It’s All in Your Head
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How many times has your mother told you, “it’s all in your head”? Well, guess what? When it comes to thinking about today’s Wellness Wheel topic, your mother was right… it IS all in your head. Today I am talking about intellectual wellness.
Intellectual wellness is quite possibly my favorite area. I am a “learner for life” and can’t imagine an existence void of creative and intellectually stimulating activities. Whether I’m studying the history of cheese making, Gothic architecture, organizational management, or another current interest, you can bet that it is stimulating to me!
How is your intellectual well-being? I don’t mean “are you a brainiac or a MENSA member?” The question is, are you regularly using the brain God gave you? When you are intellectually healthy, you improve your skills and expand your potential for sharing with others (good for social well-being!) by using a variety of available resources. Libraries, hobby stores, good quality articles, an intellectually stimulating friend, a class taken just for fun, or TED Videos are good places to start.
The benefits of being actively creative and pursuing intellectually stimulating activities is well documented.
Your brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting with the world through perception and action. Mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline, as does physical exercise.
The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words, use it or lose it.
Before old age sets in, you can reap additional benefits of regular mental exercise including such things as improved job performance, better problem solving, more knowledge and a better chance at being successful in life.
My husband and I engage in a lot of interesting, intellectually stimulating conversation. Politics, world news, projects we are working on and recent articles we have read all make for lively discussion. An added benefit of good conversation is that it nurtures the social component of wellness as well. Maybe that is one reason I enjoy my visits to europe so much: people seem to have the habit of engaging in lively conversations regularly.
So, my question to you is this: what are you doing to keep intellectually stimulated? You might have a mentally intense job, and that is a great start. Do you do small things like math manually, or do you grab a calculator? Do you read often? What interests you? Especially if you are a “desk jockey”, do you pursue any creative activities that use your hands?
Remember: If you don’t use it, you loose it.