In this second article I want to explore what you learned from taking the brief assessment that indicated your brain preference in the July 20th post.
As you review your preferences, let’s remember that the brain is often referred to as a “muscle.” The more you use it, the more developed it becomes: you gain more skills, ability, and insight. Ultimately, in order for us to derive the benefits of a we need to be using the muscles in our left and right hemispheres as the situations dictate, not just out of habit or based on what we “prefer.”
Let’s review your results. I’m sure some of you found that you had an equal number of left brain and right brain responses out of the list of 18 preferences/functions. If so, then you are somewhat balanced in your hemispheric processing. Now how do you work that “brain muscle?” What I would recommend is that you review both hemisphere lists and select one or two from each preference list and try to do some work on building that skill/muscle. What you are aiming for is to enable yourself to have as many capabilities as possible…all at your grasp, to better enhance what you do and how you experience those actions.
Now, if you have a rather obvious “skewing” of preferences for one hemisphere over the other…such as a score of Left 15 and Right 3; or Right 12 and Left 4, then it is obvious where you brain orientation/preference lies. You probably already knew this before taking the assessment, but now, hopefully, it clarifies a bit more.
So what might you do next? In order for you to move toward the goal of getting your “whole self” engaged, I would recommend that you look at the list of 18 preferences for the least preferred hemisphere. Pick out 3 items that you could work on…something that if you developed some skill around the action it would serve your dominant brain orientation well.
When you select these 3 items, I would recommend that you choose ones that aren’t a “big” stretch for you. I offer this recommendation because since you are so strongly oriented toward one hemisphere doing actions that belong in the opposite hemisphere will be quickly scrutinized by your brain and you’ll reject them…they won’t be comfortable or easy or second-nature to you at all. You’ll experience some form of resistance or rejection…so it’s necessary to take little steps as you build up some complimentary approaches from your least preferred brain hemisphere. Further, I don’t recommend working on all 3 at once. Review your list of 3 items and prioritize them: then select 1 and work on that for a week or two. See what happens and how this work actually compliments and helps your dominant preference. It would be helpful if you kept a journal to track your reactions and your results.
I would also suggest that you look your dominant brain hemisphere. What one or two functions could you work on to develop even further? Think about all of this as a work out plan for your brain. In the next section I am suggesting a number of activities and hobbies that you can do to develop either your left or your right brain. There are also a few suggestions to work on developing the left-brain/right-brain balance. Let me know what results you get!
If you are LEFT BRAIN DOMINANT then try some of these ACTIVITIES and HOBBIES to develop the RIGHT BRAIN.
15.Listening to music
21.Playing with children
RIGHT BRAIN ACTIVITIES:
1.Go dancing in a night club
2.Fly a kite
3.Play with modeling clay
4.Day dream for 15 minutes
5.Drive around in the car without feeling guilty about it
6.Run for pleasure not for exercise
7.Take 500 pictures and don’t worry what you’re going to do with them
8.Create a personal logo
10.Picture your life five years from now and then draw it
11.Play what your kids want to play
12.Dance without moving your feet
13.Take ten minutes to “smell the rose,” reflect on the sensations around you
14.Listen to music you love when you want to
15.Decorate with some natural accents
16.Come to tears without feeling shame or guilt
17.Find something your children have taught you and find some way to thank them
19.Observe an object and draw it without looking at your paper
20.Hum your favorite tune and make up your own lyrics
21.Play a musical instrument
22.Do some Origami
23.Play word association and memory games
24.Think up a strategy for something and then implement it
25.Look at the sky and identify as many different shapes/objects from the clouds
If you are RIGHT BRAIN DOMINANT then try some of these ACTIVITIES and HOBBIES to develop the LEFT BRAIN.
LEFT BRAIN HOBBIES:
LEFT BRAIN ACTIVITIES:
1.Predict what will happen tomorrow based on what you know happened today
2.Figure out how a tool or machine you use functions
3.Take a current problem you are having and break it down into it component parts
4.Take an impulsive decision you have made recently and look at it rationally
5.Convert your retirement dreams into a definite plan
6.Join an investment club
7.Play a logic game
8.Explore the functioning of a computer
9.Play “devil’s advocate” in a discussion
10.Write a critique of a favorite film/book
11.Assemble a scale model
12.Make a personal budget
13.Make a list of all you own
14.Organize your CD’s by category or alphabet
15.Make a family tree
16.Arrange your tools
17.Balance your checkbook
18.Create a short term plan for the next week
19.Be on time all day
20.Arrange your photo albums
21.Make a to-do list every day for a week: review at end of day
22.Read a new book: don’t skim through it
23.Clean up your computer’s desktop
24.Start a diary/journal
25.Learn a new skill or language
Striking a BALANCE…
To work on developing a balance between your brain hemispheres you might try any of the following suggestions:
This activity demands an incredible amount of eye-hand coordination and gets both body parts and brain hemispheres involved in action simultaneously.
2. Alternating Dominance:
To sharpen your skills, to off-set your habits, and to build your brain muscle, try doing common daily activities with your non-dominant hand and foot. See how this stretches you and note what results emerge.
3. Color / Word Test:
This exercise was developed by psychologist John Stroop about 80 years ago as he was exploring how the brain’s two sides worked together.
Round 1: Say out loud the names of the written word, no matter what color ink was used to write the word.
Round 2: Say out loud the color of the letters of the written word, no matter what the written word is.
Round 3: Say out loud the color of the dot squares.
I would be interested in hearing from you about your experiences doing these exercises.
Part of the application of Stroop’s test relates to color and language as well as looking at the part of the brain between the two hemispheres that help resolve any conflicts of cognition between the hemispheres.