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Published on February 22, 2021

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness
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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:

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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]

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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.

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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.

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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

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More by this author

Evan Jarschauer

Professional Mental Health Interventionist & Licensed Psychotherapist

How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Energy Levels How To Recognize the Most Common Types of Mental Illness 5 Ways Meditation Improves Your Daily Focus and Concentration 6 Proven Ways To Improve Your Intellectual Wellness

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement

What Is SWOT Analysis? 5 Ways It Accelerates Your Self-Improvement
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If I told you that there was one activity that you could do frequently that would dramatically accelerate your rate of self-improvement, would you do it?

SWOT Analysis may very well be the solution to your problems of feeling lost, unproductive, worried about the future, and the general struggle that inevitably arises on the road to personal development. It is quick to carry out, reliable in terms of changing your perspective, and effective in getting you the results that you desire.

So what exactly is this SWOT Analysis? You will find everything you need to know about it below as well as how to do it and all of the amazing benefits that it will bring to your life.

What Is SWOT Analysis?

SWOT Analysis is a business term that has steadily made its way over into the world of personal development due to its effectiveness in getting things to improve — whether that be a company or, more recently, a person.

S.W.O.T. is an anagram that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. When assessing these four key pillars in life, it gives a very good picture of which direction you should be heading in and even highlights some of the best ways to do it.

All in all, it is a great way to reflect on past actions and to decide on the best way to move forward.

How to Do a SWOT Analysis

Carrying out a SWOT Analysis is relatively simple. The best way is to take out a pen and paper and write down four columns: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. From there, you can begin to fill out each one and apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are considering expanding your enterprise, you might want to write down the current strengths and weaknesses of your business as well as the opportunities that you could possibly move into and the threats that you might need to minimize.

If you are an individual looking to improve yourself, you can carry out a SWOT Analysis either on the micro or macro level. A micro example would be focusing on one specific area of life. For example, you could write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats when it comes to dating, productivity, or changing your job.

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You can also take it to the macro level. You might simply write down your current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats across all areas of life — or simply the areas that you want to focus on for now.

SWOT Analysis is very easy to do and is excellent for the bigger picture stuff. Here is a rough template with a few questions across various areas of life that you can use for your own personal development purposes:

Strengths

What professional qualifications do I have that make me stand out from everybody else?

What do I exceed at where most people are either average or below average?

What achievements have I been awarded?

What struggles have I overcome in the past that give me hope for the future?

Weaknesses

Where do I fall short where others seem to excel?

What bad habits do I have?

What thoughts tend to hold me back?

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Opportunities

Is there any significant advancement happening or about to happen that I can take advantage of?

Is there a new position in a company that maximizes my skillset?

Is there a gap in the market that I could potentially fill?

Is there an opportunity that is low-risk (i.e. I can fail fast and decide if I want to keep pursuing it)?

Threats

What competition do I face in a certain area?

What is the most likely thing to throw me off course? Is it me?

If there was an economic downturn, would I be in a position to survive? Could I even turn it into an opportunity?

Benefits of SWOT Analysis for Self-Improvement

Now that you know what it is and how to do it, you may already start to see all of the benefits for your personal growth that can come from a SWOT Analysis. If you haven’t already started to think about how to use it in your own life, here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. It Gives You an Actionable Plan

One of the most obvious benefits of doing a SWOT Analysis is the fact that it gives you an actionable plan. It is rare for someone to actually sit down and write out their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats they are facing, so you will be getting well ahead.

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More importantly, taking the information from all four of these areas allows you to create an effective plan for yourself going forward — whether that be doubling down on your strengths, a plan to overcome your weaknesses, or how to leap at one of the opportunities in your life.

SWOT Analysis is designed specifically to drive actions and decisions — it is not simply a discussion exercise that you put to one side once you are finished with it.[1]

2. It Allows You to Zoom Out

Far too many people are so trapped within their day-to-day activities that they forget to see the big picture. Not being able to see the forest for the trees is one of the things that hold many people back from reaching their full potential.

SWOT Analysis allows you to take a moment of reflection, see the big picture, and then to make an informed decision about what your everyday tasks and activities are going to be, rather than the other way around.

It is important to be able to zoom out from time to time to make sure that you are on track with whatever your objectives are in each area of life. SWOT Analysis is the best way to do just that.

3. It Helps You Recognize New Aspects and Patterns

One of the unique things about SWOT Analysis is that it manages to combine different areas of your life and lets you see patterns, opportunities, and much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

An example would be the combination of your strengths and your opportunities. When you look at both of these side-by-side, you get a good idea about where the crossovers are, and, as a result, you get a clear picture of what opportunities are worth pursuing based on your strengths.

Another example would be looking at your strengths and threats next to one another. When you have a decent idea about what your strengths are in a certain situation, you can start to see how those strengths might come in handy when it comes to mitigating certain threats that you might face.

The truth is, any combination across SWOT Analysis creates a unique perspective that will be extremely useful for your own self-improvement.

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4. It Minimizes Risk

Branching out from the previous point, a SWOT Analysis is carried out to help minimize risk [2]. Although this is primarily a benefit from a company’s standpoint, it can also be helpful from an individual’s perspective as well.

On a personal level, risk can come in a variety of forms. It might be an imaginary risk that feels real, like asking your crush out or asking your boss for a raise. It might be an actual risk where you are thinking of expanding your business or entering a new market where you have little experience. Either way, seeing the threats you face as well as the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities you have allows you to go down the path that minimizes risk and maximizes gain.

5. It Can Marks Stages of Your Path

An interesting way that companies use SWOT Analysis is that they carry it out every month or every quarter in order to reset and recalibrate their destination. It can be used in a similar way by you as well. Just like there are certain times when businesses use them, there are certain times when you should use them.[3]

Every month or every couple of months, take the time to do a SWOT Analysis to see how you are progressing. What strengths have been added? What weaknesses have been discovered? What opportunities have revealed themselves or been lost? What new threats are you facing and which have been removed from the picture?

Not only will carrying out a SWOT Analysis on a frequent basis accelerate your self-improvement by helping you see where you want to go with less distraction, but it is also nice to see how things change and, hopefully, get better.

It is also worth looking back at your SWOT Analysis from the start of the year when you reach the end of the year to see how far you have come.

To Wrap Up

So there you have it. SWOT Analysis might just be the tool and technique that you have been waiting for to truly take the next step in your self-improvement journey. It is practical, easy to carry out, and effective in terms of planning your next moves.

Whether you do it on a consistent basis to ensure that you are moving in the right direction or you only do it when you feel lost, SWOT Analysis will always be right there waiting to help.

Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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