Thursday, July 28, 2011

Balancing Act - keeping the left and right hemispheres in check

In case you didn't know, we actually have more than one brain.  For the sake of this posting, I'm only going to talk about the left and right sides of our brains called hemiespheres. You've probably heard people refer to left-handed people as being more artistic, because being left-handed triggers a right-brain response. Our emotions reside in the right hemisphere of the brain along with our creative nature in an area called the amygdala. This is where our emotions live not our thoughts. Our thought command center is located in our left brain.  Over there in left-field is where we make lists, think projects through, balance our check books, etc.

One of the things I talk to clients about is learning to live in a more balanced state where one side of the brain is not dominating the other unless of course you are doing a math problem and there really is no need for the emotions to step in. If we live primarily in our right brains, we are ruled by our emotions and if we live in our thinking-left brains, we are disconnected from our feelings and emotions. I hear many people say, "I don't know what I'm feeling." This is usually an example of someone who lives in their left brain and can be totally unaware that our thoughts affect our feelings. A thought is usually what takes up to a feeling state. For example, lets say, you find out you failed a test. A first thought might be, "I'm stupid," which might trigger a feeling of sadness. But, if you fail the test and think, "next time, I'm going to study harder, ask for help and work on my anxiety," you will most likely feel, an sense of empowerment rather than sadness.

As your day skips along, be aware of where you are. If you are doing an artistic project, are you judging it? Critical of it? Or, are you allowing the process to happen. If you are doing something creative that needs to be a certain way, be aware of how you are talking to yourself. You can get to a product or end result without self-criticism. Try getting there with support and kindness from your right brain.  Same goes with if you are doing something that requires thinking. Are you balancing your check book and allowing your right brain to step in and become sad because you have no money in your account OR, are you being gentle with yourself and THINKING of ways to get back on track with your money management?

Take a little time out of each day and be aware of where you've been spending your time: have I been completely in my right brain or left? Have I made room for balance. If you work in a thinking field such as accounting, have you maybe done some mindfulness or doodling to give your right brain a rest? If not, give it a try...your hemispheres will thank you!