Therapy to Build the Left Brain

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Science has recently been quite focused on right and left brain dominance and its influence on learning, memory and emotions. Most people fall into one dominant category or the other. While everyone indeed uses both hemispheres, we usually favor one side over the other. The left is the more scientific, logical thinking part of your brain. It controls the right side of your body. The right hemisphere is the more creative, fantasy side of your brain and controls the left side. For those who are right brain dominant, left brain exercises may help strengthen the weaker side.

Right Brain/Left Brain

  • Right brain/left brain is a term that has been coined to indicate the two hemispheres of the brain. The right side is the subjective artist. It looks at the "big picture," the underlying pattern of things. It's the psychic part of the brain--where "the hunch" originates--and the creator. The left brain is the information processor, the mathematical side; it keeps information filed sequentially. This is the analytical part of the brain, the part that would be used to dissect a difficult situation and find the most rational solution. The left is also the part of the brain that handles speech.

Harmonious Hemispheres

  • If you find you are right brain dominant and lack a bit of the rational, scientific processing genius of the left, you can do exercises to bolster and strengthen the left hemisphere. One simple way is to approach a subjective topic like art or music and dissect it logically as if you were debating both sides in a competition. Activate the reasoning side of your brain. Speak slowly, with little emotion and try to look at the logical side of each argument. If you do this experiment enough, you eventually will find that you are strengthening the rational side. This can actually be fun if you do it in the most exaggerated way; analyze a Picasso painting as if was a study in paint strokes only. Skip the emotion that the painting evokes; skip the subjective analysis and pick it apart.

    In the same vein, you can paint a picture the way a left brain artist would--and some artists are indeed left brain. Instead of diving right in and letting your emotions run the show, plot out the entire picture before painting it. Plot out the strokes; analyze the colors; divide the picture into mathematical quadrants. This is truly left brain therapy.

Tackle the Problem

  • Another exercise is to tackle an educational assignment using the less dominant side of your brain. Example: If you are reading a book for which you must deliver a written summary, try summarizing the novel by using a graph or a math equation instead of your usual written summary. This should be done as an experiment only if you are dealing with an actual assignment, but the results will surprise you. It is a challenge to use a different hemisphere to tackle a typically comfortable area of your learning quadrant. More left brain challenges include doing word or math puzzles and analytical reasoning word problems at least once a week to keep your left brain as active as possible. Spelling exercises will also strengthen the left side. You will never be completely "whole-brained," but you can certainly strengthen the weak side.

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