Intellectual wellness involves expanding one’s knowledge and skills by engaging in creative and stimulating mental activities through scholastic, technical, or cultural endeavors.
The key to focusing on intellectual wellness is to discover what sparks your interest and to seek out new experiences in those areas. Additionally, exploring new and unknown interests is important, as forming new perspectives is just as much a part of intellectual wellness as strengthening pre-existing knowledge.
One does not have to dedicate hours working on intellectual wellness to experience the benefits. Simply taking a few minutes out of your day, several days a week, to practice your memorization or trying something new is all it takes. Check out these seven strategies to improving your intellectual wellness.
- Test your recall. Make a list (whether it is of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind) and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you are able to remember. For the greatest mental stimulation, try and make the items more challenging.
- Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Take a different route. Because our minds tend to favor patterns, taking the same route to our usual destinations causes our minds to stop paying attention. Try mixing up your routines in order to allow fresh information to stimulate your mind.
- Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
- Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including those subtle herbs and spices.
- Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine motor-skills, such as knitting, drawing, video gaming, assembling a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new skill. Taking up a new sport or learning a musical instrument. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a period of time is ideal for your mind.
Source: Everyday Health
Additional intellectual wellness activities
- 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 Museum of History
- 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, environmental, 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 Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/SEVEN.
Tyler Eilts is a graduate assistant for Health Promotion and Wellness.