Stuck in a rut at work, getting frustrated with your home life, or simply need a little mental pick me up? This simple tip could help.
Experts have found that doing exercises as simple as brushing your teeth with your left hand instead of your right can have positive long-term effects on your well-being and can strengthen your brain. With this exercise you will find you are more able to control your temper, be calmer and react to stress more positively, and even stave off other mental difficulties some of us meet later in life, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Using your non-dominant hand
It’s quite simple, really – just begin doing everyday tasks such as eating or brushing your teeth – only using the hand you don’t normally use. So, if you use your right hand for eating your cereal, use your left, and vice versa. You can do this with any number of activities, and it’s up to you how much you incorporate it into your life. The more you do it, the more effective it will be and the bigger difference it will make to your brain long-term.
Here are a few ideas of how you can use you non-dominant:
- stirring your coffee
- opening doors
- swiping dates on tinder
- and so on. -Pretty much anything that is safe to do will work.
Neurobics — the mindfulness technique
There is a scene in The Peaceful Warrior in which the budding gymnast student realizes that each moment in life is precious, and that each moment matters. This idea can be distilled into the more scientifically based phrase: ‘neurobics’. These are exercises that keep your mind agile and also keep you in the moment, more aware of your senses than ever before. Using your non-dominant (hand) fits into this category, helping us see life in new and different ways.
Neurobics can be likened to mindfulness techniques, as both bring our attention more intensely to our sensations as we go through life. This is a handy tip if you don’t feel like meditation is the thing for you right now, but you’d like to take some action to feeling more balanced in life. If you are more balanced mentally, your life will automatically feel more in balance physically and emotionally, too.
Avoiding memory loss
We are often encouraged to try memory exercises to keep our brains agile, but fortunately, we can swap hands without buying any expensive gizmos and without taking any time out from our day!
Using your brain, like using and developing any muscle, makes it stronger and more accessible. Much like other new learnt skills, (such as learning a new language) using the non-dominant hand has a similar effect in terms of growing your brain’s strength (like all other neurobic activities), can help with avoiding age-related challenges such as Alzheimer’s.
Self-control and aggression
This tip can help develop our levels of self-control. Something we could all do a little more of when we’re wanting to shout at our boss or swear at the guy who just cut across us when driving to work.
Levels of aggression shown seem to be directly linked with how much self-control we individually have. Which makes sense. if you can’t control your temper, you are more likely to fly off the handle when someone eats the last profiterole, for example.
In Dr Thomas Denson’s study, he found that practicing this tip for just two weeks led participants to have higher levels of self-control, and also, consequently, to have more ability to react in a less aggressive manner.
The special thing about this tip is that it has been proven to actually stimulate and develop certain parts of the brain in a positive way. This workout for the brain means that it runs better than ever before. As Dr P. Murali Doraiswamy (of Duke University Medical Centre) said, it is like “having more cell towers in your brain to send messages along. The more cell towers you have, the fewer missed calls.” More brain connections mean more ideas, and more possibilities in your life.
Amazing what such a small change can do. So, if you’re needing a mental pick-me-up, I urge you to try it out, even just for a day; see how you feel, and see how life comes alive.
Featured photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via unsplash.com