Have you ever tried to do your usual chores with your non-dominant hand for any length of time? I’m a righty, along with approximately 90% of the population, but I have a family member with chronic issues to her right wrist (like me she’s a righty), and it makes life ridiculously difficult.
However, practising a little left-handedness can be beneficial for our brains. Research has shown that musicians who use both hands to play their instruments have a larger corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres. [Hmm…now I’m wondering if typing can create similar results?] Apparently using our non-dominant hand can stimulate our brain’s plasticity, and strengthens neural connections in the brain. In effect, it’s exercise for the brain.
What’s more, it can help increase creativity too. When we use our non-dominant hand, both sides of our brains become active—an ideal environment for creativity and problem solving, according to the experts. This is good news for writers, evidently. We’re always looking for ways to increase our creativity. But I think creativity can benefit everyone.
When I was a teenager and the ironing became my chore, there was only one available power point in the living room that I could use to plug in the iron. If I wanted to watch the TV while I ironed, I had to iron left handed. Naturally that’s what I did.
I rarely iron these days (I mean, seriously, who has the time? Besides, I loathe ironing). Yet I can still iron just as well with my left hand as I can with my right.
All of this has had me trying out a few experiments. I mean, it can’t hurt right?
I’ve started brushing my teeth with my left hand—dear lord, who knew I could be such a klutz at brushing my teeth! I’ve been eating yogurts left-handed, though I still open them with my right because…well, I know yoghurt is supposed to be good for you, but perhaps not so good for your hair, lap and the kitchen. ;-) For the same reason I’ve not advanced to using sharp knives with my left hand either and I doubt I will (I’ve no intention of getting carried away). But I’m prepared to soldier on with a few minor tasks in the interests of increased brain plasticity (can you tell I just love saying brain plasticity?)—like playing solitaire on my ipad (frustratingly slow), and moving my trackpad to the left every now and again. We’ll see how it goes…
What about you—are you ambidextrous? Are there any surprising things you do with your non-dominant hand? Or, like me, are you an absolute klutz?
P.S. Sarah and the Secret Sheikh is available in Australia and New Zealand on August 21! And you can grab the ebook now at the Harlequin store.