What comes to mind when you think of Intellectual Wellness? When we are children our brains are constantly taking in new information, problem-solving, and stretching. As we age, many of us fall into comfortable patterns. Perhaps we’ve been doing the “same” work for 10, 15 or even 30 years now with little variety or need to take on new skills?
Intellectual Wellness is all about recognizing your creative abilities and expanding your knowledge and skills – whatever the area! Diminishing the importance of Intellectual Wellness is one component that often leads to that feeling of “playing small”. When we know we have gifts and talents to share with the world, but man, the fears of “not enough” or perfectionism block us from confidently sharing. When we stop growing mentally, it can lead to lack of energy and atrophy in other areas.
So, what’s the best way to combat this downfall? How do we spark more interest in this dimension of wellness?
Curiosity. Simple. Raw. Curiosity… for anything! And everything!
When I partner with coaching clients who rate their Intellectual Wellness at an 8, 9, or 10 (on a 1-10 scale) very often they have a couple of things in common.
They embrace their love of learning.
They recognize mental stimulation as an enhancement to their lives and overall wellness.
They have a hobby that is challenging and allows space for creativity (i.e: dance lessons, playing a musical instrument, tinkering with technology, taking up a new language, cooking classes).
The benefits of a hobby like that is two-fold. They are creating new neuropathways by trying something new AND they’re experiencing the benefits of single-focus on an enjoyable pastime. Often, this is when people experience that sense of “flow”. Have you experienced that before? That feeling you get when you engage with something for hours and not count the minutes? For me, it’s volleyball. I’ve loved it from a young age and can play for hours. I’m completely immersed in the physical and mental challenge and simple fun of the game.
On the flip-side, multi-tasking is a great way to kill your sense of Intellectual Wellness and growth. When we do that, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. We’re relying on our brain to jump between two (or 5!) different tasks and the energy is taxing. As a result, we give up easier and we don’t feel productive. We’re exasperated that it wasn’t as fun as we remember when we were young.
This is the perfect opportunity to take on the habits of a child!
Turn your cell phone off.
Allow yourself some S P A C E, (get bored).
Let go of expectations that something “should” be a certain way.
Embrace the process of learning.
We humans crave challenge! My challenge to you… what’s one way you can support your Intellectual Wellness this week? Brush the dust off that book on your nightstand…order that “How to build a computer for dummies”…explore Coursera… dig out that old instrument… The options as endless! Have fun!
You may be surprised that taking care of your health in this way – Intellectual Wellness – overflows to other dimensions and your greater sense of well-being.
To Your Wellness,