Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 22, 2021

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

The mind, the body, and the spirit are universally recognized as the three main pillars of personal wellness. Similar to the way that a tripod balances itself on three legs, each pillar of wellness requires an equal amount of attention and support for you to achieve optimal balance in life. With that being said—and in my humble opinion—the mind is the most vital pillar of them all since it serves as the central processing center for all of our actions and all of our beliefs.

Similar to space exploration, no matter how much you learn about yourself, you may only be scratching the surface of your mental limits. And it seems that the more that we learn, the further we want to go. Either way, the pursuit of knowledge and understanding keeps us moving forward, constantly searching for greater substance and meaning in our lives—no matter where we come from, no matter our age.

Intellectual wellness essentially refers to having an educated and insightful understanding of our ever-changing surroundings. It suggests that we should be open-minded about learning new concepts and trying new experiences that have the potential to improve our perception of ourselves and our decision-making processes.

No matter how much we may like things just the way they are, the world is constantly in motion and change is an inevitable part of the human experience. Intellectual wellness emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to our surroundings as it works to integrate our mind, body, and spirit in harmony.

Here are 6 proven ways to improve your intellectual wellness:

Advertising

1. Read a Book

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”—Carl Sagan

Reading is like having a train ticket to go anywhere in the world at any time in history and learn almost everything that you ever wanted to know about anyone or anything that ever existed from an almost infinite number of perspectives. Furthermore, reading at a young age has been proven to significantly increase vocabulary in adulthood, which in turn has been shown to directly correlate to higher socioeconomic advancement through increased opportunity.[1]

Additionally, reading not only challenges you to stay focused on the words that you see but also on the context in which those words are intended to be interpreted. Therefore, reading can actually help increase your comprehension skills, strengthen your attention span, while simultaneously expanding your global perspective on any given subject.

2. Go Back to School

You are never too old to learn something new. However, if your schedule is anything like mine, I know that you probably feel as though you may not have any more head-space, nor room on your to-do list to go back to school any time soon. Nevertheless, this may be the perfect time to challenge yourself intellectually and do exactly that, especially now, while the world begins to recover from the pandemic.

Your mind is similar to a muscle, without exercising it regularly, it can lose its strength, as well as its form. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that people who are intellectually stimulated at work experience greater job satisfaction and ultimately live happier lives.[2]

Advertising

If you are feeling burned out, uninspired, financially displaced, or just ready to try something new, this may be an ideal time to learn a new craft, skill, or even a foreign language. Distance learning programs, for example, are offered by colleges and universities from all over the world. Almost anyone with a laptop and internet access now has the ability to go back to school to either become more proficient in a subject that they have already studied or learn more about a subject that they have always wanted to learn without ever having to leave the comfort of home.

3. Grow Your Career Path

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”—Mark Twain

As you learn more about the world around you through reading and education on your intellectual wellness journey, your career path will probably broaden as you gain greater insight. Whether you are making a fortune in the stock market or just making a living in retail, you may have been thinking about making a career change or at least exploring an alternate route along your current professional path.

Nevertheless, rather than running out and making a major career change today, perhaps start by trying to figure out exactly what type of work will give you the greatest sense of professional satisfaction. Carefully consider your personal interests, current skill set, financial expectations, as well as both your emotional and physical strengths and limitations.

Next, take a comprehensive look at the investment of both time and money required to make the career change. Finally, try to connect with someone already in the field that you want to enter to get the real inside scoop. Although you may need to be a little flexible on some of your expectations, I am confident that if you keep an open mind and stay laser-focused on your intellectual wellness, you will ultimately find your perfect professional fit.

Advertising

4. Start a New Hobby

In simple terms, a hobby is an activity that we do regularly for pleasure in our leisure time. They can be as simple and as inexpensive as collecting seashells on the beach or much more costly and time-consuming, such as restoring classic cars in your garage.

Hobbies are an excellent way to break free from the monotony of your normal daily routine by taking you away from all of your responsibilities, even if only for a few precious moments. Additionally, hobbies can help strengthen your sense of self-esteem as you build the breadth of a collection or your competency in performing a skill required to participate in the hobby that you chose, such as flying model airplanes and drones.

5. Play Games of Strategy

“All work and no play” makes for a boring life. Intellectual wellness can also be fun. Most games require some form of strategy to win. The more proficient you are in playing whatever game you choose, the higher the probability that you should be able to do well in the game.

So, I suggest that you consider choosing a game that challenges you to use as much strategy and skill as possible, rather than a game that is more about chance. Chess, for example, is one of the best strategy-based games to help you improve your overall intellectual wellness. As a matter of fact, research has shown that chess has been proven to improve memory, increase mental processing speed, build self-awareness, and even protect against dementia.[3]

6. Plan a Road Trip

With continued caution and plenty of common sense, this could actually be a great time for a road trip, even if you never actually travel outside of your own hometown. Although there are still some travel restrictions in place, most of us are now able to move relatively freely within our local communities.

Advertising

Travel has the potential to increase your intellectual wellness by broadening your horizons, increasing your sense of self-awareness, and improving your communication skills. And perhaps most importantly, especially right now, travel can increase your intellectual wellness by helping you adapt to your surroundings.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, intellectual wellness may be more important now than ever. From farming to finance, family, faith, and even personal freedoms, the recent global pandemic essentially forced all of us to reevaluate how we perform almost every aspect of our lives. We have all just witnessed firsthand how fragile life can be, while at the same time, witnessed how much we can accomplish when we work together as a global community to overcome a common problem or defeat a common enemy—for example, developing an effective vaccine to stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly bat-borne virus.

Fortunately, however, you don’t have to be an infectious disease expert nor a genius to achieve your own level of intellectual wellness. You just need to have the desire to expand your intellectual horizon along with an open mind. And if that happens to be you, this just may be the perfect time to do a little work on your own intellectual wellness.

More Articles About Intellectual Wellness

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Evan Jarschauer

Professional Mental Health Interventionist & Licensed Psychotherapist

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness How to Practice Mindful Meditation for Anxiety (Step-by-Step Guide) 7 Simple Ways To Improve Your Mental Wellness Feeling Anxious For No Reason? 6 Ways To Cope With

Trending in Personal Development

1 How To Find a Mentor And Make The Relationship Work 2 7 Ways To Expand Your Horizon And Push For New Frontiers 3 10 Best Self-Help Podcasts To Listen To Right Now 4 6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness 5 Going Back to School at 40 Helps Create a New Golden Age: Here’s How

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on March 1, 2021

How To Find a Mentor And Make The Relationship Work

How To Find a Mentor And Make The Relationship Work

One of the fastest shortcuts to success in anything is to learn from someone who’s already done it. No matter what your goals are—from starting a business to inventing a new technology, from becoming a better public speaker to getting a promotion—there’s someone out there who’s done some variation of it. They’ve already faced the trials and tribulations of that journey. They have the connections. They’ve gained experience and wisdom. They know the pitfalls and challenges, and they know the shortcuts. If you want a higher chance of success, find a mentor.

Pick up a biography of any successful person, and you’ll quickly learn that there’s one thing they all have in common: they’ve all had mentors—people who came before who taught and championed and supported them, people who helped shortcut their path to success in their given field.

Mentorship Isn’t Exactly New

The recorded history of mentorship dates back to at least Ancient Greece.[1] In the Middle Ages, most skills and crafts were learned through apprenticeship.[2] And since the 1970s, mentorship has become a critical part of many businesses and enterprises.[3]

But it’s not just an enduring legacy—research backs its benefits up. People with mentors are more likely to get promotions, be more engaged, and even feel more satisfied at work.[4][5] In fact, a study at Sun Microsystems found that 25% of employees who took part in mentorship got a pay raise and were five times more likely to get a promotion.[6]

So, how do you take advantage of all of these benefits and find yourself a mentor? The good news is there are more opportunities today than ever before—from free to paid, from formal to informal.

How to Find a Mentor

Here are five ways to find a mentor and make the relationship work.

1. Start With Your Human Resources Department

If you work in a corporate setting, start with the HR department. They’ll be able to connect you with any company-sponsored mentorship programs or, at least, point you in the right direction.

Advertising

Even if you haven’t heard of a company mentorship program, it’s worth checking in because you might be surprised—71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs, but only 37% of professionals actively have a mentor.[7]

If your company doesn’t have a formal mentorship program, HR may be able to recommend aligned organizations or affinity groups, or even help you set up an informal meeting with a potential mentor in the organization.

2. Join a Club, Organization, or Affinity Group

You don’t need to work in a corporate setting to join a like-minded group or club. If there’s an area you’re passionate about or if you’re looking for a mentor with similar background and interests, there are several non-profits, organizations, and groups that can help you meet a potential mentor.

Join a club or group in your area of interest and start networking. There are groups related to everything from skills like public speaking to fields like entrepreneurship or art, to celebrating and supporting your culture, background, sexual orientation, or identity.

If you start with your passions and values, you’re more likely to find a mentor who’s aligned.

3. Sign Up for a Networking App or Service

In the 21st century, networking can be as simple as a swipe on the phone or a click on the computer. There are plenty of networking and mentorship groups already in place, from SCORE, which helps small businesses connect with mentors for free, to Meetup.com, which helps people with similar interests to meet up, to even Shapr, which is known as the “Tinder for business” and helps you connect with other professionals in your area.

The ultimate social networking tool for business, of course, LinkedIn, can be a powerful asset in helping you to find a mentor or be introduced to one through a mutual contact if there’s a specific person in your field that you’d like to meet.

Advertising

Most of these services are free or low-cost, so do some research and join the service that makes the most sense to help you meet a mentor.

4. Pay for a Mentorship Program or Mastermind Group

In addition to the numerous free resources, you can also pay to be connected to a mentor or a mentorship community. Some high-level leaders actually sell formal mentorship programs. There are also paid groups, organizations, and masterminds that span every industry and area of interest.

If you’re interested in a paid program, do some online research on potential mentors, and ask people in your field if there are any mentors or programs that they’ve hired themselves or heard about. Though a paid relationship does change the dynamics of a classic mentorship, it can be extremely beneficial if you’re looking for specific structure and results or access to a very prominent person or group of people.

5. Reach Out Directly to People Who Inspire You

You can try to reach out directly to people who inspire you or potential mentors. Do your research and find people who inspire you or who have achieved success in your area of interest, and then contact them directly to ask for mentorship.

Of course, if you have the opportunity to be introduced to them through mutual contact (check LinkedIn first to see if you have any in common), you may have a greater chance of a positive response. But many prominent mentorships started with just an audacious e-mail asking for mentorship. So, don’t shy away from reaching out directly if there’s someone you really want to connect with.

Get the Most Out of the Mentorship

A mentor-mentee relationship is different than almost any other relationship you’ll ever have. It’s not exactly a friendship, but it’s not exactly a boss-employee dynamic, either (unless your mentor is your boss). So, it’s important to set up the right structure to make sure you both get the most out of the mentorship.

Here are five ways to get the most out of mentorship.

Advertising

1. Get Clear on Your Goals

Before establishing a mentorship, get clear on why you want a mentor. What are you hoping to get out of the relationship? What skills do you want to learn? Where do you hope this relationship will help you get in the next six months or a year? How much time do you want to dedicate to this mentorship? How will you know if the mentorship is a success?

Once you’re clear on your goals, you’ll be able to better assess who is the right fit for you, where to find this person, and how to communicate so you’re both on the same page.

2. Set Clear Expectations and Boundaries

Any good mentorship starts with clear communication and upfront expectations and boundaries. Right away, clearly decide how and how often you’ll meet, what your goals and expectations of each other are, and what boundaries you have around the relationship.

For example, some mentorships meet monthly but text in between meetings. Others only meet quarterly and check-in via e-mail a few times in between. Others still have no correspondence in between meetings. A little work upfront to be clear on things like where you’ll meet, how often, what communication is acceptable, and what issues are within the bounds of the mentorship can go a long way to making sure it’s a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship.

3. Keep It Consistent

Once you’ve ironed out the details, keep them consistent. Try to schedule out meetings at least 3 to 6 months in advance so that there are no misunderstandings. For example, you may choose to meet on the first Friday of every month, unless otherwise discussed.

Try not to cancel meetings unless something truly unavoidable comes up and, if e-mail is customary, be sure to consistently check in via e-mail in between. The biggest threat to mentorship is the lack of consistency. Over time, saying, “I’ll e-mail you when I’m free next month,” withers away into two or three months without any communication, and then a failed mentorship.

We all get busy, and things are bound to come up, so if the mentorship isn’t on your calendar and prioritized, it may fall apart after a certain point. Make a point to keep it consistent!

Advertising

4. Be Open to New Ways of Thinking and Trying New Things

The mentorship will challenge you and may ask you to try new things. You don’t necessarily have to agree with and resonate with everything your mentor says, but try your best to keep an open mind and try new things on for size—you might be surprised.

Your mentor likely has a lot of experience in your interest area, and they may have new ways of thinking about things from all of that experience. It doesn’t mean you have to accept their advice long-term, but being open to trying their advice shows your mentor you appreciate their wisdom and also opens you up to new possibilities.

If something isn’t a fit after you’ve tried it, talk to your mentor about that, and you can work together to find the right fit. But show up, do your homework, listen, and be open to new ideas and approaches. That’s the whole point of the mentorship, and it shows your mentor that you take the relationship seriously!

5. Be Grateful and Give as well

Jumping off that last point, be grateful. Especially if it is an unpaid relationship, your mentor is donating time to support you. Express gratitude and appreciation whenever you can, and take the advice and homework as seriously as possible. And don’t feel like it’s only a one-sided relationship. Your mentor gets so much out of the relationship, from appreciation to celebrating your successes to even the future networking and connections you can share with your mentor.

So, don’t forget to celebrate your wins and recognize that this is a mutually beneficial relationship. The better you feel about the relationship, the better it’s going to go.

The Bottom Line

Mentorship is an amazing and invaluable asset that can accelerate your growth, success, and even fulfillment. Finding the right mentor and getting the most out of the relationship can mean the difference between wasted time and connection, wisdom, and a shortcut to your goals.

So dive on in and reap the same benefits that successful leaders have been accessing for the past 3,000 years. Find yourself a mentor.

More Tips on How to Find a Mentor

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next