Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Balancing the Left and Right

I operate from my left brain and use lists, excel documents, and label makers to organize my life and house. While this certainly helps to make my life simpler, it also can inhibit my spontaneity and my ability to "just be." I never fully understood the duality that left/right brain plays in my existence until I read Jill Bolte Taylor's book, My Stroke of Insight.

In the book, Dr. Taylor, a Harvard-trained brain scientist, chronicles her experience of having a stroke in her left hemisphere. She describes the experience as: "Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke!" followed by a more surprising thought: "Wow, this is so cool!" Because Dr. Taylor's left hemisphere experienced the trauma, her right side took over allowing her to "shift into the consciousness of the present moment."

I appreciated Dr. Taylor's book and found it provided a detailed description of what happens during a stroke and the process of rehabilitation. I also enjoyed the later chapters in which she discusses how we can all find our inner peace.

Reading this book inspired me to try to access and leverage my right-hemisphere in my every day activities. I've tried to forgo the label maker and hand-write the contents of a folder using a pen or pencil. This may sound trivial, but it is actually a challenge for me. Additionally, Dr. Taylor discusses anger and says that the actual, physiological response for anger is only 90 seconds. Anger beyond that is a choice. I try to remember her words when I become angry and let the anger go and move on.

Incorporating this awareness and balance can be challenging.
Are there methods or techniques that you use to balance the left/right sides?

Useful links:

Are you left or right brained? Take a quick, fun test here You will get a detailed report explaining the results and it is free!

More about Dr. Jill Taylor here.

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posted by Lisa Colby, LSW

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