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Intellectual stimulation and wellbeing

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi all,

I feel we often (understandably) talk about our social, emotional, physical and creative needs but what about our intellectual needs?

Sometimes I feel this is overlooked...

I personally feel, for many of us, there is a need to feel intellectually challenged/stimulated. I feel discontented and restless if this need isn’t met especially lately as my brain seems to be starting to fix itself (so to speak).

So I was wondering what do you do to feel challenged or what do you do for intellectual stimulation?

All thoughts welcome...

I’ll be back later at some point to add some of my own ideas.

Kind thoughts,


12 Replies 12

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Some ideas...

  • Expand your existing offline support network if you feel that your current company doesn’t necessarily challenge you in a way that you would like. I feel everyone has their own interests, and strengths and weaknesses so make the most of what different people have to offer...
  • Lead the way” (so to speak): steer conversations in a direction you would like and see how your current support responds. You never know, you might find some people are secretly craving discussions about complex concepts but don’t always know how to bring it up in daily conversations...
  • Written material (virtual or hard copy) is your “ally”: this is nothing new or groundbreaking but this can help satisfy some of your need to learn.
  • Enrol in special interest classes (online or face-to-face) for fun: it can be anything from physics to geometry to literature...whatever you find challenges you in a positive way.
  • Puzzles (virtual or physical): this includes traditional jigsaw puzzles to building your own meter high tower using 1000 tiny building pieces.

Other suggestions are most welcome 🙂


Hi Peps thanks for a great thread topic and good input

I was thinking as you've offered reading material also TV has a variety of talk on various subjects.

I like a good D&M and have a couple of friends that I have a good chat too on occasion which I find stimulating

I think the great thing about written media is the variety of topics, I'm slowly starting to read again and including some non fiction

Hi pepper,

I am one of those people that definitely needs intellectual stimulation!

Before I felt well enough to study at uni, I used to read a lot (I have three bookshelves full and my home library is forever growing). I also found watching Ted talk videos interesting as they cover a range of topics and I was always learning something new from them.

I now do photography with my boyfriend when I have time as well, I find it a very intellectually stimulating hobby as there's so many settings to learn etc and getting out in the conservation parks is also relaxing. Bird photography has become one of my favourite things to do as I'm always learning about different birds and it's quite challenging to get a good photo before they fly off.

Thanks for this topic, it will be interesting to see what others post!

Kind regards,


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Pepper, (Hi Deebs) and all 😊

When I am struggling and feeling unwell in my mind and heart, I find reading really hard, no concentration, no motivation, no will to persist.

I too have only just started to read again after many many months, and during that time of not reading, I've found podcasts really helpful, to give my brain a bit of stimulation, but without tiring my already exhausted mind too much.

I found I could also cope with short magazine/journal articles so I while very low recently, I gifted myself a short term subscription and that helped to gently keep my brain somewhat (somewhat) ticking over while I have been in a bad place.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Lici 😊

When I posted before, your message was not there yet, I just wanted to say I wasn't leaving you out with my greeting, yours simply wasn't there! I would feel terrible if I hadn't come back to say something, I don't like feeling left out, & don't want anyone else to either. Great ideas with photography and Ted talks. Sorry Lici and lovely to meet you.

Thanks Pepper 😊(sorry for double posting but I felt sad when I saw it)


Community Member

Hi Birdy!

No need to feel bad 🙂 thanks for replying again to include me though, that's really sweet of you!

The best thing about photography is that you can also see your progress as you get better at it which gives you a sense of accomplishment as well. I look at my first photos compared with the photos I take now (a year or so later) and they're so different! As someone who used to suffer from agoraphobia, getting out of the house is an accomplishment too so it's a double therapy for me. Plus where I live (south of Adelaide) there's so many beautiful conservation parks that I never knew existed. There's also the added bonus of photography groups on Facebook ect where they meet up and you can meet like minded people. It really is a great hobby to have!

Anyway it's lovely to meet everyone!

Kind regards,


Hi fantastic people,

A grateful thank you for all the helpful suggestions and support 🙂 I really appreciate your efforts. Thank you so much.

All suggestions welcome 🙂

DB: thank you very much. Excellent point about how we can utilise different media to stimulate our minds. It sounds like you have been watching some fascinating things on TV, which is great 🙂

Those friends you mentioned sound like great company for those deep and meaningful convos. I feel they can be so important to make us feel truly heard, understood and healthily challenged.

Also, hurray about the reading. I agree with you that our capacity to absorb written content can be affected by our mood/mental health. Thanks again xoxo.

Lici: thank you to you too! It’s wonderful to have you on board this thread 🙂 It means a lot to hear from people who can relate...

Oh yes, I had forgotten about TEDX talks. I really appreciate the reminders. You can find a whole range of talk topics...something for most people.

Your photography idea is a great suggestion. I like how it combines multiple elements: learning how to use the settings as you said and engaging your senses by taking photographs outdoors. Plus maybe editing too later if you’re into that...

Birdy🌻: thank you to you as well and please, there is no need to apologise. It’s all good so there is nothing to be “sorry” for. Don’t even worry about it 😉 How lovely of you to try to make everyone feel included.

I’m with you that when I’m at my lowest, my concentration and motivation vanishes and I also struggle to read books. I’m glad you’re getting back into it now.

Yes, that’s right...podcasts can be fantastic and you can listen to them when you’re on your way somewhere too. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

Yes, Magazine/journal articles are great too, and there’s a whole range of types and topics out there. Thanks for the suggestion.

It’s great that you treated yourself to a subscription; I hope you’re enjoying that. While we’re on that topic, there are (usually free?) academic journals that people can access by searching on google scholar if you’re keen to read some of the latest research on a whole range of topics too xoxo


Hi Pepper,

I completely forgot to mention the editing part, that's a whole learning experience in itself. I personally have a love/ hate relationship with Photoshop and Lightroom because sometimes I know what I want to do but can't get it looking right lol. If you take photos in RAW format, editing is as big or a bigger part of the process than taking the photos.

I find photography really good as you really blank your mind when looking through the view finder, there's a complete focus on your topic that I haven't found with anything else.

Academic journals is a great idea, especially if you're looking up stuff about metal health, one problem with psychology papers is they can be a little confusing with some of the jargon. I have to read a lot of academic articles for my studies and what I find helpful when I start to get lost on something is to do a Wikipedia search on the subject. Wiki usually explains things in easy to understand language that I find helpful.

A super interesting topic that I had to read about recently was the hippocampus and it's role in memory. We really do have amazing brains!

I also had to watch a documentary for one of my subjects called origins of us. It's about the evolution of humans and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for something new to watch! Hopefully it's online somewhere!

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Lici (and a wave to all),

Your photography passion lights up the page. Editing sounds like a fantastic way to exercise your artistic side 🙂 It also seems to be a great way to practice mindfulness judging by your comments.

Good point about the jargon in academic papers. Great tip about wiki thanks!

Origins of us sounds vaguely familiar to me. I have never watched it but I recall reading an article about it. I’ll have to check it out. Thank you 🙂

Pepper xoxo