As we continue to tread the path of Mental Health & Wellness, let us take a break to discuss and uncover an extremely essential, but neglected area in our lives. While most of us tend to carry on with our daily routine with endless monotony in a self-created and self-accepted robotic way, we also complain about it… yet choose not to do anything. Should this monotony not cease or the mundane routine not be infused with some spark/s, it is bound to affect us in many unknown ways. This spark will enhance our Intellectual Wellness.
Right from our childhood, we are engaged in various activities – studying, reading books, learning new things, playing sports, watching movies, etc. We involve ourselves in the things we like to do or about which we are passionate. Then as we grow up and enter the corporate or professional world, why do we forget or do not think it is important to invest time in similar activities to enhance our knowledge and learning?
Importance of learning
In this world of tough competition, what is going to keep you afloat and above others?
When we complete our education and start working, we think that it is time to implement whatever we have learned in the past. So busy we get in doing so, that we tend to put further learning on the back burner. When this attitude begins to affect us in a negative manner, then we decide to wake up and do something about it. Therefore, you need to involve yourself in constant learning and seeking knowledge, so that you do not get outdated.
At times, you may tend to compare yourself with others. While this may be a good motivating factor for learning, it could also lead to stress if you are unable to cope with the pressure. So try to compete and compare with yourself – what and where you were, what and where you are, and what and where you want to be. This would provide you insights on what and how much you would like and need to learn and gain.
Subsequently, even if you have learned everything you wanted and needed to; ensure that complacency does not set in. Strive for more.
How does your Intellect affect your wellness?
We define Intellectual Wellness as…
“The ability to learn new skills, analyse and solve problems, and gain relevant knowledge to increase your intellect and creativity.”
Many national and international studies and researches mention that very often one tends to neglect this area, especially after one reaches the end of their student life. This has affected their emotional wellness and occupational wellness. As you transition from the campus to the corporate, constant learning and gaining & enhancing knowledge becomes less important and the focus shifts to earning more money and growing up the ladder. While this is also important, engaging yourself in intellectually driven activities keeps you alert to the environment, and abreast of what’s happening around, enhances your personal skills, and boosts your confidence levels. Keeping your grey cells constantly active promotes your physical, mental, and intellectual wellness. A few activities could be – reading, writing, problem-solving including puzzles, pursuing a hobby, travelling, and so on.
Here is an overview of how you could achieve Intellectual Wellness. There are four focus areas:
1. Engage yourself in relevant habits
Your habits will define what you are and what you want to be. If you want to pursue something, which will keep you mentally stimulated, you will be alert and charged. Reading is a good habit, which will not only improve your vocabulary but will also enhance your communication skills. The kind of people you interact with will also help you in raising your bar. Surround yourself with people from whom you can learn more than what you already know. Even when you watch a movie or any television program or series, try to select those, which will enhance your knowledge and skills. Keep yourself culturally alive and inculcate those habits, which will keep you motivated and at the same time allow you time off to enjoy yourself.
If you practise any of the above as a mere duty or you feel burdened, then the results would not be as productive as you would expect them to be. Even if appears to be cumbersome in the beginning, gradually as you start seeing positive results, you may begin to enjoy it. At the end of the day, it is important to keep yourself stimulated.
2. Keep yourself charged
Never lose the zest to learn and remain charged. This is applicable in our personal and professional life. At times, we may be low in confidence and not willing to participate in discussions. Even if you cannot speak in a forum, at least by being present there, you would be able to gather insights on various topics. Subsequently, when you choose to gain knowledge on the topics of your choice, it would be easier to involve yourself in meaningful and productive conversations. Engaging in frivolous conversations would not result in increasing your intellect or knowledge.
As mentioned earlier, reading is a good habit which helps you to improve your vocabulary and the expression and articulation of your thoughts. This enhances your communication skills – both written and oral. You are aware of the importance of effective communication skills. Here language is immaterial. It depends on who is your target audience and what you want to convey. The way you communicate also may help you in solving problems – both at home and at work.
Instead of depending on others to solve problems all the time, take the initiative of doing it yourself. This will force you to come out of your comfort zone and activate your grey cells to look for solutions. That will keep you charged and keep the excitement alive. Can one have a smooth life without any problems at all? How we all wish it were possible. Nevertheless, the reality is otherwise. Hence, remain proactive instead of reactive. When you are charged, you would not be complacent. On the contrary, you may like to put on your thinking and creative cap trying to do new things
3. Do new things
When we talk about doing new things, it could mean two things – either doing something new altogether or trying to do the old thing differently. Would you like to be a trendsetter or a trend follower? If you want to be a setter, then you need to seek alternatives/ options. Think, research, understand, test, and implement. Results may always not be promising; however, your effort itself will give you the confidence of having done something new.
Try to inculcate the art of creating new things through thought and action. Even if you want to pursue your passion or your hobby, there would be creativity involved. At times, musicians keep trying out new tunes, new lyrics, and new instruments for better results. Similarly, if you want to be creative in your field, you could join the relevant workshops, classes, etc. to learn, practise, and implement. The idea is to keep you intellectually occupied for your mental health, satisfaction, growth, and overall wellness.
4. Focus on learning
When you think of doing something new, you need to keep in mind that it is going to add value to you and it should be something which is trendy or the ‘in thing’. You need to research and keep your ears and eyes open for the latest trends – what is happening currently – be it the industry you are working in, or just general knowledge, or know what is happening around you. When you choose to keep yourself updated, that is not enough. You would also need to implement them in your life.
To do so, you may need to inculcate new skills. If you already have those skills, it is fine; however, it may not be so always. When you learn new skills, it gives you a sense of excitement, enhances your confidence, and a feeling of being equipped to take the bull by its horns. Constant upgradation and up-skilling yourself will enable you to take on larger and more challenging roles in life.
You may do this by learning from others, attending training programs, enrolling on the relevant courses and even do-it-yourself hacks available on the Internet, which provide you with a plethora of information. You could be tempted to take on more than you could handle. Therefore, you need to be cautious in choosing things, which are going to add value and are relevant to you.
Keep in mind that learning should never stop and try to do so always!
Start managing your Intellectual Wellness…NOW.
Ajay Mahajan | Sadhana Rao | firstname.lastname@example.org