Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Feeling Intelligent: A Guide To Your Emotions
Published May 8th, 2021 & updated on Dec 7th, 2021
Feeling intelligent isn’t something we might express out loud to other people — or even ourselves. If we say that we’re intelligent, we might worry about sounding braggadocious. Who gets to decide what’s considered intelligent anyways? Is it a test score, or the number of facts you can retain in that beautiful brain of yours? Like, we can remember all the lyrics to a song we liked in the third grade…but maybe we still don’t ‘get’ algebra. Seriously though, we should all feel intelligent. ‘Cause the human brain is a really fascinating thing, and it does all sorts of intelligent processes all day, every day. Without us even realizing it! THAT’S how good it is!
Feeling intelligent has a lot to do with how we view ourselves, so it can be a tricky emotion to manage. But, don’t worry! We’re here to help make more sense of it. Let’s dive thru feeling intelligent, what it really means and how it impacts our mental wellbeing.
A Deeper Look At Feeling Intelligent
Okay, we know what intelligence means. Smart. We get it. But let’s take a look at a true definition, just to get the full picture here! Dictionary.com defines “intelligent” as: “adj. having good understanding or a high mental capacity; quick to comprehend.” So you see things and you understand them. Got it.
But FEELING intelligent is more than our ability to read, memorize or solve problems. It’s more than a score on a test or having the perfect answer when you’re called on in a meeting. Unfortunately, that’s how so many of us compare ourselves to other people. We see intelligence as something you either have, or you don’t, and we separate ourselves into boxes. They’re the nerdy one, they’re the artistic one, they’re the athletic one.
But these labels only hold us all back and dismiss something super important: we’re all intelligent in our own way. And just because we might learn in different ways, or think about something different than the next person, it doesn’t invalidate our intelligence. At all. For example, someone with ADHD, a mental health disorder, or dyslexia might have their own unique processes for how they absorb information or come to a solution. That doesn’t mean their thoughts or learning styles are any less valid. But because they think a little differently, they’ve probably taken some hits to their self-confidence a time or two because they don’t see their own intelligence as ‘normal’ or acceptable. What intelligence ultimately comes down to, though? Confidence.
Yep, you read that right. Confidence. You can be the smartest person in the room! Wanna know how? You believe it about yourself. You shake off the imposter syndrome that’s telling you “you don’t belong here with all of these intelligent people. They’re better than you.” And instead, you recognize all of your strengths and skills. You reflect on your accomplishments. You understand that, hey…the way I think? It’s GROUNDBREAKING. You think it, you start to feel it. And you deserve to be braggadocious about it!
How Feeling Intelligent Shows Up Mentally
Like we said, feeling intelligent is totally rooted in confidence. And to no one’s surprise, feeling confident is ahhh-mazing for your mental wellbeing. Let’s get a little more specific though, ‘cause there’s always more to learn right? Here are some ways feeling intelligent (and super confident) is great for your mental health:
- Heightened self-esteem
- Positive self-image
- Reduced anxiety
- Decrease in stress
- Increased productivity
- Improved sense of empowerment
- Stronger interpersonal relationships
- Better communication skills
- Drive to succeed
Feeling intelligent gives you the confidence to go after what you want. You view yourself in a better light, and as someone who can take on challenges or problems with ease. (Okay maybe not always with ease, but you’re def confident enough to try anyway!) And that’s a really powerful thing. It eliminates those anxieties or feelings of self-doubt that would otherwise hold you up. It’s like you’re freakin’ unstoppable!
How Feeling Intelligent Shows Up Physically
When you feel intelligent and ultra-confident in yourself, it turns out there are some great benefits for your physical health too. Our mind and body work together in unison, so when our mental wellbeing is doing great, our physical health is gonna follow suit. Here are some physical signs of intelligence/confidence that we wanna highlight:
- Increased energy
- Better cardiac health
- Improved sleep
- Less muscle tension/better posture
- Developing healthy habits like staying hydrated, eating balanced meals, maintaining physical activity, etc.
Emphasis on the ‘better posture’ point! People who believe in their smarts and feel confident always seem to sit up straighter and stand taller, don’t they? Just like the action of smiling can trick your brain into feeling happier (yes, it’s a thing) you can try sitting up straighter or carrying yourself with confidence, even if you DON’T feel that way. Try it out when you’re sitting in class or doing a presentation at work, and you might notice a huuuge difference in yourself! You’re intelligent as fuck — so act like it, friend.
5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Intelligent
Okay, brainiac. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to look at some strategies for embracing this emotion! Try ‘em out for yourself and you’ll be feeling like Einstein in no time (did that sort of rhyme? You tell us, you’re the smart one!).
We’re big fans of journaling here at DiveThru. Any practice that allows us to explore our feels is a practice we love! So, whenever you’re feeling exceptionally intelligent, write out exactly how you’re feeling and what made you feel this way. Did you score an amazing grade, or make a super witty joke? Expressing your feelings can give you clarity and feels really great, so jot it all down in detail!
2. Engage In Compassionate Self-Talk
Feeling intelligent makes us feel super confident and sure of ourselves. So if you wanna embrace this feeling even further, or just need a lil’ pep talk whenever you’re not feeling so intelligent, try out these compassionate self-talk phrases. I am intelligent in my own way. My thoughts and feelings are valid. The way I learn and think about things makes me unique.
Meditation is a method that’s been used to relieve stress and improve mental clarity since, like…forever. This practice allows us to slowww down and shift our mindset, which is great whenever we don’t feel so intelligent or confident in ourselves. Even if you DO feel secure in your smarts, meditation is still a great option. It’s versatile like that. If you’re not sure how to meditate, follow a guided practice (find one on YouTube) to get you started!
4. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude can look like simply taking notice of the good things in life and showing them appreciation. That might involve writing a list of things that bring you joy, volunteering in your community, or showing acts of kindness to the people who make your life better. Whatever it may be, gratitude is the gift that keeps on givin’.
5. Connect With A Friend
Time to connect with a friend and tell them alllll about it. You’re allowed to brag every now and then, okay?? Text them, FaceTime, or ask to hang out. Feeling connected to someone who uplifts you is the shit, even when you’re already feelin’ pretty great about yourself! Spread those positive feels ‘cause it’s contagious (in a good way!).
Thanks for diving thru this emotion with us, ya smart cookie! We hope you learned something new and check back in with us again for more emotions. There are tons more where that came from!