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"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transferred by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

What is Intellectual Wellness?

According to SAMHSA, intellectual wellness is recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills.


Why is Intellectual Wellness Important?

"The brain changes most rapidly in childhood, but it's now clear that the brain continues to develop throughout life. "(Psychology Today) Creativity and learning new things stimulate our intellectual wellness, which improves our overall health.

Our brain is continually adapting in response to our experiences and environment. "There is growing evidence that the brain maintains the ability to change and adapt so that people can manage new challenges and tasks as they age." (nih.gov) But we must pursue meaningful activities, seek to learn new skills, attain a greater understanding of diverse topics, be willing to debate opposing views, etc. All these activities act to stimulate the mind and improve our intellectual wellness.   


Mental Stimulation Keeps Your Brain Engaged.

Internal thoughts and the external environment can spark mental stimulation. Anything that gets us thinking (brainy activities) contributes to improved cognitive function. Awareness, memory, reasoning, concentration, etc. "Scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological "plasticity" and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss." (Harvard.edu) Keeping our minds active and engaged can reduce the symptoms of specific mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, boredom, and stress. 


Let's explore a couple of ways to keep our minds engaged.   


4 Strategies to Improve Intellectual Wellness

  • Try something new (learn a new skill)

Let your imagination run wild.  Explore a new museum. Take a cooking class. Start a new business. Play a new sport (have you ever heard of cheese rolling; apparently, it's popular in England and gaining popularity). Listen to a different genre of music. The only caveat is to stay curious. Developing a continuous habit of learning keeps our brains and bodies active and engaged. 

We find our purpose in life, something meaningful for others and meaningful to us, by doing.  

  • Improve critical thinking

Ask Questions! I think Carl Sagan said it best "there is no such thing as a dumb question." When we ask questions, we expand our knowledge and the knowledge of those around us. Critical thinking allows us to stay actively engaged in conversations, develops our understanding, ideas, views, and opinions. It encourages us to challenge the norm. It also gives us a chance to remove objectivity and expose ourselves to differences - new ideas, people, beliefs.



  • Develop self-awareness


Take time to observe ourselves - our thoughts, habits, and tendencies. Learn who we are and what we value. Identify our strengths and weaknesses.  Our thoughts have the power to control the direction of our life. What we think about, what we choose to believe (whether it's right or wrong), and our motivations guide the direction of our life. Awareness is the first step to creating the life we want. 


  • Read


Reading has the power to transform our minds. Research has shown that even fiction can improve ones' ability to empathize to understand the feelings and beliefs of others better. (Healthline) It can also expand our minds and perspective by exploring new ideas and, at the same time, improving our cognitive function, vocabulary, and concentration.  


Now that our minds are engaged. What should we do?


Are You Looking for A New Opportunity?

Intellectual wellness focuses on improving our brain health - concentration, creativity, memory, and cognitive development. It also creates new opportunities, driven by our interests, to explore those things or activities that fascinate us and encourage us to want to learn more.

Have you ever considered changing careers? Or maybe your spouse has been transferred to a new assignment (this can be exciting and nerve-wracking). Or perhaps you want to explore a new hobby. Any of these situations may motivate us to learn a new skill or try something new.

Being able to approach these opportunities with sound logic and reasoning will help us make better choices for ourselves and our families.

Intellectual wellness encompasses creativity, learning, and stimulating our minds to improve our overall health. Trying new things, engaging in thoughtful conversations, and reading are just a few ideas to expand our knowledge. Engaging in stimulating thoughts and activities keeps our brains young and leads to a well-rounded, mindful individual.

Adopt a "life-long learning" philosophy. Stay Curious! 


Questions to Guide Your Intellectual Wellness:

  1. Do you spend time on personal and professional development?

  2. Do you engage in mentally stimulating activities?

  3. Do you find ways to use your creative and critical thinking skills?

  4. Are you open to learning new skills, exploring new ideas?

  5. Are you open to learning about different topics that interest you from books, magazines, blogs, etc.?

  6. Do you seek to learn new things and exercise your brain?

  7. Do you play brain games, mind teasers, or fun memory-enhancing games?

  8. Do you remain informed about social, political, and other current events?

If you start exploring intellectual wellness and find yourself unable to tap into your creative side or feel like you’re struggling with some form of diminished cognitive function (concentration, focus, etc.) please follow the link to talk more about how I can support you on this journey. WovenGrace Wellness.

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