A lot of information has been published recently about the right brain/left brain difference. By now you have probably heard that the left brain dominant thinkers are logical, sequential, analytical and look at the parts. And, the right brain dominant thinkers tend to be intuitive, holistic, synthesizing and look at the whole.

But whether you are dominant on one side or the other, we often get pushed to value left brain dominant work in our culture.  That is why I am taking a moment today to talk about how to exercise your right brain. Regardless of your dominance, you will probably feel much healthier, balanced and more creative if you regularly do right brain activities.

I read an article this week that was very helpful to me to become more mindful about how to engage my right brain skills to balance my left brain dominated ways of thinking.  The Secret to Making Life Decisions With Too Many Options is a blog post written on Zen Habits: Simple Productivity, by Cath Duncan of Mine Your Resources.  Cath points out that,

Left-brain-directed thinking is concerned with following established social norms and rules, rather than inventing new ones. The left brain loves to identify existing rules and categories and fit stuff into those rules and categories, but it’s not good at inventing new possibilities.

We have both too much and too little information to rely solely on information-driven decision-making strategies. Traditional educational systems have taught us to believe that the answers are “out there” and that you just need to collect more information to be able to make the right life decisions. In our information-rich age, this belief can easily lead you to get stuck in research and analysis-paralysis, become overwhelmed with all the details and lose touch with what’s essential and most important to you.

Left-brain-directed decision-making processes are more concerned with being “right” than with being happy.

Cath has some excellent reminders and suggestions in making decisions in our information saturated world. She recommends that we employ our emotional navigation system.

In an information-rich world where we have abundant options, when it comes to making important life decisions, we need to be able to synthesize lots of information, see the big picture, spot themes and relationships, intuitively sense what information is most important to us, and invent possibilities that don’t even exist yet. These are all right-brain-directed thinking skills that we can employ through our emotional navigation system.

Cath suggests that we tune into our fear and anger for clues.  And, to go towards feelings of freedom. She encourages us to stay tuned in and agile in this overwhelming world of information when we make decisions. Check out her inspiring article for more.

Videos to Feed Your Right Brain

For a really good video that illustrates the abilities that come from our right brain, watch this TED talk (if you haven’t already)  with Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist who experienced a stroke. It is truly amazing what she was able to observe.

To develop your creativity muscles, check out Author Whitney Ferre, “The Artist Within: A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit” and her Creatively Fit Program. The program’s goal is to develop right brain thinking so that our left and right hemispheres operate in perfect balance.

Right Brain Exercises

Exercises for your right brain muscles include many enjoyable activities, and include:

  • painting and sketching, arts and crafts – visual “doing” and “creating”
  • learning to play music and singing
  • sports activities
  • creating and writing your own stories (sound familiar? doing some of the other activities will help our writing, too)
  • map reading games
  • visiting art galleries
  • theater games

Just get into play, improv and your imagination – this is the fun muscles to exercise!

How have you been doing this week? Our #writerlbsOff time is coming to an end soon when April is over. Let us know how you are doing below in the comments or on Twitter.

At the conclusion of our four month time in #writerlbsOff, I will continue to have a hashtag to connect us together and discuss topics related to The Writers Life, so the new hashtag that will take over is #writerslife. I have also considered doing a #writerslifeBC which stands for writers life book club that would be done in a weekly chat format. I would really like to begin by discussing Julia Cameron’s – Artist’s Way going through her 12 week course with a group of writers? Sound interesting?