Right Brain Enhancing Exercises – to Work More Harmoniously with the Left Brain

I’m assuming that if you are reading this you know that we have two hemispheres of the brain, the left brain and the right brain. The left brain is the logical thinking mind, able to solve problems and think of solutions. It’s the analytic and objective side of the brain. Whereas the right brain, sometimes called Gestalt, has to do with the feelings. It is the creative, intuitive, artistic, and also impulsive side of the brain. It is driven by our feelings and emotions, our beliefs and the subjective thinking that we do. Read below for some enhancing right brain exercises.

We live in a logic dominant world, for the most part, which heavily relies on the left brain. So, tuning more into the right brain can be very beneficial. Don’t forget one brain isn’t ‘good’ and the other ‘bad’. They both work together as a team and are very necessary to use both regularly for optimal function. The reason for these right brain exercises is to help stimulate creativity, the feeling and imaginative side of your brain, and it shouldn’t be neglected. Paying attention to both sides of your brain can allow you to live more harmoniously in life.

These activities promote more use of the right brain, and to work together with the left so we don’t forget how to play, have fun, explore and access the creative potential we all have inside.

Writing

Writing for leisure is a common activity that often gets put to the side from adulthood to childhood. Here are some suggestions:

  • Morning pages/Automatic writing
    • Morning pages are introduced to the masses in the book called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. In short: it’s a time for free writing. Not even thinking about what to write, just pen to paper and see what flows. Julia Cameron recommends writing 3 pages in the morning. I got a small journal and found it manageable to fill 3 pages each morning.
    • This book goes into a step by step guide to dive into your inner artist, but without reading it you can try this for yourself. The point is to free write to access this creative side of yourself that we sometimes neglect in this logic-brain dominated society we live
    • Tips:
      • Reread what you wrote – perhaps there are hidden messages
      • Leave a journal and pen right next to your nightstand
      • Don’t think. Just write
      • Set a timer if you prefer not to do a set number of pages and write for whatever time you have!
    • Try creative writing a story and see what your mind can come up with.
    • Journaling (there are plenty of journals that have prompts) if you find the automatic writing difficult. Or perhaps reflect on your day.
    • Create a bucket list
      • Think of all the things you have wanted to do in your life and just let the pen flow. You may be surprised that comes to mind.
  • Another common writing prompt working with the left and right brain
    • Have a conversation with each hand, start with your right hand and ask “How are you today?” and switch to the left hand and write your reply.
    • Then switch back to the right hand. Then left hand, and so on.
      • This connects both the left and the right brain
    • Note the type of responses that come from each hand.

Use Your Hands

  • Do a Puzzle
    • Let the colors of the puzzle and your logic brain work together to put the pieces together.
  • Try an adult colouring book
    • These have been said to be meditative and relaxing.
    • Allow yourself to be creative with colours and put you in a nice and relaxed state.
  • Cooking
    • Scan your pantry or fridge and try coming up with your own creative twist on a classic recipe
  • Garden/Yard Work
    • Feel the senses as you work with the earth/land. Maybe even remembering high school biology and how plants grow.
  • Photography
    • The possibilities are endless! Do you like landscapes? Portraits? Close-up objects?
    • Play with the lighting and shadows
  • Draw/Paint
    • Maybe choose a theme or just put a pen/brush in your hand and see where the paper takes you.
  • Mould clay/sculpt
    • Using your hands ignite your tactile senses and make something abstract or even try to recreate something from a photo or memory.

Eyes Closed

  • Meditation/observation/Visulisation
    • See our post on meditation for more on this
  • Breathing out your left nostril if trying to activate the right brain.
    • Note this hasn’t been scientifically proven but some people claim it works and can’t hurt to try and see for yourself.

Use Your Body

  • Yoga
    • I recommend downward dog
  • Dancing
    • Free flow into a dance with any movement, to start on the right brain
    • Learn a short choreographed dance to add into the left brain!
  • Qi gong
  • Play a musical instrument/sing

Freestyle

  • Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
    • This is a great exercise as you can pair your right brain activation exercise with a task you do every day
  • Chew your food slowly
    • The ideal is 32 times!
      • This one I find takes a lot of practice!
    • Pay attention to all the sensations eating brings about
    • Talking, watching tv, driving or just general stress while eating affects your digestion
      • Perhaps pick one mindful meal or snack per day to start. The senses can be focused on by your right brain and then the left brain can come in and say “hm, is that turmeric?”
    • Even just thinking about using the right side of your brain and you may be surprised at the impact it can have.

Hope you have enjoyed these right brain exercises for more of an overall balanced brain working together with the left! What are you going to put into action from reading this?

Kristyn Wagner – CCM Graduate, Kinesiologist and Mind Body Medicine Practitioner. 

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