With another pending surgery to my dominant hand due to numerous injuries (trust me, I won't go into the boring details) I am reflective of the many research studies on our brain's right and left hemispheres and their capabilities. Now, I have an 'enhanced' frame of personal reference. I will be learning a new way to open a bag of chips, cook, blow dry my hair and hook my giant dog's leash using only my left hand. Maybe he will learn to do it himself and we will win some 'Canine Talent Contest' someday, who knows...?
Interestingly, this entire escapade thus far has been a gift to me for a million different reasons.
Much research has been done surrounding the right and left hemispheres of our brains. Our right hemisphere dominates our left side of our body and vice versa. As you can observe in the illustration below, the left hemisphere is responsible for our logical, mathematical and more analytical skills and the right hemisphere for language processing, creativity, and emotion. If the Good Lord had intended us to recruit capabilities from only ½ of our brains I think he would have filled the other 1/2 with Bubble Wrap, Silly Putty or some other alternative filler.
Neuroscience continues to confirm that we are to recruit and strengthen skills and functions from our entire brain. The brain is malleable and has the truly awesome capability to alter and strengthen weaker/underutilized functions, however, it is up to us to employ both sides. Not unlike a circuit breaker, there are synapses or "switches" that we can engage that help us function. Naturally, we gravitate towards those functions and strategies that are personally rehearsed and fit with our individual styles, personalities and affinities. For example, I dictated this blog as it is easier and more efficient due to my injury. Yet, being somewhat 'right brain dominant', I was also dependent on my notes.
Each and every challenge strengthens our resolve and resiliency. We tend to remember what is difficult rather than what comes to us automatically. If you are more logical and analytical vs language based or creative, then taking an art class would challenge not only your right hemisphere but may also shed light on talents you never knew you had! There are also studies to indicate that we can possibly stave off cognitive decline due to aging by engaging both hemispheres to complete tasks.
Go ahead - try to do something with your non-dominant hand such as eating, brushing your teeth or writing. Also try something that isn't in your comfort zone or natural skill set personally or professionally. It may feel awkward at first, but rest assured it will only strengthen you both physiologically and personally as well!
Think of our brains and our lives as a series of different recipes. How bland would our food taste using only one or two ingredients and no experimentation with herbs and spices? Would you be satisfied with it day after day, year after year? Celebrate EVERY synapse of who you are using both oars, it makes life so much more colorful. Our world needs more of our individual affinities, talents and insights to enhance and support one another.
“Life is about using every color in the crayon box.” -Ru Paul