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Staying Mentally Sharp

jigsaw puzzle pieces

 

Once upon a time, when I was on track to become a registered nurse, one of my textbooks provided a definition of health, referring to it as a state of complete well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. That is also how the World Health Organization defines health.

The components or dimensions of “health” and “wellness” are most often identified as physical wellness, intellectual wellness, emotional wellness, social wellness, and spiritual wellness. Sometimes occupational wellness and financial wellness make the list, too.

Wellness is commonly presented as a graphic, and especially as a “wheel,” to illustrate the interconnectedness and interdependence of the various components or dimensions of wellness.

Today’s column will focus on INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS.

Exercising the brain and challenging the mind are keys to achieving intellectual wellness and achieving our intellectual potential. The tips below can help improve intellectual wellness:

Hit the Pillow Getting enough sleep is key to intellectual wellness, but it can be tough to achieve in an overscheduled life. Sleep deficits result in fatigue and drain reserves in the brain, resulting in slower brain function and crabbier moods. Make sure to recharge by getting enough sleep each night. For adults that means eight hours; for children, even more.

Get TV and electronics out of the bedroom to avoid sleeping distractions. Park cellphones and tablets at a central power docking station away from sleeping areas. If you find yourself not getting the sleep you need at night, take a short nap during the day. Taking time to get adequate rest will make your awake time much more efficient.

Love to Learn Being a lifelong learner challenges the brain and facilitates cognitive growth. Read for fun when waiting anywhere. Play a board or card game with family or friends. Stretch your brain by doing jigsaw, crossword or Sodoku puzzles.

The brain needs to be exercised the same as any other muscle. Turn off all digital media for 30 to 60 minutes each night for family members to complete homework, read for enjoyment or do other mind-enhancing activities.

Let Creativity Shine Encourage the creativity of your kids as well as your own. Try new ideas; do common tasks in a different way. Figure out how to make a game of “Go Fish” out of matching the family’s socks. Let imagination rule in your family’s life. In addition to stimulating brain growth, you are bound to have some fun.

Family Conversation Starters

* List some chapter books we could read together as a family.

* What is your favorite board or card game?

* What car game do you enjoy most?

* How could we make sure electronics are not being used at least 30 minutes before bedtime?

Photo Source:  https://www.pexels.com/photo/2-hands-holding-1-jigsaw-puzzle-piece-each-164531/  (downloaded 2-11-19)

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