The intellectual dimension of wellness refers to active participation in scholastic, cultural, and community activities. It encourages creative, stimulating mental activities.
“An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge in improved skills along with expanding potential for sharing with others. An intellectually well person uses the intellectual and cultural activities in the classroom and beyond the classroom combined with the human resources and learning resources available within the community.” (Live Well Winona)
It is important to gain and maintain intellectual wellness because it expands knowledge and skills in order to live a stimulating, successful life. In order to improve intellectual wellness, it is important to value creativity, curiosity, and lifelong learning.
When discussing intellectual wellness, we often mistake it for learning or the amount of knowledge we have accrued in our current life, but it is so much more than that. Intellectual wellness includes our ability to learn and grow from experiences while utilizing various intellectual capabilities. It encourages personal creativity while also focusing on stimulating mental activities. In order for people to be considered intellectually well, they must be capable of using resources available to them to expand their knowledge and improve their skills along with expanding their potential to share with others.
For intellectual wellness, you’ll want to explore issues related to problem solving, creativity, and learning. Try reading books, magazines, and newspapers. Try listening to podcasts, motivational videos, or affirmation music. Try a new hobby such as painting, learning a new instrument, or gardening. As you develop your intellectual wellness, you’ll actively strive to expand and challenge your mind with creative endeavors. This, in turn, will then help you to start seeing challenges not as roadblocks but as stepping stones.
Travelling a wellness path can be both freeing and frustrating. Trying to understand the different types of wellness and how they interact with each other to form our overall wellness can sometimes be tricky.
Below you will find an Intellectual Wellness Assessment created by Live Well. Read each statement carefully and respond honestly by using the provided scoring. When you have completed the assessment, be sure to read over the scoring results and then explore the list of Intellectual Wellness Improvement Tips.
Intellectual Wellness Assessment
Almost Always = 2 points
Sometimes/Occasionally = 1 point
Very Seldom – 0 points
_________ 1. I am interested in learning new things.
_________ 2. I try to keep abreast of current affairs – locally, nationally, and internationally.
_________ 3. I enjoy attending lectures, plays, musical performances, museums, galleries, and/or libraries.
_________ 4. I carefully select movies and television programs.
_________ 5. I enjoy creative and stimulating mental activities/games.
_________ 6. I am happy with the amount and variety I read.
_________ 7. I make an effort to improve my verbal and written skills.
_________ 8. A continuing education program is/will be important to me in my career.
_________ 9. I am able to analyze, synthesize, and see more than one side of an issue.
_________ 10. I enjoy engaging in intellectual discussions.
_________ Total for Intellectual Wellness Dimension
15 to 20 Points – Excellent strength in this dimension.
9 to 14 Points – There is room for improvement. Look again at the items in which you scored 1 or 0. What changes can you make to improve your score?
0 to 8 Points – This dimension needs a lot of work. Look again at this dimension and challenge yourself to begin making small steps toward growth here. Remember: The goal is balanced wellness.
Intellectual Wellness Improvement Tips
Our intellectual wellness is important because it helps to encourage learning and it inspires our exploration. It also helps to stimulate a person’s curiosity, which helps to motivate him or her to try something new and develop an understanding of personal relationships and the relationship held with his or her environment.
Intellectual wellness is having a curiosity about the world around you and having a strong desire to learn. Intellectual wellness is about doing things that expand your view of the world and the way that you think. It’s about learning to be creative in something that you enjoy, which in turn expands your mind and your intellectual wellness.
10 simple steps to increase your intellectual wellness:
Read for fun
It may be hard to do when you are spending most of your time doing required homework and readings, but try to find time during the morning, night, or weekend to sit down and read something for fun. Reading, especially something you enjoy, can improve your intellect by stretching your mind to think about things you normally don’t think about!
Debate an issue with a friend, but choose the viewpoint opposite the one you hold
Sounds tricky, right? That’s the point! Focusing attention on information that is different than your beliefs can improve intellectual wellness. Naturally, we tend to only focus our attention on opinions, beliefs, and facts that hold true to our viewpoints. When you expose the mind to opposing ideas, it expands the mind to grasp new information.
Improve your skills for studying and learning
Learning new things about the way your mind processes information can be a vital tool to helping you succeed.
Learn a foreign language
Learning a foreign language can be beneficial to your intellectual health and your employment prospects. When learning different ways to communicate, your mind expands. This not only helps with being receptive to new knowledge, but also helps broaden information already learned.
Play a game
Board games and cards are popularly known as leisure activities. These activities can also help with your intellectual wellness. The next time you have free time, pick up a deck of cards or pull out a board game and play! It makes no difference whether you are playing alone or you are playing with others. As long as your mind is thinking, improvements are being made.
Play a musical instrument
Music has a powerful impact on our minds. Playing a musical instrument can increase intellectual wellness by learning how to create sounds, make patterns, and emote through music. Any instrument can work to increase intellectual wellness, so start today and take up a new hobby.
Write down your thoughts or journal frequently
Taking the time to write down thoughts or journal frequently can help those who struggle with expressing their feelings or in general for anyone who is trying to make sense of what they are feeling inside. Being able to identify your feelings and understanding yourself more and your actions increase intellectual wellness by exposing your mind to deeper thinking.
Do crossword or Sudoku puzzles
Crosswords and Sudoku are leisure activities that have proved to increase intellectual wellness. Working through puzzles or finding words in patterns uses a great amount of brain power. Increasing your ability to work through these activities can maintain and build your intellectual wellness.
If you don’t exercise, try adding in some type of aerobic activity. Start with a few minutes per day.
Exercise to increase your heart rate for blood circulation. This gets oxygen to the brain and releases hormones. This aids and provides nourishment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new cell connections. This makes it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
- Get up and do some jumping jacks.
- Imitate jumping rope, which you can do indoors.
- Run or jog in place.
- Jog backwards through your house.
- Try yoga or zumba at home.
When you interact with others, you get a boost of well-being. Be active in your social life. You are less likely to develop dementia than those who remain socially isolated. Build your social connections. Have a solid social network. When you do, you are 50% more likely to live longer than those with limited social networks.
Here are some COVID 19 friendly socializing ideas:
- Join a virtual book club. You might read one book a month and then get together for a stimulating discussion via Zoom or Skype or other video platform.
- Have a karaoke party with far-flung friends. Try out an app like Smule.
- Become a pen pal! This is actually how I met one of my best friends a few years ago. We started as snail mail pen pals and then grew to Facebook friends and now we talk almost every day!
- Use any number of video chatting apps—Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts—to have a happy hour with friends
Not exercising your mind can leave you with the fear of losing your intelligence. Or worse, getting Dementia or Alzheimer’s. But those fears don’t have to hold you back. Make a plan of action to improve and maintain your intellectual wellness. Today.
Use the tips above to create your own personal action plan for improving your mind – and then stick to it.
It may take weeks or months, but the sooner you start the sooner you’ll feel better. You’ll feel new excitement. You’ll have confidence you’re doing everything you can to ward off Dementia or Alzheimer’s. And imagine thinking of the future and no longer having that fear.
So, take that first step. It’s easier and more fun than you think. Improve your intellectual wellness. Enjoy your life.
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