscious decision. Some experts argue intuition isn’t just in the brain, but the stomach too – those butterflies you feel when uneasy are actually neurotransmitters responding to emotions.

It’s long been thought that while men have access to ‘gut instinct’, societal pressures of suppressing emotions to be more masculine have hindered male intuition. Women, on the other hand, are generally encouraged to be in tune with their emotions, making female intuition more widely recognised and accepted.
However, studies have found that a woman’s intuition goes deeper than cultural gender expectations.

On a biological level, women have increased brain activity as well as greater blood flow in areas of the brain that control memory and emotion, which could explain why women exhibit intuition more than men.

Being wary of your surroundings

Rather than preparing to fight off potential threats with physical strength, the smarter and safer way to avoid danger is to be aware of your surroundings and recognise where threats may lie. Women typically tend to be better at surveying their environment to look for potential dangers and are often found to be more cautious and suspicious of danger.

A study by YouGov found that women have felt disproportionately less safe doing everyday activities in comparison to men, with almost half saying they “always” or “often” feel unsafe when walking down an alleyway by themselves (49 per cent) or when walking alone at night (46pc). In contrast, only 11 and 13 percent of men felt the same.

With women seemingly feeling more vulnerable, yet statistically less likely to act when confronted with danger, it’s important that you lean into your intuition and let your instincts kick in to avoid areas that make you feel unsafe in order to protect yourself.

Recognising emotions

Have you ever wondered why women seem to be better at picking up on other people’s emotions?

Studies have shown that women tend to be better at reading non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions, allowing them to better recognise emotions.

Recognising emotions is essential to keeping yourself safe when faced with a threatening person and being aware of the unspoken signs early can allow you to avoid a potentially dangerous confrontation. So, why are women better than men at recognising emotions? It’s been argued that women’s increased empathy allows them to more accurately decode non-verbal cues.

This empathetic ability is not only beneficial for avoiding dangerous situations but could also help a woman get out of one, since a woman is more likely to react with a ‘tend and befriend’ as opposed to a ‘fight or flight’ response when confronted with a stressful situation.

Lean into maternal instincts

Though not all women are predisposed to have maternal instincts, the pull a mother feels for their child’s welfare is thought to be one of the strongest instincts a woman can have. Researchers suggests that women evolved to have stronger instincts to better protect their offspring from potential threats and increase the infant’s chances of survival.

However, this maternal feeling isn’t necessarily just reserved for children – you can feel the same nurturing instinct for all living things such as partners, pets and even plants.

This heightened awareness of danger is an advantage for women and should be tapped into not only to protect themselves, but also other people.

This natural ability to protect other people in dangerous situations is one reason why the CIA claims women make the best spies.

Photo by Mark Rowe; Street art, north London.

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