By Rachel Welch
Balance is a blend of healthy choices. Balance comes from what you eat, watch, drink, and do, and we must be mindful about what we feed our bodies and minds. We live in a world of instant gratification, screens galore, and social networks which cram dense content into mere seconds. Our intellect is important and often neglected. So, how can you show your intellect some love? How can you feed your intellect?
1) Marvel at Something Amazing
One of the best ways to feed our intellect is to find something beautiful and to simply marvel. Find something that fills you with astonishment and wonder.
- Visit a local museum and marvel at an artist's masterpiece.
- Visit a park and watch the people that come and go. Notice what makes each of them unique.
- If you have the means, visit a new country or a new place and marvel at historical relics, statues, buildings, and scenery.
- Find something to marvel at in your own backyard. Watch the birds, notice the sun through the trees, or the squirrels on their branches.
One great way to feed your intellect is to give it something amazing to process and enjoy —science supports this!
2) Read and Learn
Perhaps a more obvious way to feed your intellect is to increase your knowledge! Whether you read something for school, work, or fun, reading is an excellent way to boost intelligence, spark creativity, and even change the anatomy of your brain. A study done in 2013 found that what you read can actually change your brain. For instance, they found that reading fiction and exploring the lives of fictional characters can increase empathy. They found that people who read thrillers developed strong connections in the somatosensory cortex (the part of the brain related to movement and physical sensations). They also found that individuals who began reading at a young age often had larger vocabularies and better communication skills as adults.
Additionally, we now know that reading slows down cognitive decline in old age. In several Alzheimer's studies, senior citizens who read regularly, and who often solved puzzles and math problems, maintained stronger cognitive functioning than those who did not. It turns out that reading is not only fun, but a great way to feed our intellect and preserve our brain health (4). Another popular "brain health movement" brings us to our third step.
Take time to sit or lay, and simply breathe. The benefits of meditation are numerous and further supported every year. From calming down the nervous system to decreasing blood pressure, reducing autoimmune symptoms, and more, meditation is excellent for both your body and mind. Shannon Harvey has a unique meditation story. After battles with autoimmune disease and insomnia, Shannon decided to embark on a meditation journey.
Top scientists monitored various aspects of Shannon's health while she meditated each day for 365 days. Along the way, they measured her autoimmune markers, blood pressure, mental health, and more, and the results were astonishing! To see Shannon's full story, you can view her documentary here. Through meditating just a little every day, Shannon's physical health improved drastically, and her mind did as well.
Meditation is an excellent tool for centering the mind, which in turn, feeds your peace, calm, and control.
4) Give Your Body What it Needs
Many of us do not get the ideal daily amount of vitamins and nutrients from our diet (4). And, if our brains lack nourishment, our intellect cannot function at its best. This is where supplements come in handy! B complex vitamins and vitamin D are two essential nutrients for brain health (5).
Additionally, hydration is important for our brain health. Drinking water, timing water intake, and taking an electrolyte supplement has benefits such as regulating your temperature, lubricating your joints, and helping pass waste through your body. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and iodine help maintain proper hydration. In addition to drinking water, we may be able to feed our intellect by taking supplements. Health by Principle offers vitamin D and electrolyte supplements to help with this! Always consult a medical professional to confirm that supplements are a good choice for you.
So, what else can we do? Our last tip to feed your intellect may surprise you.
5) Do Nothing at All
Perhaps the best thing we can do for our intellect is to let it rest. Let yourself stop and do nothing. In our society, we often forget that it is okay to be "lazy." Sometimes the best choice we can make is to allow our brains to rest and have fun! Downtime is an essential part of learning. In one study, rats navigated a maze in different trials. One group of rats were allowed to rest, and the others kept going without a break. The rats who rested mentally processed the maze experience while they were still. That group later completed the maze much more quickly than before (6).
The same is true for us! Our brains need idle time that allows us to absorb and fully process new information. When we allow ourselves to rest, to be idle, and to have fun, our brains are finally able to catch up. This suggests that one great step to feed your intellect is perhaps to do nothing at all!
Feed Your Intellect; Feel Amazing
If we prioritize our brain health and feed our intellect with enriching things, we can strike a harmonious balance. Marvel at something awesome. Read! Meditate and strengthen your mindfulness muscles. Give your body nutrition through diet and supplements, and maybe, do nothing at all! Find a balance in a way that works for you.
Feed your intellect and feel more amazing with every conscious step.
1. Davidson, K. W., Mostofsky, E., & Whang, W. (2010). Don’t worry, be happy: positive affect and reduced 10-year incident coronary heart disease: The Canadian Nova Scotia Health Survey. European Heart Journal, 31(9), 1065–1070. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehp603
2. Allen, S. (2018). The Science of Awe. Retrieved from website: https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Awe_FINAL.pdf
3. Benefits of Reading Books: For Your Physical and Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from Healthline website: https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-reading-books#strengthens-the-brain
4. 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common. (2019, May 21). Retrieved from Healthline website: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
5. What the Experts Say Are the Best Supplements for Your Brain. (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2021, from Alzheimers.net website: https://www.alzheimers.net/what-experts-say-are-the-best-supplements-for-your-brain
6. Karlsson, M. P., & Frank, L. M. (2009). Awake replay of remote experiences in the hippocampus. Nature Neuroscience, 12(7), 913–918. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2344
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