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Intellectual Wellness or Thinking wellness encourages participating in mentally stimulating and creative activities.  Improving intellectual wellness can happen in and out of the classroom.  It is the ability to think critically, reason objectively, make responsible decisions, and explore new ideas and different points of view.  It also emphasizes lifelong learning and inspires curiosity.

Intellectual Wellness is having a curiosity and strong desire to learn. It is valuing many experiences, staying stimulated with new ideas, and sharing. It is responding to challenges and opportunities to grow, making plans, developing strategies, and solving problems. It is the ability to engage in clear thinking and recall, and to think independently, creatively, and critically.

Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents to be creative and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. When you foster your intellectual wellness, you participate in activities that cultivate mental growth. Reading, doing challenging puzzles such as crosswords or Sudoku, debating issues with others who have opposing viewpoints, learning a new language or musical instrument, trying a new hobby, or teaching and tutoring others are all ways to maintain or improve your intellectual wellness. When you challenge yourself to learn a new skill, you are building your intellectual health. People who pay attention to their intellectual wellness often find that they have better concentration, improved memory, and better critical thinking skills.

Thinking, or cognitive wellness, is about expanding your knowledge and stimulating your brain by taking part in activities that feed your curiosity and express your creative talents.

The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.

Why it is important

Nurturing your wellness in this area can:

  • Teach you strategies to manage day-to-day tasks of life, work and school
  • Help you expand your knowledge and skills
  • Keep your mind active and stimulated
  • Create new learning pathways in the brain

What can you do to improve your intellectual wellness?

If you are interested in strengthening your thinking or “cognitive” skills, some things to consider are

  • Take a course or workshop
  • Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
  • Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
  • Read
  • Learn to appreciate art
  • Use tools & technology to keep yourself organized. Creating lists or using a daily planner can help you keep track of your daily activities. There are many free, or low-cost smartphone apps available to help you create lists, task and appointment reminders. Or, just writing it down may help.
  • Take notes during a conversation or a meeting.
  • Exercise your brain. Your brain is like a muscle and regular activities that are challenging, new and different can help create new learning pathways. Consider reading new and difficult material or learning a new language or musical instrument. Choose activities that are interesting but do not add to your stress level.
  • Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or learning how to play chess are a few examples of games that challenge your thinking.
  • Get enough sleep. Memory and thinking problems are made worse by a lack of sleep.
  • Write more or keep a journal of your thoughts and experiences. This can also be a way for you to keep track of any memory problems that you are experiencing.
  • Keep your body active. Staying physically active helps all parts of your body, including your brain. Moving more will improve your mood, make you feel more alert and less tired.
  • Try not to multi-task. This is easier said than done in our busy lives but focusing on one thing at a time can help.
  • Practice “active listening” by repeating back information you just heard someone say. (For example, “OK, so what you are saying is…”)

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I getting enough sleep, and if not, what can I do to improve my sleep habits?
  • What new and interesting activity would I most enjoy doing?
  • Is there a class I am interested in taking?
  • Are there techniques I can use to help me concentrate better?
  • What tools would work for me to keep track of events and tasks? Should I use a paper-based system or technology tool?

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