I remember when I graduated from college the keynote speaker told us, “You are not done learning. You’ve only been given the tools with which to learn. Now it’s up to you to use them, and continue your own education from here.” She was right, and even though my 21-year-old self pretty much knew it all (haha), the idea stuck with me. It seems that continuing education often gets pushed to the wayside in adulthood (especially when you’re working a demanding job or caring for demanding toddlers.) But looking at the idea of wellness as a whole, what we feed our minds is just as important as what we feed our bodies. The good news is that finding healthy brainfood is much easier than it seems — in fact, it’s all around us. Check out these 8 fun ideas for stimulating your mind and plan something smart for this weekend!

featured image from kinky curly yaki

image from the book of mormon

Attend a play.

If somewhere along the way you decided you’re not a “theatre person,” I challenge you to sit through a live production of Spamalot without having a good time. Comedies are a great entry point into the world of theatre, and catching a live play stimulates your brain in a special way. It’s an experience you share with the performers, and bonds you to your fellow audience members as well. One of the major perks of living in a city like Austin is having access to the incredible lineup of productions happening at The Long Center. Check out their full season of events listed here!

image from i am love

Watch a foreign film.

Once you step foot into the wide world of foreign film, you may start to see “Hollywood” movies in a new light. Expanding your mind through foreign film is about more than just reading subtitles — you’re experiencing a story told from a different cultural point of view. Foreign films can surprise you, shock you, and stimulate your mind in a way that most Hollywood movies don’t. Check out our list of 10 foreign films to watch now here.

image from the glamourai

Start learning a second language.

Learning another language isn’t just good exercise for your brain, it’s one of the best ways to learn about another culture. The deep values and ideas of a place are often revealed through it’s words. I’ve been using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish for a while now, and my frequent trips to Mexico are becoming richer and more meaningful because of the language. Learning a second language is easier than you think — check our expert tips on how to do it inside of one year here.

image from anthropologie

Pick up a good book (or two.)

We all know that reading stimulates the mind, but US Weekly doesn’t count. Challenge yourself to read one of the “100 Books Everyone Should Read” or pick up one of these best vacation reads of 2019.

Listen to a great podcast.

I love listening to podcasts in the car and even in bed at night — it’s a nice break from looking at screens all day. I’m hooked on Stephen West’s series Philosophize This!, which covers philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratics all the way to the present day. TED is also a great source for educational podcasts — check out these 7 TED Talks to make you love science here.

Venus at Vulcan’s Forge by François Boucher at the Kimbell Art Museum

Visit a local museum.

An afternoon visit to a local museum is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your mind a refresh. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone — hit the ancient artifacts wing if you’re typically into post-modern art. Visit a historical museum if you usually go to art museums. Grab a friend to go with you — what you see will give you plenty to talk about.

image via the ballet blog

Watch a great documentary.

Can you believe that once upon a time most people equated the term “documentary” with “boring?” Thankfully, more and more people have caught on to this exciting genre and you can now browse many excellent documentaries on Netflix and iTunes. Learn something new by tuning into one of our favorite 15 documentaries here.

image from the love assembly

Brush up on geography using a fun app.

I’m addicted to using the brainscape app for geography — it’s a really effective way to learn and remember nations. I can now claim to know which two countries are in between Vietnam and Thailand… can you?

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Comments (6)
  1. 1
    Kelly June 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Totally agree! Love the suggestions! Healthy food for mind!

  2. 2
    San June 11, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Excellent article!! Loved every suggestion

  3. 3
    Natalie Redman June 14, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Great post with awesome suggestions!

  4. 4
    Kate June 30, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    thanks for sharing this! Love it!