Exercise Your Right Brain to Improve Your Health
North Americans are stressed out... and stress can cause physical health problems. Women under stress usually find that they don’t sleep well, men under stress usually become more aggressive or argumentative.
For a healthy balanced brain, the left and right sides work together to create a well-adjusted response to life situations. People who use both sides of their brains equally enjoy better mental and physical health. When we experience stress, one side of our brains becomes more dominant over the other, which influences our perception of life events and our response to them.
Each side of the brain has a different job to perform to ensure overall good health:
The Right Brain
The right brain provides the overall picture of life events. The right brain reads and interprets other people's body language and creates empathy towards others. The right brain becomes stimulated with new and novel situations, and it provides the picture and context of what we read. It also regulates automatic body functions such as digestion.
The Left Brain
The left brain is the logical thinking brain. It interprets details of situations and recognizes patterns in learning new concepts. It likes to break down problems and solve them, especially for math and science. The left brain controls reading, writing and speaking and has a big influence on the language that we speak.
Most North Americans have more active left brains because we are a math and language oriented culture. Ultimately, because we are a left brain dominant society, most of us could benefit from right brain stimulation. The right brain helps us to calm our minds and decrease the negative effects of stress.
The following suggestions are fun activities that you and your family members can do to stimulate the right side of your brain and improve your overall health:
Use your non-dominant hand as much as possible.
Most of us are right handed, which predisposes us to being left brain dominant. If you are playing games with your kids, such as frisbee, soccer, basketball, softball, etc. use your non-dominant hand (or foot) during part of the activity. Exercising your non-dominant side changes the activity into something new and fun and it increases your right brain activity at the same time.
Look up when you walk.
Looking down decreases your right brain’s activity. When walking, if you find yourself looking down at your feet or on the path in front of you, take a breath, look up at the horizon and notice what is around you. Your right brain will be more stimulated this way.
Change your routine as much as possible.
Routine is a left brain dominated activity, and many of us have the same routine every day. Our left brains love routine, but our right brains become stagnant. If you change your routine and try new activities, you activate your right brain function. Sit in different spots at your table for every meal. Eat your meal with your fork in your opposite hand (this is especially fun on spaghetti night). If you are in meetings at work, sit on different sides of the meeting table. If you always eat at the same restaurants, try new ones. Drive a different way home from work, if possible. Listen to a new radio station. Try different types of music. Cook different foods. You get the idea…..
See a chiropractor
Adjustments help to release interference between the brain and the body, which stimulates brain function and improves your overall wellbeing. People who are adjusted regularly move their bodies more easily and they enjoy better health.
Play creative games
Try Charades, Family Cranium, or Pictionary. These games are whole brain and body movement games, which are entertaining and help you to connect with your family and friends. Your right brain thrives on these types of activities.
Find positive television shows and uplifting movies to watch
Crime shows and the news are more left brain stimulaters because of the detail involved. Instead, choose television programs that are positive and make you laugh. Bring out your favourite funny movies, check out comedies on Netflix, find a new show on television that makes you feel good.
Find ways to laugh more
Laughter is a right brained activity and it improves your health. As a society, we need to become less serious and easier on ourselves. Laughter can really stimulate the right brain, it reduces stress and promotes an overall feeling of wellbeing.
Crank the tunes and have a dance party. Dancing is awesome for right brain stimulation, and your whole family will benefit. You'll get exercise, a chance to laugh and stimulate that right brain at the same time.
Get outside and play
If you have kids, great! If you don’t have kids, borrow some, or have fun on your own. Children can find joy in just about anything; let them teach you how to get silly and have fun. Walk curbs with them —it is a great activity to improve your balance and your brain function as well as theirs. Climb jungle gyms, throw a ball around, go for a bike ride, get to your nearest park.
The more physical activities that you do and the more fun you have, the better your brain functions. The better your brain functions, the more your overall level of health improves easily and naturally.
If possible, include as many of these activities into your day. As you stimulate your right brain, you’ll notice that you feel better, you sleep better and your mood is much easier on yourself and the people you love.