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Intellectual Wellness: Definition and Examples

This article is part of the series aimed at familiarizing you with the aspects of wellness and helping you build a plan for how to generally improve the quality of your life.

We introduced to you in other articles the physical, emotional, and social ingredients required for a healthy and happy life. The fourth dimension of the wellness wheel is related to what is uniquely human – the one thing that separates us from all other species in the animal kingdom to which we belong.

That is our ability to observe, analyze, think and learn. Intellectual wellness lies in the constant pursuit of acquiring new knowledge, expanding our view on the world and various unknown topics. It is the thirst for mental enrichment by learning new things every day and challenging our thinking and beliefs.

To ensure complete satisfaction in life, we need to find ways to constantly grow intellectually. Curiosity is a natural state of humans, and striving for life-long learning is one way to improve well-being. By making academic, cultural, and creative experiences part of our life, we increase our overall health and happiness.

The following text will shed light in more detail about what intellectual wellness is all about and will explore certain activities you can add to your daily, weekly, or monthly routine to improve yours.

What is Intellectual Wellness

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As the name suggests, intellectual wellness is all about our intellect – the one thing that has made us what we are today – the highest evolved biological species to have ever roamed the Earth. It is our biggest ally and could be our worst enemy, depending on how we utilize it.

Intellectual wellness essentially refers to aiming for an educated and thoughtful understanding of the world that surrounds us. It involves engaging with academic endeavors, creative pursuits, and challenging ourselves with unfamiliar activities.

The intellectually well person values lifelong learning and seeks to foster
critical thinking, develop moral reasoning, expand world­views,
and engage in education for the pursuit of knowledge
.”

Lindsay Bernhagen, PhD

Various aspects of intellectual wellness include our capacity to learn new things, memorize and recall newly acquired information, utilize our critical and logical thinking, analyze and extract valuable deductions. Part of intellectual wellness is also our ability to make decisions quickly based on the information available at hand. Our problem-solving skills are also an essential part of being well-adapt to the ever-changing circumstances in life that give us a feeling of being adequate and successful.

Intellect has many manifestations including logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic, existential, inter-, and intra-personal. Investing in activities aimed at training those areas guarantees a healthy and sharp brain, perception, thinking, and generally better functioning in and with our environment.

Intellectual Wellness Activities

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Intellect is part of our brain and, just like any other muscle, it needs continuous training and exercises to be in shape and healthy. When muscles are challenged, they grow and strengthen, the same applies to the brain.

Studies have shown that training the brain results in the growth of new neurons. The overall efficacy of brain training however has been debatable in scientific circles. A large-scale, cross-sectional investigation held in 2019 concludes that training the brain results in better functioning mainly for tasks that are operationally similar to the training regime and only if performed for an extended period of time.

Based on the above, there is no doubt that spending time regularly on activities that expose us to new information, controversial beliefs, challenging activities, etc., is beneficial to our mental health.

If you feel you need to stretch your thinking and become more flexible in your thoughts, knowledge, and opinions on certain matters, implement the following activities into your routine:

  • Reading
  • Writing in a journal
  • Playing chess and other strategic games
  • Learning a new language
  • Gaining expertise in an unfamiliar matter
  • Acquiring a new skill
  • Engaging in conversations with people of different views

How to Improve Intellectual Wellness

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By keeping an open mind for the world around us, we guarantee ourselves constant growth and expansion of our latent potential. Pushing yourself outside of the comfort zone is the essence of flexing and training your intellectual wellness.

Below we have listed some example activities which you can include in your everyday life.

Intellectual Wellness Goal Examples

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  • Read daily and for fun
  • Take on a new hobby
  • Play strategic games
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Disrupt your routine
  • Do crosswords and sudoku puzzles
  • Organize a road trip and plan each detail carefully
  • Keep a journal and write your thoughts frequently
  • Debate on various topics and advocate for the opposite of your opinion

Conclusion

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In this article, we showed you how important the state of your intellectual wellness is for your overall health, happiness, and satisfaction. It’s not an overstatement to say that keeping your mind flexible, informed, and engaged is just as important as stretching your muscles and working for physical health.

Engaging in stimulating mental practice and getting involved in interaction with others is how you can achieve and improve your intellectual wellbeing.

And remember, one thing is sure – for growth to take place you need to get out of the comfort zone.

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