6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

The mind, the body, and the spirit are universally recognized as the three main pillars of personal wellness. Similar to the way that a tripod balances itself on three legs, each pillar of wellness requires an equal amount of attention and support for you to achieve optimal balance in life. With that being said—and in my humble opinion—the mind is the most vital pillar of them all since it serves as the central processing center for all of our actions and all of our beliefs.

Similar to space exploration, no matter how much you learn about yourself, you may only be scratching the surface of your mental limits. And it seems that the more that we learn, the further we want to go. Either way, the pursuit of knowledge and understanding keeps us moving forward, constantly searching for greater substance and meaning in our lives—no matter where we come from, no matter our age.

Intellectual wellness essentially refers to having an educated and insightful understanding of our ever-changing surroundings. It suggests that we should be open-minded about learning new concepts and trying new experiences that have the potential to improve our perception of ourselves and our decision-making processes.

No matter how much we may like things just the way they are, the world is constantly in motion and change is an inevitable part of the human experience. Intellectual wellness emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to our surroundings as it works to integrate our mind, body, and spirit in harmony.

Here are 6 proven ways to improve your intellectual wellness:

1. Read a Book

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”—Carl Sagan

Reading is like having a train ticket to go anywhere in the world at any time in history and learn almost everything that you ever wanted to know about anyone or anything that ever existed from an almost infinite number of perspectives. Furthermore, reading at a young age has been proven to significantly increase vocabulary in adulthood, which in turn has been shown to directly correlate to higher socioeconomic advancement through increased opportunity.[1]

Additionally, reading not only challenges you to stay focused on the words that you see but also on the context in which those words are intended to be interpreted. Therefore, reading can actually help increase your comprehension skills, strengthen your attention span, while simultaneously expanding your global perspective on any given subject.

2. Go Back to School

You are never too old to learn something new. However, if your schedule is anything like mine, I know that you probably feel as though you may not have any more head-space, nor room on your to-do list to go back to school any time soon. Nevertheless, this may be the perfect time to challenge yourself intellectually and do exactly that, especially now, while the world begins to recover from the pandemic.

Your mind is similar to a muscle, without exercising it regularly, it can lose its strength, as well as its form. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that people who are intellectually stimulated at work experience greater job satisfaction and ultimately live happier lives.[2]

If you are feeling burned out, uninspired, financially displaced, or just ready to try something new, this may be an ideal time to learn a new craft, skill, or even a foreign language. Distance learning programs, for example, are offered by colleges and universities from all over the world. Almost anyone with a laptop and internet access now has the ability to go back to school to either become more proficient in a subject that they have already studied or learn more about a subject that they have always wanted to learn without ever having to leave the comfort of home.

3. Grow Your Career Path

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”—Mark Twain

As you learn more about the world around you through reading and education on your intellectual wellness journey, your career path will probably broaden as you gain greater insight. Whether you are making a fortune in the stock market or just making a living in retail, you may have been thinking about making a career change or at least exploring an alternate route along your current professional path.

Nevertheless, rather than running out and making a major career change today, perhaps start by trying to figure out exactly what type of work will give you the greatest sense of professional satisfaction. Carefully consider your personal interests, current skill set, financial expectations, as well as both your emotional and physical strengths and limitations.

Next, take a comprehensive look at the investment of both time and money required to make the career change. Finally, try to connect with someone already in the field that you want to enter to get the real inside scoop. Although you may need to be a little flexible on some of your expectations, I am confident that if you keep an open mind and stay laser-focused on your intellectual wellness, you will ultimately find your perfect professional fit.

4. Start a New Hobby

In simple terms, a hobby is an activity that we do regularly for pleasure in our leisure time. They can be as simple and as inexpensive as collecting seashells on the beach or much more costly and time-consuming, such as restoring classic cars in your garage.

Hobbies are an excellent way to break free from the monotony of your normal daily routine by taking you away from all of your responsibilities, even if only for a few precious moments. Additionally, hobbies can help strengthen your sense of self-esteem as you build the breadth of a collection or your competency in performing a skill required to participate in the hobby that you chose, such as flying model airplanes and drones.

5. Play Games of Strategy

“All work and no play” makes for a boring life. Intellectual wellness can also be fun. Most games require some form of strategy to win. The more proficient you are in playing whatever game you choose, the higher the probability that you should be able to do well in the game.

So, I suggest that you consider choosing a game that challenges you to use as much strategy and skill as possible, rather than a game that is more about chance. Chess, for example, is one of the best strategy-based games to help you improve your overall intellectual wellness. As a matter of fact, research has shown that chess has been proven to improve memory, increase mental processing speed, build self-awareness, and even protect against dementia.[3]

6. Plan a Road Trip

With continued caution and plenty of common sense, this could actually be a great time for a road trip, even if you never actually travel outside of your own hometown. Although there are still some travel restrictions in place, most of us are now able to move relatively freely within our local communities.

Travel has the potential to increase your intellectual wellness by broadening your horizons, increasing your sense of self-awareness, and improving your communication skills. And perhaps most importantly, especially right now, travel can increase your intellectual wellness by helping you adapt to your surroundings.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, intellectual wellness may be more important now than ever. From farming to finance, family, faith, and even personal freedoms, the recent global pandemic essentially forced all of us to reevaluate how we perform almost every aspect of our lives. We have all just witnessed firsthand how fragile life can be, while at the same time, witnessed how much we can accomplish when we work together as a global community to overcome a common problem or defeat a common enemy—for example, developing an effective vaccine to stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly bat-borne virus.

Fortunately, however, you don’t have to be an infectious disease expert nor a genius to achieve your own level of intellectual wellness. You just need to have the desire to expand your intellectual horizon along with an open mind. And if that happens to be you, this just may be the perfect time to do a little work on your own intellectual wellness.

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] ^ The Guardian: Boys who live with books ‘earn more as adults’
[2] ^ Harvard Business Review: Does Work Make You Happy? Evidence from the World Happiness Report
[3] ^ NCBI: Chess Practice as a Protective Factor in Dementia

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