When we think about intellectual wellness, what often comes to mind may be academic performance or IQ scores. However, intellectual wellness is so much more! Consider famous individuals such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin—despite performing poorly in school, they turned out to be some of the greatest minds in history.

Intellectual wellness can be defined as maintaining optimal cognition for learning, problem solving, and decision making in daily life. It involves being open to new ideas, critical thinking, and learning new skills. Intellectual wellness is not just about making yourself smarter; it is the ability to share your learning with others and enriching your community.

Benefits of intellectual wellness:
• Invigorates your mind through knowledge and discovery, expanding your world.
• Makes you curious to learn more, which may lead you to surprising discoveries.
• Enhances your memory power, recall, and concentration.
• Improves your critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills, enabling you to be more productive and more equipped to handle challenges.

Ways to increase intellectual wellness:
• Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to explore your interests and discover new ideas. They are convenient, too—podcast on your commute, while running, or while preparing your meals.
• Play mind-stimulating games. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and board games such as Clue, Risk, and Pandemic are great ways to exercise your brain! Some online game ideas: Lumosity, mindgames.com.
• Learn a new language. Not only does this expand your mind; you also become more receptive to new knowledge and new ways of thinking.
• Play an instrument. Music enhances your creativity, is also a powerful avenue for feeling and processing emotions, and is a great way to alleviate stress.
• Explore your taste buds. Get creative in the kitchen! Learn a new recipe or experiment with new ingredients.

Cultivating intellectual wellness doesn’t need to take a huge amount of time and dedication. Start in small ways, and don’t be afraid to explore! Do you have any ideas on enhancing intellectual wellness? Share your thoughts with us at Wellness@IllinoisState.edu—we’d love to hear from you!

Interested in further developing personal wellness? Consider joining LIVE WELL with Eight at State, a free incentive-based program designed to support healthy living in Illinois State University students, staff, and faculty.