Almost everyone has experienced a moment when they knew something was going to happen.

Like the time your friend just popped into your head, then the next day, totally out of the blue, you bumped into her in the street.

What most people don’t realize is that premonitions are coming to you regularly, perhaps every day.  It takes an expanded state of awareness to receive them all, and it comes from being really present.

Most of the time we’re up in our ticker-tape minds.  But if we stop, b-r-e-a-t-h-e, and listen, we will begin to sense an inner guidance system that waves us away from danger and beckons us towards joy.

Here’s how you can spot and follow the premonitions coming to you.

Premonitions come in all shapes and sizes — from good news to the absolute worst news, from the momentous to the mundane, from screaming loud to a whisper.

What all premonitions have in common is that they are giving us a sense of coming attractions, so we can decide in advance if we want to attend.

If we pay attention to the scary premonitions, they can absolutely save our lives or the lives of those we love.  Mothers, especially new mothers, often notice a rise in their intuition, and their ability to sense danger before it happens. This is our specie’s adaptive  behavior that has enabled us to survive.

If we pay attention to the positive premonitions, we can make happier choices and become more fulfilled.

We can also help the world around us because premonitions are not just about us. They are about everyone whose lives will be affected whether or not we heed our premonitions.

If we pay attention to the simple tiny little everyday premonitions, we will have even greater awareness about the direction of our lives — like going through life with 20-20 vision instead of the usual myopia.

Premonitions can come through dreams or hypnagogic experiences when you are half awake.  Some people say they don’t dream.  Not true. You dream every night. To remember these hidden gems of truth, keep a dream diary next to your bed and train yourself to write down your dreams.  You’ll discover a rich inner guidance system.

A client nearly lost a job offer because she was waiting to hear from a company she preferred. Then she had a dream in which she over heard the preferred company’s CEO telling the HR director that he wasn’t going to hire her, even though in reality he was stringing her along. The vividness of the dream was the clue it was a true premonition. The day she accepted the offer she had in front of her, the preferred company revealed they’d hired someone else. Good thing she listened to her dreams.

Some premonitions are powerful and noisy and others arrive in a whisper.

One very loud, even screaming premonition happened to a student of mine when she had left her young children at home with her husband while she went grocery shopping. While waiting at the check-out, she suddenly became aware there was a fire at home where her children were playing. It went off in her head like an alarm. She did not hesitate. She abandoned  the groceries at the check-out, rushed out of the store, sped home and burst into her house screaming to her surprised husband that there was a fire in the playroom.  It turns out that one of the children had draped a hot electric light with paper causing it to ignite.

These loud premonitions are unmistakable and leave little room for dithering.  When they go off in your psyche, you are going to feel very uncomfortable unless you act.

More commonly, premonitions are gentle, more subtle signals which, added together, can guide you to happiness and steer you away from disappointment.  They are happening in your nervous system throughout the day, so pay attention to your senses.

Notice, for example, when you are smiling about a future event – your smile is your sign. Notice when enthusiasm surges within you about an impending activity. The word enthusiasm is from the Greek “to go with God, or “the divine flowing through you.” The Greeks knew that surges of happy positive feelings are signals to continue in that direction. Notice when you feel goosebumps or tingling — these are often signs that truths have been revealed.  Or if you feel tears of joy – also signs of truth, and love.

When I first heard the sound of my husband’s voice over 30 years ago, it was on the phone, and something deep and wondrous surged through me. I was captivated in a way I’d never felt before. I tried to ignore it, but the power of the feeling was unmistakable.

Conversely, notice what makes you frown or tired or feel dread. And behave accordingly.

If your back aches and when you think about cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and you suddenly feel tired, you may be taking on too much of the task for your own, and everyone else’s well being.  Consider getting guests to help with the meal until you find you are smiling and looking forward to it. They will also feel more engaged, raising the energy of the whole event. But maybe it wasn’t the cooking that was making your back hurt and the fatigue overwhelm  you. Maybe it was the prospect of  hosting your grumpy Uncle Jerry. Maybe it is time for you to have TG without the company of someone who drags you down.

Remember these premonitions are not only about your own reaction to an event, but the overall energy of the situation. So by arranging your choices so that they bring a smile rather than a frown to your face, you will be raising the happiness levels for everyone involved.  So by heeding your body’s warnings, you can make it better for everyone, including your grumpy uncle.

So don’t overrule your premonitions to please someone else, not Uncle Jerry or anyone. Sometimes, the consequences can be worse than just having a bad time.

In Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear, de Becker, a personal security expert, interviewed people who’d been assaulted.  He asked them if they had felt or noticed anything before the attack that gave them a clue that something bad was going to happen. Almost everyone remembered noticing signs of  danger, clues something wasn’t right. But some of these people, to their regret, allowed themselves to be talked out of their concerns. One woman’s perpetrator told her it was silly for her not to let him help her with her groceries into her apartment. He cheerfully wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her submissive personality deferred to his dominance.  This is denial, which de Becker calls “the enemy of safety.” So many of the victims  he interviewed had talked themselves out of their sense that danger was lurking.

A few weeks before this writing, a rising American baseball star, Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, died in a tragic boat accident with two friends. A third friend, Will Bernal, shared Facebook messages between himself and one of the victims, Eduardo Rivera, the two had exchanged just hours before the accident.  Both had a foreboding about the prospective outing.   Fernandez had been upset over his girlfriend and wanted to ride  around with friends later that night on his boat. While you might argue that it wasn’t premonition but common sense not to go out on a boat at night, the dread that Bernal felt was more than common sense.  In the messages Bernal later posted on Instagram, he had tried unsuccessfully to dissuade Rivera from going on the boat with Fernandez that night.  “Yo please be careful, bro,” he messaged. “Keep Jose close to shore.”

Neither was smiling about the impending boat ride; Banal said that both had a bad feeling about it, but Rivero did not want to say no to his superstar friend. Rivera overruled his better sense to please Fernandez. Had he obeyed his psyche’s warnings, it’s possible that not only would he have been saved, but Fernandez too might have stayed home that night. Thus premonitions, when heeded, can help many lives, in this case, it would have save tens of thousands from grief and loss and altered the course of baseball history.

Whether your premonitions are positive or negative — urging you forward, or waving you away, the most important thing to remember before overriding your premonitions to please someone else is that your premonitions are telling you what’s going to be best for all involved.

I’d love to  hear about your premonitions – the ones you heeded, and how they helped you.