How to Grow Brain Cells While Brushing your Teeth


As I get older, it seems that I’m constantly getting these nagging injuries from me doing my crazy Crossfit workouts. (You can ask the wife, she’s tired of hearing me complain).

I’ve tweaked my shoulder, left knee, right trap (upper back), forearm, and; most recently, my right bicep.

I had never hurt my bicep that much before and was surprised on how much it affected my day to day activities.

It affected them so much that I had to rely on my left arm to pick up the slack.

The incident had reminded me about some show that I watched that discussed on how much of a benefit it was to use your non-dominant hand.

You may be surprised to learn that there are benefits to you when using your opposite hand – I know I was.

It feels awkward and you are likely to have much less control over what your non-dominant hand can do, but when you use your opposite hand you are “growing” your brain! I used my injury as a chance to permanently grow my brain for ever more.

I made a vow to start using my left hand for as many tasks that were previously always done with my right. It was time to grown my brain. Trust me. I need all the help I can get. :)

This is Your Brain

The human brain is an organ that improves through mental stimulation. The brain continuously adapts, grows and rewires itself through the growth of new neurons. When people age, it’s common that they experience memory loss and sometimes their fine motor skills – but unless the mental decline is caused by disease, most age-related memory and motor skill ability loss is from lack of brain exercise. If you don’t use your brain, it loses it’s knowledge.

This is Your Brain Left Handed

Using your opposite hand will strengthen neural connections in your brain, and even grow new ones. It’s similar to how physical exercise improves your body’s functioning and grows muscles.

Try using your non-dominant hand to write. Use it to control the computer mouse or television remote. Brush your teeth with your other hand. You’ll probably notice it’s much harder to be precise with your movements. When I first started to brush my teeth with my left hand, it was hard to actually move my hand instead of my head.

benefits of using nondominant hand

Now let’s see how I write with my left hand….

Using your left hand might remind you how you felt when you were first learning to write your name, or tie your shoelaces. You will probably feel awkward, but this just means you are teaching your brain a new skill.

Repetitively using your opposite hand will eventually build up the knowledge and ability to use it with better functioning, although it’s probably not going to become as easy to use as your dominant hand.

Your Opposite Hand – Unleashes Creativity

Using your non-dominant, or opposite hand, confuses your brain. The brain is in charge of keeping you functioning and it does that with predictability.

It understands the way our bodies work and behaves in the world, but when we try writing with our opposite hand – it confuses the brain and it’s efficiency.

The brain that operates effectively for our every day activities may not be the same parts of the brain which allows us to be creative.

If you’d like to unleash some hidden creativity, try writing with your opposite hand. As bad as my penmanship is, writing with my left hand isn’t really that worse :) It is sometimes the nudge our practical brain needs to “move out of the way” for the creative juices to get flowing again!

The non-dominant hand is actually linked to the non-dominant hemisphere in your brain – the one that isn’t exercised as often. There are studies that show that when you use your dominant hand, one hemisphere of the brain is active. When you use the non-dominant hand, both hemispheres are activated, which may result in thinking differently and becoming more creative.

What I Now Do With My Left Hand

I was amazed on how challenging it was in the beginning to use my left hand. I felt like a doofus and realized how uncoordinated my left hand really is.

Now, I consciously make an effort to use my left hand as much as I can. Here’s some the day to day activities that I’ve been able to successfully convert to southpaw:

benefits of using your non domiant hand for brain function

Do my teeth cleaner using my left hand?

  • Brushing my teeth
  • Pouring Drinks Milk/Water from Brita Pitcher/My health shake from blender. (I’m amazed on how messy I was pouring my health shake out of a blender)
  • Opening jars
  • Scooping protein powder/baby formula
  • Washing my body
  • Cleaning dishes
  • Occasionally using a my computer mouse (I’m seriously considering buying a left handed mouse)
  • Buttering toast (try spreading peanut butter on toast. It’s a whole different world).
  • Carrying the car seat
  • Using can opener
  • Eating with chopsticks (this one is really tough)
  • Occasionally using my mouse (I’m seriously consider buying a left hand mouse for good)

Can You Benefit From Using Your Non-dominant Hand?

Some therapists have used an exercise where they ask their patients to write with their opposite hands, and it allows people to access some suppressed emotions. If this interests you, contact a trained professional to help you through this activity.

For use in every day life, however, you can simply try writing with your opposite hand a little each day, asking your “every day brain” to move aside, and see if it helps you become more creative or triggers improved memory functioning.

Have you ever tried using your non-dominant hand for daily tasks? If so, share your story. Did you feel as clumsy as I did?

Sources:

  • http://tusitalatom.hubpages.com/hub/Creativity-and-the-Non-dominant-Hand
  • http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html
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Comments | 63 Responses

  1. Susan Stuenkel says

    I loved this article! It gives me hope!! Recently, I injured my rotator cuff playing Pickleball (a wonderful sport….Google it). I have been so depressed because I have not been able to play my beloved game. I’m worried I may never be able to play it….BUT…. maybe I can train my brain to allow my left arm to return the ball. How great would it be to be able to switch off so neither side becomes overused? It’s definitely worth a shot….

    • C NORRIS says

      I switched to using the mouse with my left hand after my dominant right hand got stiff from one too many computer art classes and using the mouse at work too much. It was terrible at first. I couldn’t get the mouse to stay steady and on target. I have successfully used my left hand with the mouse now for 17 years. (I use my middle finger to click). I can use the mouse equally well with both hands. A funny benefit, I can always tell when someone is using my computer as I can hear shouts of frustration far down the hall way at work or at home! Now I have been practicing writing left handed and it is exhausting. I can feel something funny going on in my head!

  2. Lewis says

    I have several comments on here, but thought I’d share something (again). Every mouse is both right & left handed. The mouse is not what makes it usable with the left hand. If you have a PC, go to the Control Panel and find the mouse icon & click on it. When it opens, read the settings under the different tabs and you’ll see that you can change your mouse to left handed. Need help with this, write to me and I’ll give specific instructions. Just switching hands is okay, but using the mouse as though you’re actually left handed is better. I’ve been doing that, and writing, and doing chores with my non-dominant extremities for a long time, and it really does help!

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