Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” There is a significant amount of truth behind this quote, especially on an intellectual wellness level, which we all know by now (take a look at the last two blog posts if you need a refresher) connects to all of the other six dimensions of wellness.
Our intellectual wellness is dependent on our commitment to lifelong learning. It is dependent on our ability to stay curious and engaged in learning new things. This dimension of our wellness includes exploring creative activities, reading for pleasure, taking a class or course, participating in cultural or community events or clubs, and seeking answers and solutions to questions and problems that cross our minds.
While the brain isn’t a muscle, we should treat it as if it is one. Muscles need exercise, proper nutrients, and sufficient rest in order to grow stronger and perform in the ways that we want them to perform. If you want to be able to run a marathon, you must train your body to carry you that distance. You must build your muscles and your endurance through continuous training that is backed by the right type of diet and enough recovery and rest time. Our intellectual wellness is built and maintained in a similar fashion.
We must stimulate (exercise) our minds in order to keep them sharp and strong, especially as we get older. Intellectual stimulation is key to intellectual wellness. The way in which you decide to stimulate your mind is entirely up to you and what you are interested in or drawn to. It can be as simple as:
- doing a crossword puzzle
- reading the latest edition of National Geographic
- preparing a meal following a new recipe that peaked your interest on Pinterest
- watching and playing Jeopardy
- taking an online course to learn how to take better photographs
- listening to a podcast about living mindfully
- visiting a museum
The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless.
We also must feed our brains with “brain food,” such as:
- dark leafy greens
- dark chocolate
- sunflower seeds
- olive oil
- green tea
Ample water (at least two liters a day) and sleep (7-8 hours a night) are critical to brain and whole-body health and wellness too.
It is never too late to learn something new, and it is never too late to start taking care of your individual wellness, even if you start by just focusing on one dimension at a time.