Wellness Wednesday Tip: “Go get some fresh air” is often said to encourage people to clear their minds. Whether it’s said harshly or not, it’s good advice. Keeping our minds and intellect healthy sometimes requires us to clear the clutter from our minds and “get some fresh air.” Whether that “air” is actual air, or comes in the form of a book, a movie or a song, “getting fresh air” now and then is a good way to keep our minds healthy.

By Michael Ebinger, Director, WSU University Center for Innovation

BrainWe lose brain cells in our 20’s, but we can increase the connections between our remaining brain cells through intellectual endeavors during the rest of our lifetimes. Those endeavors are the wellness exercises of the intellect.

I am a bicycle commuter for as much of the year as I can be. Taking new routes on my commutes and looking with fresh eyes at neighborhoods as they roll by combines quickly with a need to capture those thoughts in words. This need, in turn, makes me want to learn or refine the skills to express those experiences through writing, visual arts and finding those experiences in music.

All of this is a continuous exercise of connecting experiences and interpretations in new and sometimes creative ways. By taking a new route from home to the Spokane campus and back I might connect with a new piece of music or an interesting way to talk about the fall colors. The connecting process starts over each time I take a new route or ride a familiar route on a new day. These are the growing connections between existing brain cells that remain in my 50’s, and I hope to continue building those connections long into my 80’s.

There are several facets to intellectual wellness:

  • Openness to new ideas
  • Willingness to learn new skills
  • Seeking lifelong learning opportunities
  • Looking for ways to use creativity
  • Exploring artistic and cultural opportunities
  • Reading
  • Staying abreast of current events
  • Taking on or expanding hobbies
  • Taking a different route on routine travel such as a commute to work or a trip to the store
  • Listening to music or playing an instrument (including singing)

This is a fairly long list of things one might do to incorporate intellectual wellness into an overall wellness strategy.

Would you need to take on each of these facets to ensure intellectual wellness? That was a question I asked myself when I started to think about what to write for this blog, and my answer is, “No, at least not all at once.”

So try a walk along the Spokane River if you don’t ride a bike through surrounding neighborhoods. You might see something like the full rainbow that is unfolding against leaden skies as I finish this entry. You might connect with the colors, or the fall colors may lead you to a piece of music you hadn’t thought to listen to. Use your brain!

Upcoming seminar:

Creating Intellectual Well-Being
Led By: Michael Ebinger, PhD, MBA

What is intellectual wellness to you? What do you use to get your mind right? Hear from Michael Ebinger as he talks about what strategies he uses to find intellectual wellness. Whether it’s reading a book, writing down your thoughts, taking a walk outside or listening to music, there are a myriad of ways you can stimulate your mind and be intellectually healthy.

This engaging course will be held Dec. 9 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. in room SAC 501