Focusing on intellectual wellness can keep your mind sharp and prevent you from falling back into old habits during addiction recovery. Substance abuse can take a toll on the brain. Regaining control over your intellect, knowledge, and creativity can help you aid skills in other wellness dimensions.
What Is Intellectual Wellness?
Intellectual wellness does not mean having a college degree or even a high IQ score. It is a type of being in which one seeks personal growth through creative endeavors, new skills, and an open mind. Achieving intellectual wellness does not have to be difficult. You don’t need to enroll in adult education classes or force yourself to read classic literature. Instead, it can be a wellness dimension you grow into with a few simple (and fun) daily activities.
Cultivating intellectual wellness can aid in your recovery journey by keeping your brain active and warding off boredom. Boredom, isolation, and loneliness can be triggers for someone struggling with addiction – especially at the start of sober life. Retraining the brain to find pleasure in things other than alcohol or drugs takes time. Focusing on improving intellectual wellness can give your mind a safe place to dwell during quiet hours spent at home. It can keep you stimulated and let you enjoy new things, rather than falling back into old habits.
Embrace Your Creative Side
How does one achieve intellectual wellness? The secret is creativity. Keeping the brain stimulated with fun, engaging, and creative activities is the best way to realize long-term intellectual wellness. Ask yourself what types of creative endeavors you enjoy. These do not have to be things you are good at, but rather things you enjoy spending your time doing. It could be one of the following:
- Painting or drawing
- Crocheting or knitting
- Playing an instrument
- Dancing or the performing arts
- Nature walking
- Martial arts
Any activity you like can be a great starting point for exploring your creative side. Then, take classes in your activity of choice. Classes can connect you with likeminded individuals and give you a new, positive friend base. It can also give you the essentials to continue pursuing and growing in your creative activity. Going to classes for painting or dancing can be a fun and rewarding way to spend your time. It can also give you something to work toward and look forward to on your recovery journey. Spending time on creative endeavors is a proven way to help overcome an addiction. This is why many rehabilitation centers offer creative activities for patients.
Find Joy In Lifelong Learning
Intellectual wellness is also about broadening your horizons through constant learning. Again, learning does not have to be boring. It can be fun and easy with daily activities that teach you new things. You can learn new things every day with games, outings, and hobbies that encourage you to expand your mind. Try the following ideas for fun ways to learn:
- Crosswords, brain teasers, and Sudoku
- Reading something you enjoy
- Joining a book club
- Reading articles on topics you find interesting
- Using a Word of the Day app
- Asking questions during conversations with friends
- Taking or teaching a class
- Learning a foreign language
- Attending a play, performance, or lecture
Exercise your brain in a way that brings you joy. Find a community center that gives you access to different activities, classes, or workshop. Become a member of your public library for media that can expand your mind, such as books and DVDs. Learn about public events in your community, such as art festivals. Consider traveling as a fun way to learn more about other cultures. Lifelong learning is the key principle behind intellectual wellness.
Keep An Open Mind
Finding ways to expand your intellect, skills, and knowledge takes keeping an open mind. Do not shut out any intellectual possibility. Say yes to new opportunities, such as classes with friends or a trip someplace new. Keep an open mind about ways you might like to spend your time. Try everything to find the few things you enjoy the most. Think about the things you always wanted to do, like speak a different language or play an instrument. Now is the time to learn these things and focus on your intellectual health.
Share Your Knowledge With Others
Intellectual wellness means focusing on yourself, but it also means sharing what you know with others. Addiction support groups are a great place to start. You can tell your story and help others achieve long-term recovery as well. Finding your voice in support groups can help you move to other teaching opportunities, such as starting a workshop in your community. Alternatively, you can start smaller by joining social media communities for causes about which you are passionate. Involvement in your culture, community, and the larger conversation can help you contribute to the world and stay on track in your recovery.
Learn To Listen
While it’s important to share with others, it is equally as important to let them share with you. Prioritize listening during conversations with others. Participate in active listening to fully process the information someone is giving you. Sometimes it is better to listen than to talk. If you wish to practice your listening skills and increase mindfulness, take a yoga or meditation class. Meditation can help you process the information you have learned while cultivating new skills, such as self-awareness.