Most people don’t think of intellectual wellness as an important piece of being and living well, but it definitely is! Our brain drives a great deal of what we do in each moment – decisions, actions, communication. It allows us to learn and to function in society and in business. Though we don’t always use the full capacity of our brain, most of it is active almost all of the time (using only 10% is a myth)! And we have the power to harness the unused potential and increase intelligence by exercising and training the brain. Think of it as a muscle that can get stronger if you work on it.
In order to take care of the brain, we need to feed it – literally and figuratively. Though only 2% of the human body by weight, it requires up to 20% of the body’s energy. Anti-oxidants and healthy fats are the best brain foods; blueberries, chocolate, coffee, seeds (like flax and pumpkin), nuts (like walnuts), and fish (like salmon and cod) are all brain boosting foods to integrate into your daily eating routine. What depletes it on the other hand? Processed foods, fried foods, sugar, alcohol, and dairy can contribute to the rise and fall of blood sugar which can spark mood swings and depression.
Feeding the brain figuratively comes from challenging it so new pathways can develop and grow. Exercising your brain helps enhance your intellectual wellbeing. Here are 5 things you can do to “feed” your brain.
- Master an important skill. Dedicate yourself to developing a skill that is important to you and your life. If you are an accountant, are there new regulations you need to know? If you are an artist, do you need to become more adept with a particular medium? We can always learn more and improve what we know. Become the go-to expert on something you are passionate about!
- Cultivate a new hobby. Finding something that sparks your imagination and keeps you engaged with life when all the other things quiet down helps to feed your natural energy levels. You may find your hobby is as complicated as learning a string instrument or as simple as creating a game night with your friends. Whatever it is, it’s something to look forward to, it stimulates your mind, and it can’t wait for you to get to it.
- Do something creative. Clay pottery, painting, jewelry making, and dance are just a few examples of giving your creativity a shot in the arm. Allowing ourselves the freedom to express our creativity in whatever medium suits our purpose can help us realize that our soul expression can manifest itself in any and all parts of our lives more fluidly than ever!
- Practice a new mindset. How we see the world around us is often vastly different than the person standing right next to us. We have experiences, and we make agreements between ourselves and our environment. Our experiences and agreements can be inflexible, but if we consciously choose, we can gain new perspective. Through reading books on subjects that challenge our own belief systems, by volunteering with those who suffer from something you’ve never been exposed to, by joining meetups that don’t seem to fit your general lifestyle, we can find a new mindset and open new pathways in our brain.
- Give your brain breaks. As with any sort of exercise, recovery time is needed for the muscles to repair and strengthen. Rest helps prevent excess stress that can happen with overloading. It is important to shut off the brain at times, and that gives you a bit of a mental break as well! Meditate, go to a yoga class, watch a movie, read a book – anything that you consider “mindless” stills the mind and relaxes the brain.
Our brains run our bodies and a big portion of our lives, and so it should be no surprise that your intellectual wellness is an important piece of your overall health and wellness. Nourishing your brain through the right foods and mental stimulation help keep it healthy and functioning well long into your life. Even reading this article and magazine is good for your wellness! Add some intellectual intentions to your objectives for the year and experience the positive impact it will have on your other goals!