We all have a dominant side to our brain – we either favor the right or the left side. Left-brain thinkers are usually more creative, while those right-brain thinkers are often more analytical, but it is not always that cut-and-dried. In fact, most people are a combination of both. By cross training your brain you can get the “neglected” side to work for you as well as the favored side.
One thing neuroscientists know for sure is that the dominant side of your brain has a big influence on how you process information, as well as how you socialize.
According to Dr. Carolyn Hopper, the Learning Strategies Coordinator at Middle Tennessee State University and author of Practicing College Learning Strategies, “a breakdown of right- and left-brain functions can actually help students capitalize on their learning styles,” and help adults in their jobs and everyday lives.
Athletes work different areas of their bodies in order to build up their muscles at targeted areas. You can do the same for your brain, by learning how each side of your brain operates in order to strengthen these areas. Brain exercises keep you mentally sharp, improves your stamina, and expands your memory.
Start by sorting out which hemisphere of your brain you normally use, and then work on the other areas to beef-up both sides of the brain.
Left Brainers: Linear Thinkers
- Process information step by step (linearly)
- Are detail oriented, but are usually poor at the punch lines of a joke
- Are list makers, outlining tasks before they begin them.
- Are logical thinkers — process things in sections before looking at the whole picture
- Keep asking HOW to do something
- Usually takes one thing at a time
- Work well with symbols — math, technical things, formulas and languages
- Remembering names and dates better
- Better at expressing themselves through word – verbally and in writing
Right Brainers: Holistic Thinkers
- Look at the big picture first
- Impatient with details – Are not one for details first
- Want to know WHY they are doing something
- Are impulsive —make last minute decisions
- Natural multi-taskers
- Visual learners — remember faces over names, more apt to be artistic or creative
- Rely more on emotions and intuition than facts
- Better at expressing themselves visually — remember better if they take notes or from visualization
There are very few people who are totally left or right brained. Think of it this way — a person with total left-brain qualities would be more of a robot, paying attention to details and going about things totally logically. A totally right-brained person would be completely impulsive and ignoring details. They would use their emotions and senses to make any decision, not basing anything on logic or following any procedures. Wow — imagine the chaos in a world dominated by either of these extremes! It would be close to having a world full of Sheldons (from the Big Bang Theory) and Charlies (from Two and a half Men).
Most of us utilize both sides of our brains at one time or another, but do have a dominant side they rely on more. You could be great at languages, but keep a messy house — or love to paint and sculpt, but also enjoy sitting down to a Sodoku puzzle.
Interestingly, writing involves both left- and right-brain functions. While spelling and grammar fall under the jurisdiction of the left-brain, the right side is responsible for coherence and meaning–getting the writing to make sense.
Cross-training your brain requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and working at strengthening the least dominate side of your brain. There are mental exercises that can be learned to strengthen each side of your brain.
Look for something you really like to do, and make it a game more than work and exercise. Start out like the athletes, begin simply and work your way up.
For people who do a lot of mental work (doctors, accountants, researchers) you may want to work on becoming more spontaneous and play down mental games. Do something physical instead of mental, or take up art, sculpting or music. People who tend to look at the overall picture first should try working on something that required more detail — like a puzzle or game with strategy.
There’s never a negative to improving your brain!
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at BrainAthlete.com.
Memoryzine.com – Release Your Mighty Memory: http://www.mightymemory.com
Lifescript — Healthy Living for Women – Right Vs. Left Brain: Which Rules You? http://www.lifescript.com/Soul/Self/Growth/Right_Vs_Left_Brain_Which_Rules_You.aspx?gclid=CPT5-4PLmagCFZQbKgod6xzB5g&trans=1&du=1&ef_id=nCRNpaNlWh8AAIPE:20110413132141:s