Intellectual wellness involves expanding knowledge and improving skills through scholastic, technical, or cultural endeavors.
Everyone knows that physical activity is important for the body. But do you know its important to exercise your brain? The number of cells in the brain can start to decline in our mid-20s, but research has shown that the number of connections between brain cells can continue to grow if we exercise our brains. Using your brain pumps blood to the brain which carries oxygen and food to cells. Increasing blood flow to the brain has numerous benefits, including counteracting aging and fighting Alzheimer’s. Even if you are taking classes or work at a job where you use your brain often, it is important to work your mind in multiple ways. Just as cross training is important to working out, you must cross train your brain.
Exercise your memory
Over time, long-term memories can fade. Do this activity to help improve your long term memory:
Choose a year in your past and associate it with what you were doing at that time. Where were you in school? Were you working somewhere? Then, expand your recollections into other events in the world at large—sporting events, political activities, major world events, and cultural happenings. What did you wear? Who did you spend most of your time with? This reminiscent exercise can be used at any time in life.
Sensory memory is the recall associated with the senses, such as touch, smell, and hearing. Paying attention to what is going on around you is an important part of making memories. To stimulate your sensory memory, grab a friend and go to the kitchen. Ask them to hand random items such as chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, peanut butter and or other familiar odors. Try to identify as many items as you can and try again on another day to see if you can improve your score.
The working memory is the most vital to our everyday lives. It is what allows us to keep several different things in mind at once. To exercise your working memory, do self quizzes such as this one associated with US presidents. Name the U.S. presidents in order going backwards starting with Barack Obama to John F. Kennedy. Then, arrange them in chronological order starting with Kennedy, assigning each his proper party affiliation. Next, list them alphabetically. The ability to perform more than one function at a time stretches the working memory.
Additional intellectual wellness activities
- Learn or practice a new skill
- Explore current events
- Read a book
- Attend a lecture
- Watch an educational show or listen to an educational podcast
- Learn a new language
- Travel somewhere new
- Play brain games such as activities found on BrainBashers.com and Braingle.com.
Campus and local resources
- Heartland Community Education
- Intellectual wellness board on Pinterest
- McLean County History Museum
- Registered Student Organizations
- Ucollege Support Programs
- UCollege Workshops
Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environment, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive the SEVEN newsletter and information on campus wellness events. For more information, visit Seven.IllinoisState.edu.