Why Bother With Intellectual Wellness?

Why Bother With Intellectual Wellness? 

Our mental wellness is tied to managing and caring about all the different aspects of our lives—the emotional and physical self, the spiritual, intellectual, and social self as well as our environmental, interpersonal and occupational areas. We are complex creatures and when all of these systems work in congruence to one another, the result is mental stability. But when they are incongruent, acting against one another, chaos reigns. 

Though each of these areas of our mental wellness are interconnected, I thought it wise to break them apart and look at them individually. 

A Healthy Brain

A healthy intellect begins with healthy thoughts and those healthy thoughts will shape healthy actions. 

For instance, our thinking forms our success or failure. Someone once said, whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right. If we believe that we can succeed and apply the necessary hard work to reach our goal, we will most likely come through with flying colors. But, if we don’t believe we can make any headway toward our goal, well then we won’t even try. Instead, we’ll simply throw in the towel and accept defeat as inevitable. 

Our thinking also affects our emotions which in turn, affect our actions. We don’t have to be mind readers to know when someone is angry, sad, or happy. Our body language tells it all. A scowl and stomping feet lets everyone know we are mad. A smile and skipping feet tells everyone we are lighthearted and ready for some fun. Tears and a trembling lip signals our sadness. We can’t fake what we think. Even without a word, thoughts are communicated. 

Maintaining the health of our brain and intellect is not a difficult endeavor. Incorporating a few good habits any one can afford will change the way our brain functions. 

Getting enough sleep is a good beginning to a healthier intellect. Prepare your brain for

rest by shutting off all screens at least an hour before you go to sleep. Begin to relax by reading something that doesn’t rile you up, such as poetry or an inspirational story. Take a hot bath scented with lavender oil or open a journal and review your day by writing about it. Don’t expect to instantly decompress the minute your head hits the pillow. Allow your brain to gradually wind down. Then, after a good night’s rest, we are much more intellectually prepared to take on the world and everything it throws at us in one day.

Eat a healthy diet. Lots of vegetables, fruits, and protein. The fewer processed foods, the better. Eat regular meals instead of grazing all day. Take a real lunch break away from your desk, computer and even the office if possible. Enjoy the taste of your food and any good company you can find. And don’t forget to hydrate with lots of water. 

Exercise brings out the best in all of us. Find an activity you can sustain no matter the season. As often as possible, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Buy a dog if you have to have an excuse to get out for a walk. Join a jogging club, a cyclist group or a gym. Do it alone or with friends and reap the benefits exercise offers to everyone. 

Why bother with intellectual wellness? Maintaining the health of our brain is beneficial. We are more apt to think better thoughts about ourselves, others and the world we live in.

Why Bother To Sow Good Thoughts?

 

Why Bother To Sow Good Thoughts?

Recently, I strapped on my snowshoes and walked along the frozen lake. I enjoy this particular route—the expansive view of sky and water as well as the solitude and silence. Tromping down the deep snow to make my own trail, my body warmed with the exertion. To make my own path, I told myself, would be hard work, but following it back would be easy. 

Happy to be outside in the cold, clear air, I suddenly caught a whiff of cigarette smoke. I wondered who would be smoking and then I saw them—three teenage girls in a little huddle. They looked up, a little startled by my sudden appearance and stared. I didn’t stop to chat with them but instead, chuckled and asked, “Why are you girls smoking?” I didn’t expect them to answer, but one of the girls stepped away from the others and said, 

“Because everyone has a bad habit.” 

“Yeah,” I said. “But you don’t have to,” 

      Promote Good Thinking

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with the idea that when we sow a thought, we reap an action. When we sow an action, we reap a habit. When we sow a habit we reap a character and sowing a character reaps a destiny. Our futures, it appears, are launched by our thoughts. 

The young lady who believes that everyone has a bad habit, is only defending her bad habit by those words. But, here is the real clencher of her belief: the longer she adheres to her idea, the longer she will continue her habit. And over the long haul, smoking only erodes a person’s physical and mental well being. It does nothing to add goodness to our health, and quitting is a grueling chore. 

Our thoughts come and go, but how we think about ourselves, others, and our circumstances form familiar patterns. Then these patterns become our norm. It is only when we become conscious of our thinking or someone throws a cog in our pattern, that we actually make any changes. Becoming conscious makes us aware of our choices. If we want to, we can alter our way of thinking about something. 

So, I hope my words to that young lady were a cog in her thinking pattern. I hope someday, she will know that just because people have bad habits does not mean she has to join the club of people with bad habits. She has a choice to make different choices. I hope, for her sake, she sows better thoughts than the one she is presently sowing. 

Why bother to sow good thoughts? It is worth it to sow good thoughts since those thoughts have the power to shape our futures.

Why Bother To Journal?

Why Bother To Journal?

My first diary was small, pretty, and pink. It had a lock and key and I kept it in my dresser drawer. The one or two entries I made began with, “Dear Diary,” and ended a sentence or two later. As a youngster, I had no idea how to write my thoughts down nor did I know how important this habit would become for me later on in life. I no longer have that little book. Instead, I have filled several composition books as well as a few spiral notebooks with thoughts.  

Beginning  

After marriage, I started talking to myself, in the form of writing. I don’t know what prompted me to begin scribbling down my thinking other than I recognized the need to sort and organize my thoughts. Like unpacking boxes when moving into a new home, I needed to unpack the load I’d carried around with me, setting it in a space where I could open a door, so to speak, and take a look at what was there. Similar to deciding what to keep and what to discard when rearranging kitchen cupboards, dresser drawers, and closets, my thoughts required a thorough going through. Along the way of growing up, I’d wadded up a whole assortment of ideas and marriage was the time to keep or discard what I’d collected  over the twenty-two years I’d lived so far. 

I started out shy, not knowing what to say to myself. I coaxed myself out of this shell by saying that there were no rules, no expectations, no right or wrong way to do it. I could take as much time as I wanted or no time at all. I could write whatever I wanted because, I told myself, my journals would be for my eyes alone. These truths convinced me and my timidity toward writing down what rumbled inside of me wore off. Now, like any other healthy habit, committing thoughts from my head to paper is routine.

I date my entries, but my journals are not a record or filing system. Recently, though, I went back and put dates on the outside covers of my notebooks noting that some years warranted more writing than others. For example, in 2007, I wrote through four to composition books, while other years I filled only one or two. 

The drawings for my first garden and its crops are recorded in one of my earliest journals and one year I challenged myself to write down three things for which I was grateful for every day.  This venture helped me through a tough bout of ungratefulness. 

On the last few pages of most of my journals, there is a record of the titles and authors of the books I’ve  read. At the top of some of the pages in my notebooks I’ve written down quotes. Now though, I have little fat notebooks specifically for recording quotes. 

The year we lost our third born son I formed my raw grief into words.  When I set the goal to enter and complete my first triathlon, I kept a record of my progress. 

In essence, my journals carry the load of thoughts that I’d otherwise carry inside my head. Though I had no other goal than to give my thoughts  their own place to sit, they’ve become so grateful to me that they rarely turn against me. 

Why bother to journal? It is a worthy journey. Putting thoughts to paper may put some order to the wad of thinking that collects inside of us. But we won’t know until we’ve coaxed our hand to hold the pencil that will show us what we’ve been saying to ourselves anyway.