By Jeanine Campbell, Staff Writer

When students’ workloads become overwhelming, it can be tempting for them to lose sight of the reason they are in college to begin with. A bachelor’s degree has obvious value for the future, but it is important for students to remember the immediate and long-term effects of education on their entire wellbeing.

Physician and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen emphasizes how “brain health is essential to all aspects of the quality of life” and how the brain must be nourished and optimized to function at its best.

Through professionally scanning and working with more than 30 thousand brains, Amen has come to understand mental exercise as one of the best pursuits for brain health. College is the ideal setting for students to work for this mental exercise that Amen says will prevent the brain deterioration that will “rob them of their best abilities and potential.”

Understanding the significance of education for the health of the brain, an organ that facilitates all of the human experience, should help students appreciate the value of fully engaging their minds in school instead of just going through the motions to meet minimum requirements.

Even students who are committed to learning can further pursue intellectual wellness, for, as Amen says, “You and your brain can be better than you are, even if you are already in good shape.”

The University of New Hampshire Health Services suggests some improvements students can pursue in order to make the most of the intellectual growth opportunities in college. These include improving study skills, time management and critical thinking.

Staying open to new ideas and challenging norms are also practical approaches to greater intellectual wellness. Amen recommends further stimulating new brain cells by learning something new, like a language or instrument, and even playing brain games like crossword puzzles.

“You and your brain can be better than you are, even if you are already in good shape.”

Every student putting effort into higher education is already significantly contributing to their intellectual wellness. If they continue to exercise their minds and engage their creativity throughout their lives even after college, they will be able to maintain mental health.

Anna Lee Brown, a counselor at Asbury’s Center for Counseling, hopes that the curiosity cultivated in Asbury’s academic setting motivates students to value lifelong learning in this way, since after all, as she says, “our minds are a treasure of potential to learn, challenge and grow.”