Instincts are behaviors that one is prone to acting out based on prior experiences and genetic predispositions. Intuition is a faculty that can pick up extrasensory information outside of our realm of experience and inherited patterns. Although instincts and intuition are two different things, the two can appear similar.
When an event is happening quickly, it's easy to mistake instincts and intuition. For example, you are driving in your car, and a box falls off the truck in front of you, landing in your lane. You don't have time to stop and need to swerve to avoid impact. Your instinct will jerk the wheel out of subconscious patterning to avoid danger, while your intuition may tell you to go to the right. Your intuition may also come in moments before the box falls and notify you to change lanes now to avoid the road hazard. All of this can occur in seconds, making it difficult to tease out if your decisions are based on your instincts or intuitive guidance.
Some distinctions can be observed to help you decide if you are operating out of an instinctual pattern or listening to intuitive guidance.
Instincts that come from the subconscious are habitual and can seem impossible at times to control. They are loud and occur hastily for immediate gratification or survival.
Helpful, intuitive guidance comes in as a conscious knowing and is always delivered peacefully and purposefully. Intuition will come in softly and is never demanding or intrusive when it's information from your higher self or God.
To learn how to identify an intuitive direct knowing.
Instincts come from the basic need for survival and can promote unhelpful habits or beliefs. Mostly instinctual actions relieve immediate pain or discomfort. Instincts play the short game and do not necessarily support your life goals.
Intuitive guidance plays the long game of life. Higher self intuitive guidance will often have a sacrifice or discomfort in the present for huge payoffs in the future. Frequently intuitive guidance makes small behavior and attitude changes that have lasting positive impacts on your life.
For more on the higher self.
When used to its utmost capacity, your intuition can pick up information from beneficial spiritual guidance sources, such as your soul-level of consciousness, which I refer to as the higher self. Your soul and God are the highest forms of spiritual information because they embody your true identity as a spiritual being and know your path and purpose in life. They are the trusted go-to's for guidance on what will make you not only survive but thrive.
For more on how to use your intuition to build a relationship with your trusted spiritual sources.