Are Left Handers in their Right Mind?

Why is it so important to engage both sides of your brain.

Have you ever heard the joke, “Left handers are in their ‘right’ mind?” 

I admit it – I am one of the 10% of the world that is left handed. Which may be why I have heard and know that joke.   I always knew that I was different. Did you know that pie cutters are made for right handed people? Left handers have been forced to adapt in a right-handed world.

In my elementary school we had these pre-formed desks perfect for classrooms of right handed students.

These desks were terrible!  As a lefty, I had to sit sideways and twist around to find the solid surface.

Mrs. Johnson, my 3rd grade teacher, laughed at me in front of the class and said, “You have the worst handwriting of any student I have ever had.”  

I was so embarrassed and humiliated to turn around. My classmates were all holding back the laughter as I found my way back to my very awkward desk.  I was the only left-handed person in the class.

Elementary school did have one cool left handed memory was having these little left-handed scissors that were green handled and they were pointed. My right-handed friends were left to have only rounded tips.  I remember my mother teaching me things with cooking, tying my shoes etc.  She had to sit facing me and that was the way that I learned. Interestingly enough that when I had my kids and had to teach them how to cut food, how to tie shoes, I had to sit across from them as well. I had wanted one of them to be left handed, but no luck there.  

As an adult, a family member thought they were being very thoughtful and ordered me some specialty items from a left-handed store. Ironically, these items were extremely awkward for me to use with my left hand. Why? Because I had adapted to the other way and learned how to use my right hand. Often there are circumstances, blocks, challenges that are keeping us from developing the best part of ourselves. To adapt and continue we find a new way, a work-around, an alternate route. These routes, once made, are hard to change once they have become engrained in our memories.

When we are beginning a healing journey it is important to consider working out both sides of the brain. The different sides of the brain have different functions. Trauma can create neuropathways, muscle memory and sensory triggers changing automatic responses to stimuli.

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Here’s an example of mine, I was mugged from behind one-night walking in Key West, Florida. When he hit me hard from behind I fell on the ground, and my purse strap busted as he grabbed it. Unfortunately, my friend’s arm got stuck in her purse strap and he dragged her 20 ft before it broke, and he ran away with our things. For years after the mugging, when I was on a street, or even in a big box retailer if I felt someone coming up too fast behind me, I would get really frightened.

Here are three simple things I do when I feel overwhelmed or feel like I need to reset. Simply reset your brain in 30 seconds. 

First.  Breathe. Take at least 3 deep breaths. Simple way for the brain to ‘reset’.

Second. Tap. Start tapping your fingers and / or feet side to side.  Left side, right side left side right side. The rhythm is another simple way to engage both sides quickly.

Third. Choose. Consider an activity on an opposite hemisphere. If you are right handed, you are naturally more inclined to use more of your left hemisphere; so, make specific choices to engage in the other hemisphere.

 

Share with me your left handed story…