Intellectual Wellness – Exercising Mental Faculties
The dimension of intellectual wellness is yet another very important dimension of wellness since it has to do with the human mind which is what drives our actions. So, let us try and understand what is Intellectual Wellness.
Intellect vs Intelligence
Before we delve upon the term Intellectual Wellness, we need to understand the difference between Intellect and Intelligence. Both these words are often used interchangeably – and wrongly so – by us in our conversations.
Intellect can be defined as the power or faculty of the mind by which one understands and reasons objectively, particularly with regard to abstract matters.
I also used the phrase – ‘wrongly so’ – while referring to ‘Intellect’s’ interchangeability with ‘Intelligence’. Let me explain. While Intellect is to do with reasoning and understanding, intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skill. Intellect can be termed a branch of Intelligence.
To further elaborate, a top-notch scientist who is perpetually a silent participant in team meetings and brainstorming sessions can be termed intelligent but not intellectual. There could be many reasons for his silence, e.g. he is not updated on his subject developments; he is not used to discussions and debates with other people; he suffers from some complex; he may be in a disturbed state of mind, disillusioned with life; etc. In a nutshell, he is, perhaps, not be in the best of intellectual health.
Now if we want to define Intellectual Wellness, it can be said that it is the ability to open our minds to receive new ideas and experiences and which may be applied to self and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
Attaining Intellectual Wellness – Tips for Improvement
The core of this dimension of wellness is your commitment to learning and mental growth. Learning needs to be a continuous process. Even though a valid form of learning, it doesn’t need to be a school like situation. One can learn through experiences and insights, explore and observe the world around, discover new skills and cultivate talents, bring out your creativity to the fore.
The immediate field to explore and learn is that which interests us, however, you need not restrict yourself to it. Exploring new, unknown territory helps us in widening our horizons of knowledge. New perspectives are equally a part of improving intellectual wellness along with strengthening existing knowledge.
Some of the steps that you can take in pursuit of better intellectual wellness are:
Share your knowledge: Knowledge, when shared, improves the world. Share what you know with a mentee or become a tutor. This will keep your brain active by way of discussions, reasoning and critical thinking;
Eliminate stress: Stress interferes with the mind’s thinking process and makes our thinking muddled, leaves us confused. Get regular exercises, good amount of sound sleep and maintain healthy diet. This will keep your mental faculties on full alert and receptive to new ideas and experiences.
Explore, within and outside: Look out for new motivators; develop new hobbies; learn something new; improve upon your existing skills; read a book; engage in ‘thinking’ games like crossword and Sudoku puzzles. In a nutshell, look to further expand your knowledge base.
Break the stereotype: – Often following a routine every single day becomes monotonous and the mind starts acting mechanically like a clock. There is no thinking, no stimulation whatsoever. Try and break this routine for a change. Do things differently. Take public transport to work rather than using your own vehicle. Give your chef an extended holiday and cook yourself. Give your mind a new scenario to think.
In today’s fast-moving world, we face so many pressures in our regular day’s work that we barely think about this important dimension of wellness. Life becomes a cyclical routine and our day is jampacked with activities that we barely find time for our own self. While this is required to make a living, it is crucial that we take a break from this routine on a periodical basis and use this time to relax, introspect and take up some activity to look at the wellness of our mind, body and soul.
All the best!