Learning new things does more than make you better at trivia night. But many people stop worrying about their intellectual wellness the second they complete their formal education. Let’s look at why it’s an area of wellness that more people should actively cultivate.
What Is Intellectual Wellness?
Intellectual wellness has nothing to do with your IQ number, and you don’t have to be a modern-day Einstein to pursue or improve it. It has to do with learning new skills and knowledge, whether it’s in scholastic or business pursuits or cultural or community activities. Even recreational activities or hobbies can contribute to this form of wellness.
A simple way to think of intellectual wellness is that it involves being a lifetime learner, someone who is continually seeking out new knowledge. So, anything that stimulates your mind counts with this form of well-being.
What Intellectual Wellness Can Do for You
Seeking intellectual wellness can improve your life in every way. Think of it as an opportunity to explore the world around you and reap the benefits.
Need more convincing? Here are some ways that improving your intellectual wellness can better your life.
- By learning about different cultures and ways of life, you can have a better understanding of your fellow man and expand your circle of friends. Who couldn’t use a few extra buddies?
- Traveling, a great way of improving your mind, can ease your stress level, get the creative juices flowing, and can help you get in shape – as long as you don’t overindulge in the local foods too much.
- You can better your financial situation by taking the time to learn about investing, saving, and money management.
- Intellectual wellness gives you the mental tools to process and handle new situations, changes, challenges, or different viewpoints.
- It allows you to come up with creative solutions to any issues or problems you face.
- You’ll better understand that the world isn’t always a black-or-white situation. There are gray areas. Knowing that will help you understand people who have different viewpoints than your own.
- There have been plenty of studies that show a link between staying mentally stimulated and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. By keeping your brain active and engaged, you may ward off this terrible disease or hold it off for as long as possible.
- It can help stimulate your curiosity. Curiosity can spur you to try new things, even if you think you might fail.
Ways to Improve Your Intellectual Wellness
The good news is that honing your intellectual wellness doesn’t require any drastic steps. You won’t have to enroll in school again, which can be an intimidating or unwelcome prospect if you’re middle-aged or older. Of course, if you want to, taking a few classes is a great way to stimulate your intellect as well.
The beauty of improving your intellect is that there’s not only one way to do it.
- Learn a new hobby: Try something you’ve always wanted to but have never had the time or nerve for yet. Whether it’s something like scuba diving, metal detecting, or learning to sew, hobbies can fulfill your life and keep your brain engaged.
- Listen to others around you: carefully considering different points of view can help you think of intelligent questions to ask others and learn from their life experiences. Everyone has stories and knowledge to share.
- Travel: You can learn so much from travel. You can learn new recipes; about new cities, locations, landmarks, and the people who live in that region of the world. Plus, you’ll gain cultural appreciation, which might open your mind to other experiences and knowledge.
- Get creative: Creative endeavors are a great way to expand your mind. You can try your hand at painting, writing, crafting, or photography and see what happens. Even if you aren’t good at it, you’ll still get the benefits.
- Give yourself quiet time: Even daydreaming can help you with this pursuit. Find a quiet place, like a walk in the forest, to wonder how things work or to figure out how to tackle a new challenge you’re contemplating.
- Read: Reading about a variety of subjects can help you, too. You can stick to your favorite niche if you want, but try to grab a few titles that you wouldn’t ordinarily read so you can learn something new.
- Get some exercise: This may sound strange as a way to improve your intellectual wellness, but science backs up this claim: Exercise improves your brain. It helps your blood circulation, which releases hormones and gets more oxygen to the brain. That can help with the growth of new brain cells. Plus, a few minutes of activity can help rev up your concentration levels.
- Create more social connections: You can learn new things from the people you meet. Plus, staying socially isolated is a risk factor in developing dementia, while staying socially connected is good for the brain. So, while you might enjoy keeping to yourself most of the time, it’s not good for your brain. Join a club or an organization to meet more people.
- Shake up your daily routine: People who do the same thing every day aren’t challenging their minds. Can you drive the entire way to your workplace without even remembering the drive? Take a new route, so your brain has to think again. Eat somewhere new when you go out to dinner, rather than the restaurant you go to every week. Little changes like that can get you thinking again instead of operating on autopilot.
- Meditate: If you’re not a big believer in meditation, that’s okay. But consider keeping an open mind and giving meditation a chance. Studies have shown it can positively affect the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory and learning.
Put Yourself Out There
Usually in life, you have to risk something to get great rewards. However, with intellectual wellness, you don’t have to step too far outside your comfort zone to see improvements. There are a number of small everyday steps you can take to bulk up your brainpower. Make it a priority, and watch how it helps your mind.