Intellectual Wellness is one of the 7 Aspects of Wellness, the major life areas we need to focus on for creating a complete lifestyle of overall wellness. This wellness aspect broadens our horizons and opens our eyes to all the dimensions of life. If we’re feeling a little bored, odds are we need to strengthen our Intellectual Wellness. When our minds are stimulated, we’re more likely to feel energized and satisfied with life.
At its heart, Intellectual Wellness is about a lifetime commitment to learning and mental growth. Learning may sound boring to some, perhaps a little too much like school, but in reality, we are constantly learning through our experiences and insights. Harnessing the power of directed Intellectual Wellness allows us to take our learning to the next level. We can explore the world around us, discover new skills and cultivate talents—and tap into our creativity. Any kind of intellectual activity can strengthen our minds, and nothing says it can’t be fun! Learning doesn’t have to be academic, though that’s certainly a valid form of learning.
The key is for each of us to find what interests us and seek out new experiences in those areas. It’s also important to explore new and unknown territory, perhaps by engaging in a new hobby. New perspectives are as much a part of Intellectual Wellness as strengthening existing knowledge.
Explore this list of quick and easy things that can be done to sharpen Intellectual Wellness:
-Read something every day. Reading doesn’t have to be a chore. When we read anything—a magazine article, a newspaper story, or even an indulgent romance novel—we’re exercising and strengthening communication among the synapses in our brains. Studies have shown that regular reading can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It also gives us something to talk about the next time we’re stumped for conversation, say, when meeting a new person. What we read isn’t important; anything we’re interested in will work just fine. The important thing is to take part in the activity of reading itself.
-Create something. When we engage in the creative process, we use parts of our brain that may rarely get exercised. Being creative can be fun, and it can help us to see any number of things from a different perspective. It doesn’t matter if we have “talent” or if we create what we consider “art,” because the learning (and therefore the real value) is in the process. The materials don’t matter either. Colored pencils, paint, even crayons will work. Simply letting it flow will show us a whole new side of ourselves, and self-revelation is a vital part of learning.
-Visit a museum. There are museums devoted to all manner of topics, from natural history to science to art. Going to a museum is a fun and interactive way to expose ourselves to new ideas and information. We can go to a museum that caters to our personal interests or we can branch out, exploring something completely out of the ordinary for us. We can even do both. Museums are great places to have learning adventure, and we’re bound to have a new experience every time we go.
-Take a different route. Our minds get used to patterns, so taking the same route to our usual destinations—work, friends’ houses, the grocery store, school—causes our minds to stop paying attention. When we try a different way, we zap ourselves back into the moment and we begin to notice everything that is going on around us because of all the fresh information coming in. This might not sound like an intellectual activity, but it is. It exercises our brains and causes us to expand our horizons.Mixing up routines is a guaranteed way to learn a little something new, and we’ll usually feel more inclined to explore even greater possibilities for learning in the future.
-Listen to music. That’s right. Listening to music is a form of learning that many of us may never even consider a part of Intellectual Wellness. Studies have shown that both listening to and learning how to play music can increase competency in math. Why? These cognitive skills use similar parts of the brain. As our minds work to make sense of the music, our brains are working to assimilate all the patterns that are going on at once. Listening to music may not sound like a way to increase Intellectual Wellness, but it is—especially if we seek out types of music that we’ve never heard before!
We don’t have to spend hours on our Intellectual Wellness each and every day to reap significant benefits. Just a few minutes a day, several days a week will get the job done. Intellectual Wellness is the wellness aspect that adds extra spark to our lives, and if we take on these projects with a sense of adventure, we’ll notice an amazing difference in no time!
Jessica Rhodes is a certified wellness advisor for the 123 Feel Better Company. The 123 Feel Better® Life Change System™ is a wellness program designed to help individuals reach their wellness goals and live fuller, more complete lives. 123 Feel Better is based on the 7 Aspects of Wellness™ model. Learn how to make real changes in the areas of Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Environmental, Occupational, Social, and Intellectual Wellness to create a balanced life with 123 Feel Better and our free wellness resources at 123 Feel Better.