Fostering wellness with Grace Christian Academy
When people talk about wellness, physical health usually immediately comes to mind: How many miles can one run, how balanced one’s meals are, how rarely one gets checked up at the hospital. But of course there’s so much more to wellness than just that.
Wellness is all about creating balance in the many dimensions of how we live. More than just the physical, it also means nurturing the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, financial, occupational, and social aspects of our lives.
For a child, perhaps one of the best things we can do is help harness their intellectual wellness. This means, among others, recognizing and stimulating their creativity and problem-solving abilities.
“Wellness is holistic in nature and involves the development of various dimensions including physical, emotional, social/interpersonal, intellectual, and spiritual wellness. Realizing the importance of all aspects of wellness helps achieve a more balanced life,” said Grace Christian Academy principal Beth A. Nunez.
Elevating holistic wellness inclusive of intellectual wellness is part of Grace Christian Academy’s mission. Nunez explained that keeping their minds, bodies, and spirit well aims to produce “vibrant, confident, and loving students” where the interaction of all parts toward the development of a well-balanced life cannot be more emphasized.
“This holistic approach is crucial as each dimension interacts with the other and not apart from each other. What affects our hearts (emotions) affects our minds (intellect), bodies (physical), interactions and behaviors, and spirit,” she said.
Minds need continuous inspiration
Keep the brain active. Improving intellectual wellness involves broadening perspectives through education, conversations with others, developing personal interests, and exercising the mind.
“Intellectual wellness…encourages creative, stimulating mental activities, and the filling of our minds with healthy influences/information. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People with high levels of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn by expanding their knowledge base and learning new skills,” Nunez said.
She emphasized, though, that it is crucial to be selective and intentional about what we fill our minds with. This means being selective about what we read, watch, and listen to—for these impact our minds.
“Aligned with intellectual wellness, again as a component of overall wellness, our Expected School-Wide Learning Results for Grace Christian Academy addresses students as academic achievers and critical thinkers and unwavering learners who view learning as a lifelong process,” she said.
The school spotlights intellectual wellness as characterized by a desire to keep learning, to think critically, to be open to new ideas, and to be a good decision-makers and problem solvers.
“Reading, doing challenging puzzles, respectfully debating issues with others who have opposing viewpoints, learning a new language or musical instrument, trying a new hobby or sport, discussing and analyzing current events, or teaching and tutoring others are just some ways to maintain or improve intellectual wellness,” Nunez added.
These strategies, and more, are conducted not just in the classrooms but in extracurricular activities at Grace Christian Academy.
Filling our minds with positive truths
Maintaining wellness is crucial, most especially in times of crises, such as the pandemic we all are facing today.
“Because crises affect the person, family, and community as a whole, overall wellness is crucial to be able to not only survive the crisis but thrive through it. In this pandemic, for example, the situation can produce feelings and thoughts of hopelessness and despair. Filling our minds with positive truths of hope, resiliency, strength, endurance, etc. remains essential as a daily exercise through such crises,” she said.
Nunez added that intellectual wellness development will contribute to and function interactively with how we address other aspects of wellness.
And for the community, Nunez has this to share: “[Take] care of your mind, heart, body, and spirit in order to keep positive, hopeful, healthy, and well at every stage of life, in every journey, and through each crisis. In so doing, it is vital to remember that we do not need to rely on our own strength and wisdom. The Bible states in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” May we all remember that God is the source of all we need.”
Grace Christian Academy is located on Navy Hill, Saipan. For more information, call  322-3320 or visit https://gca-nmi.com.