February 10, 2016

Left-Right Brain Balancing 101

Are you more left or right brained?

Did you know that the best learning isn't with one or the other, but the synergy of both? Whole learning requires this integration and when the brain is off-balance it actually makes full learning harder. But there are many ways to balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain.

First establish where your strengths and weaknesses are...

Being aware of the different parts of the brain and their functions is also helpful.

Here is a picture of the brain and the parts associated with the senses. As we work on areas involving the senses and get multiple senses and parts of the brain engaged we strengthen our brain and those associated senses of the body. We build greater awareness and synergy in mind and body.

So What can we do to strengthen our left and right brains to work together? Use multiple senses to cross all over the brain! mullti-sensory experiences are how we were born to learn. Not at a desk by a giver of facts. Our brains my be sponges, to some extent, but they weren't made to passively absorb. They were made to make connections and adapt and explore in three dimension! :)

Here are some activities we already do that we can try to get in a little more....
  • reading, writing and performing poetry
  • listening to classical music like Mozart or Bach
  • playing an instrument
  • creating art or observing good art (I read somewhere that William Turner paintings have a great effect on balancing the brain...but I can't find that source.)
  • exercise where we cross all the different planes:

great article: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain

side notes:

Here is a simple article about how focusing on improving motor-coordination and brain-balancing will improve writing faster than focusing on handwriting in and of itself.

And here is a short article about needing both left and right to be a good artist:

Also, Brain Gym is a specific approach that teaches how to exercise the brain so the left and right hemispheres are working together--synergy. If you want to learn more about that and specific activities you can do, you can read more about that post. (there are more and more approaches coming out, so don't feel limited to that one)

Here is a taste...
Brain Balancing Techniques
If both hemispheres of the brain are in balance or in 'sync', then a natural electromagnetic shield is put up by your brain for protection from negative influences.

Your non-dominant hand is the hand with which you DO NOT normally write. Your dominant hand is your primary writing hand.

The reason we are learning to use both hands here is to establish a cross-dominant brain process. Every time you use both hands at the same time, you help your brain to be more balanced, and as a result, you can achieve a higher level of focus for any endeavor you might choose. 

Any physical activity involving movements that cross the mid-line of the body can help your brain become more balanced. Here are just a few examples:
·           Cross-country skiing
·           Rollerblading
·           Walking with arms swinging in rhythm with the opposite feet
·           Bicycling
·           Hiking
·           Dancing

Below are some exercises you can try which will help you to balance your brain.

Lazy 8s: Use a large sheet of paper and markers or crayons. Starting at the middle of the paper, draw a horizontal 8 with your dominant hand. Then draw another one with your non-dominant hand. Finally, with a marker or crayon in each hand, simultaneously draw a lazy 8 with each hand.

X Marks the Spot: Draw a big X on a piece of paper and study it. It can remind you that both parts of your brain are connected and can send messages back and forth.

Double Doodles: Using both hands simultaneously, doodle as much as you like for 3 minutes on a clean sheet of paper. Don't forget to breathe! Use different colored markers or crayons.

Hookups: Cross one foot over the other and one wrist over the other. Put your palms together, bend your elbows, pull your crossed hands to your chest and take about 10 deliberate breaths. Stay in this position until you are feeling calm and centered. This is an especially good exercise to perform before a potentially stressful event.

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