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 at 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 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 forevermore.
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 its 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.
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 everyday 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 at 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:
- Brushing my teeth
- Pouring Drinks Milk/Water from Brita Pitcher/My health shake from the 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 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 considering buying a left-handed 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?
The first time I remember using my non-dominant left hand for writing was when I broke my right arm at age 12. I was proud to be able to do it and write some but my teacher scolded me for it because it looked messy. Tried it on and off over the years again just for myself as a challenge. Also used my left had for tasks at times when having slight injuries or pains from overuse of right hand. I find that certain tasks are not difficult with non-dominant hand such as eating with a spoon. Writing is challenging. Reading all this feedback encourages me to continue to work at it. It gives a new perspective and requires patience, presence, awareness. And if it helps my brain, well I am in my 60s now. Any help to enliven brain cells and use new areas of the brain seems like a good idea.
I used to be left handed as a child but my father forced me to be right handed. As I got older I started using my left hand more now my left hand is physically stronger than my right hand. I open everything with my left hand and carry the heavy things with my left while doing the easy things and write with my right hand. Sometimes I forget if I’m right or left handed. I know for sure I grip better with my left hand than my right.
I just started high-school and just a few years ago, I decided to try to write with my left hand spontaneously and I felt so much potential despite how messy my writing was. I am now in the process of relearning how to right, which took me five years before I liked my writing at all and could be proud of a single letter. This is hard but totally worth it because I plan on going back after quarantine and say that I have become ambidextrous.
I was right handed when I was 4 and 5 and one day while I was at school I refused to write with my right hand so I had to repeat kindergarten so that I could learn to write left handed what’s weird about it is as far back as I can remember I eat with my left hand but throw a ball with my right hand and scissor I use my right hand when opening something I seem to always try the left hand first then my right hand if I can’t get it open. I think that I remember that a little girl was left handed and I saw how different she was and I guess I wanted to be the same
I actually learned to ‘mouse’ left handed. I took a new job and the lady I rep!aced was left-handed. I had no idea it wasn’t the way it was ‘supposed ‘ to be. Wasn’t until years in someone asked if I was a lefty. They were surprised when I said no because they said I was using the mouse left-handed. Next job the mouse was set for right-handed, so I am now ‘mouse ambidextrous’ ????
I used to play solitaire with real cards. One summer I noticed that when I did thing with both hands my natural inclination was to do them in mirror image with each hand. I decided to try solitaire with no dominant hand and sure enough it was easiest in mirror image. I started doing all the motions in mirror image with my nondominant hand. It seemed more natural and relaxing despite being clumsy.
Have any studies been done of dominant hands of people with dementia? I would expect left handed people living in a right handed world to be more susceptible to dementia if your hypothesis of using your non-dominant hand for various tasks to improve brain health is correct.
Tip to save you $20 – switch the buttons on the mouse instead of buying a new mouse!
Hey! Wonderful article. I have tried to write with my left hand before, and while it wasn’t great, it certainly wasn’t better than with my right! Overall though in an effort to include my left hand in my every day activities, I’ve started brushing with it, and it’s amazing how fast I went from awkward to “hey this isn’t so bad!”. Even scooping the water to rinse out my mouth felt awkward at first, since my right hand would always go on top when scooping it into my mouth. I’ll definitely try some of the things you’ve mentioned here to get more coordinated with my left hand. Cheers!
Im right handed. I cannot brake at left side on hockey and i cannot do nothing with my left hand. I will train my lefft hand to see the result in the next week. I have passed a test to see my IQ and I’m a creative guys. I will maybe notice a change if I’m using my hand left?
I understand i can feel awkward while writing with my non dominant hand. But it doesn t enhance my creativity, that empedes it. Having the hurdle to concentrate more on the way to write not the ideas to think. Well this somewhat counterintuitive. I can concede that seeking change can be good. But keeping the two sides could be tiring.
I had my bicep and rotator cuff repaired and wasn’t allowed to use my dominant hand at all for several weeks. The most distressing problem was bathroom activities. I did practice ahead of time and it was helpful.
I am left handed, and had a benign brain tumor removed on my right side that affected writing with my left hand. It is embarrassing signing my name, or any other writing I have to do in the workplace. Writing with my left hand Is shakey, and slow. I have been practicing for a week with my right hand, not shakey, but hard, and stressful. I am in my 60’s.
I know it will not happen overnight, but wondering how long before I will be able to write with ease using my right hand? I am brushing my teeth, opening doors, trying to eat with right hand, and yes, I feel very, very clumsy, and stressed.
Hi Sherry – It’s different for everyone, but it sounds like you’re already making progress. What do your doctors say?
Using my non dominant hand demands patience ,it’s amazing ,tremendous using your clumsy hand.
Wow! What a joy to find kindred spirits! I, too, am right-handed but ever since I was in about grade 4 have longed to write, etc. with my left hand. I write my ‘morning pages’ (The Artist’s Way) with my left, as well as eat, etc., atho’ the chopsticks thing is whole other world. And tying my shoelaces? It’s kindergarten, no, nursery school all over again!
Have any of you read Lucia Capacchione’s book ‘The Power of the Other Hand’? Well worth read. I write for fun with right hand, left hand and ‘Mirror’ hand. They all have different voices and ways of expressing themselves. And NO, I don’t have a multiple personality disorder. I’m hoping you all will understand. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about all this without feeling like the people that I’m sharing with are looking at me like I’m from outer space. Thanks for listening AND for sharing YOUR comments.
I’ve been practicing left handed writing for about two weeks now and have tought myself to juggle three balls this week. When I write left handed my brain actually starts to ache lol but in a good way!
I use my “wrong” hand to stroke one out now and then; I imagine it’s Ariel Winter’s hand and I never last longer than about 15 seconds. Talk about creativity!
I have practiced writing right-handed off and on over the years, and I noticed that the really hard part is the strain it seems to put on my thought processes. It’s odd to chase my writing away rather than push it forward, and I have to concentrate a lot more closely when using the right. But growing up with lefty scissors being pathetically useless pretty much forced me to be slightly ambidextrous anyway. I also mostly throw with the right. I actually write more clearly with the right because it forces my brain to concentrate that much more. It also takes an incredibly long time. I just wish some of my fellow left-handers would stop with the odd monkey-fisted way of writing. It looks painful and ugly. Write normally. No wonder people theorize that we got that way because of a lack of oxygen when born. It isn’t true, but look at some of those “freaks” write.
I was born right handed and I still do most things right handed out of convenience but I like to practice writing with my left hand in class when I am trying to pass time. It’s interesting to see how my left hand is slowly developing it’s own handwriting. It looks like a ten year old’s writing, which is to be expected, but I think that, even when I’ve practiced more, it will develop into something completely different from what my right hand does.
I am right handed with 4 fingers in my left hand and I’ve always challenge myself to do stuff with my left hand because of my one left finger, now I do almost basic things like eat with left hand or wash my teeth or even play soccer with my left leg. When I start to use my left leg I got surprise how easy was to manage the ball with it, I don’t know if it was because I already was using some of my left parts of my body or because I’m ambidextrous.
My mom told me that my teachers in pre-school had to train me to see witch hand I used the most and it turned out that it was my right hand, so they decided to train me with that hand because I was always changing hand during my tasks in school.
When she told me that it kind off make sense to me because all the things that I started to do with my left hand was easy to improve.
Now I play the guitar with my left hand and pool and I’m starting to play racket ball too because I got injured of my shoulder (Not pretty good though).
Now thanks to this post I think I’ll start to write and manage the mouse with my left hand lol.
I was born left-handed, but due to traditions, was forced to use right hand for writing, eating, cooking etc. But, I felt more confident to use left hand for activities which require greater force like washing clothes, wiping, playing badminton etc. This helped me a lot during my college days because I used to write by right hand whereas played (badminton, table tennis, etc., which were my hobbies) by right hand. So, everybody playing with me (who was right-handed) complained about hand aching due to playing and writing. Whereas I was perfectly fine due to use of separate hands and I achieved reasonable success in both studies & badminton..
My name is Joe. I was born left handed and wrote with my left. I was told to stop but i didn’t listen I enjoyed it.I am 14 yrs old and i can write with both hands very well.At first it was strange using my right hand to write and brush my teeth but now it seems normal.I am the only left handed person in my family and now i see how they feel when they use their right hand. I can say I am 60% left handed and 40% right handed.Because no matter what I do my left hand is faster than my right hand when i’m writing.Well, what can I say its my gifted hand.
I feel the back of my brain hurting a little after writing or using the non dominant hand. Love the feeling, it’s like working out and feeling tired
It really amazes me, I’m 20 years old and I work as a custodian, at work today I decided to use my left hand and I’ve been switching hands a little as I work, cleaning restroom mirrors, cleaning tables and even using the vacuum, due to tireness of using my previous hand. Well, I found wiping tables with the opposite hand to be most effective, as of tonight, after using this hand and I was finished, I suddenly got a ringing sound in my left ear, after work on the way home in my mom’s car I realized I didn’t have any anxiety as usual or other negative emotions I felt very loose, though my right hand middle finger felt like trigger finger, it hurt I massaged it and exercised it, it’s OK now, just feel a lot better, very unusual experience, my brain feels great! 🙂
Im left-handed but i do many things with my right hand. Besides writing and throwing a ball, my right-hand feels more dominant. This feels extremely awkard at times because its doesnt feel like i have a dominant hand, just curious if thats wierd…i would say im like 55% left handed and 50% right handed
Every person in here has an interesting story. The majority got injured or decided to develop the other side of the brain using the non-dominant hand.
For sure are people with unbelievable abilities how I’ve seen on Facebook a young lady with no arms who had learned to use her legs ..for everything ,from driving an adapted car ,to eating, using the PC or phone.
A very interesting gentleman Stephen Jepson/neverleavetheplaygroung ,where you will learn about the importance of using the non-dominant foot and hand.Amazing!!!!
Playing soccer from a young age I am ambidextrous using my feet but when it came to using my left hand I was more than clumsy!!! Clueless!
I played also tennis all my life and when my elbow’s tendon snapped 5 years ago ,I was so desperate.. tried to play over the injury….it got worsed.
Lost strength and because it took for ever to recover, I started playing lefty. By far it was the most difficult task I had done. After 8 months finally was able to lock my wrist and learn the one handed BH. Being also a teaching pro ,I knew what to do to improve my skills but the path it wasn’t easier. The same time I started writing lefty mostly doing crosswords etc.
Today I developed a nice 2 HBH,I play lefty and my skill improved so much that I can full someone into thinking I am a lefty. I write and draw for fun lefty. Drive ,throw, eat, brush teeth also lefty. Please check Mr Jepson’s site and you will understand after that why the guy is phenomenal!!!! I am learning to ride a unicycle and that is another great improvement into developing more brain cells and reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer .
Good luck to everyone!
it’s been a while i’m trying to do things like my right hand, i’ve been improved in a month and i could write better and better, but recently after a google search i saw an atricle which made me worried, can you help me out please? the article says that “Although teaching people to become ambidextrous has been popular for centuries, this practice does not appear to improve brain function, and it may even harm our neural development”, i do not know how much it’s true, but it says some researches have been made for it
please help me out
i was born ambidextrous. that means i could write with both hands equally. then became dominant with my right hand and now i want to use my left hand so i can become ambidextrous again. please can you give me some times as well as the ones on this website. only 1% of the worlds population is ambidextrous and i would love to be a part of that. thank you so much
I’ve been using my left hand since I was 21. I started driving left handing, ironing, computer mouse, brushing my teeth, and eating left handed. It felt odd for the first 7 to 8 years. I’m now 50 years old and it feels completely normal. I feel that I’ve saved some wear and tear I would’ve normally gotten from just using my right hand alone. My balance seems to still be good in spite of my advancing age. Did it help my brain. I don’t know but I don’t regret the decision.
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!
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….
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!
I also play pickleball and frequently use my opposite (left) hand to play. I find that I have greater range instead of using my backhand. As a chiropractor, I treat patients who have tennis elbow. I feel that tennis elbow can be prevented by using your nonfominant hand instead of using your backhand. Whenever I am winning by a good margin, i will switch to my non dominant hand and most importantly I feel it is good mental exercise to do this.
Interesting article. I was trying to look up if using opposite hand can help with clumsiness.
For instance peeling vegetables, like carrots I’m always getting shavings all over the place. Just to amuse myself, I took a peeler that can be used with either hand and to my surprise I had the neatest peeled carrot I’ve ever done.
I’ve been the hand switching like you mentioned, though not as intentionally. It seems to come instinctively. Brushing my teeth (helps to reach more than either hand could do alone), pouring stuff, etc I seem to go with either hand, though I notice some tasks I seem to have assigned to a particular hand.
Opening doors – often left hand. Carrying stuff, usually left hand. Drinking/ eating – either hand. I’ve found out I can switch over and use the left hand for many tasks almost as well as the right if not equal.
But writing – almost always right hand. I can write with my left but it feels more awkward moving across the page. I seem want to mirror my letter direction, so it takes extra thought to get something like my right.
Using both hands, alternating letters – surprisingly yielded something almost neater than using either hand alone. Maybe it was that one time, but something I’d like to try again more often.
I’m not sure if I am really ambidextrous or not, but I am finding an interesting trend. It seems the more I use the left hand, the more I want to use it, the hand starts to feel more powerful, and the more I find myself switching to that hand. At the same time I notice confusion. It seems with some tasks I find a slight pause, as if if my brain is trying to fire the same signal to both hands in some conflict to decide the dominant hand for that moment. I also notice this with my writing and spelling. It’s like both of my hands are fighting to be dominant. I don’t know how to describe it.
Hello interesting people. I am a left handed person with more strength in my right., therefore most tasks except writing are performed right handed. I attribute this to surviving private school. I am a creative person and this past year I’ve found my creativity forced into overdrive as I met design/construction and artistic commitments. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed) I recently began receiving therapeutic massage to relieve many body aches when to my surprise, I found myself unconsciously writing with my non-dominant hand. It is a bizarre feeling because I find it comfortable and often stop midway through a signature or sentence to remind myself that I am indeed not right handed and then switch back. Reading this thread leaves me to believe perhaps it is the increased blood circulation and balance I am receiving with massage. No matter, it is quite an amusing experience.
I found this very interesting. As an elementary school teacher, I have attended trainings on left and right brain dominance. I write with my left hand, but I am left eye dominant and do many things with both hands. For instance, I brush my left teeth with my right hand and brush my right teeth with my left hand. I also apply makeup to my left eye with my left hand and my right eye with my right hand. And I switch hands when I shave my legs. I can only snap my fingers with my left hand. When I worked retail, I entered the numbers on the credit card machine with my left hand because the credit card keypad is reversed from 10-key punch and it helped me to not enter the numbers incorrectly. I know I am not truly ambidextrous but I think I am still different from the average right hander. Was there a nun in my past who led me away from left-handedness? I guess I’ll never know . : .
Interesting you should say these things. My ex-wife was a cosmetologist, and during her schooling in that field, she would roll hair on a person’s right side with her right hand, and on the left side with her left hand. She does a lot of things that way, but is predominantly right handed. When her teachers graded her work they didn’t know what to say, so they asked her to demonstrate how she rolled the person’s hair. When they saw she switched hands, and the evenness of the final appearance, they gave her an A+ for the quality of all her work. She does the same when cutting hair and a lot of people (customers) have been amazed at the results. When doing floral arrangements, she did the same thing with a very large arrangement that moved the customer so much they paid her $1500 for her work on that one arrangement!
Hey Jeff, I also have been training my left arm for a year now (1-2 hours a day writing Russian cursive, English and Hebrew latters) all the little stuff that you mentioned like brushing your teeth, making tea, pouring sugar etc. I’m now throwing stuff like TV remotes and a computer mouse from hand to hand on auto pilot, it seems faster to do then pick the remote then point it on the TV direction and then clicking it..:D what I wanted to share with you is that you don’t need a lefty mouse, just go to mouse options switch the buttons to left instead of right, and go on try operating your mouse. I attempted it after i was already 8 months in the “training” and after just 2 weeks I mastered the mouse using my left hand. You will feel the hand hurting a little, but that passes quickly as you’re like me already “in the process” of teaching your brain(or more accurately, letting your subconscious know you mean business) “He” knows your intentions are to develop further so it will help you learn those things quicker.
PS. I see some mental improvements as well, I become more curious of things, raised my concentration level. if I look at a shape i now can look at it from more then one angle.( you know like when you put 2 circles and some see only 2 circles but if you look closely you can see to half moons, but deeper then that…I was concentrating once on a piece of something with open eyes I could see the color purple beaming circles into the object then i could intensify it by will to make it luminous violet.
Ok thought I’d share this, those are the changes I’ve experienced after perusing this skill.
I would be glad to hear from you and other people, what you/they have experienced as well.
sorry for my English I’m not native:).
I would like to clear up a misconception that being able to use the opposite hand almost as well as the dominant one does not mean the person is ambidextrous. True ambidexterity means EQUAL and there are only a very small percentage with this skill. I’ve been using my opposite hand for at least six months, doing almost everything left handed, including playing pickleball! It really feels like I’m thinking clearer, memory seems better, and problem solving/creativity has gotten much better. I even wear my watch on my right wrist! 🙂
Not sure non-dominant hand use is the answer? I’m thinking non-dominant side use is the key.
Example. I’m a right-handed tennis player. I changed from a two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand a couple years ago. So now I use my dominant hand (right) for both a one-handed forehand and a one-handed backhand. My dominant side is my right, I guess. I don’t even have to think about technique on the forehand. It comes natural or has become engrained in my brain. My non-dominant side is my left. So even though I use my dominant hand alone now for my backhand, I use my non-dominant side (left) to hit the shot. I forget daily how to hit the backhand on my non-dominant side and have to reteach myself daily with a long warmup session to get the groove going. The part of my brain used to hit the one-handed backhand is evidently not a part of my brain which stores long term information. I have a terrible short term memory and forget my tennis score if I have a tough point I’ve played out. My memory of the score gets wiped clean. I wonder if this is the same part of the brain the stores my motor skills for the one-handed backhand?
Only problem with developing the non-dominant side of the brain is that once you start, you can’t ever stop or else your brain muscle with get fat and sloppy. Don’t start something you don’t plan to finish your life with. Count the costs. Are you dedicated enough to make a lifetime commitment?
Bah, I can’t use chopsticks with my dominant hand either, but who knows? I haven’t had many opportunities to try it, but maybe learning to write with my non-dominant hand in 3 different ciphers (Latin Alphabet, Elian Script, and FEZ Writing) will bring me to that too!
This is the third time I have felt this over the past 2 years probably. I get that awkward feeling almost as if I was doing things with my left hand only I am not! I am doing things like every day. Has anyone felt that before? It is as if all of a sudden my body kind of forgot everyday movements like moving a mouse. I mean, it is not as bad as actually using my left hand but kind of. It´s a bit scary. Anyone?
I started writing with my left hand several years ago, partly out of desperation and partly to access more creative juices as a poet and artist. Now I write exclusively as a lefty, and people prefer reading my left-handed script as it is gentler and larger to read than my cramped, tiny right-handed writing. I find I can reach a poem with ease, if less speedily, using this supposed direct connection to my right brain through my left hand, and of course in artwork it produces amazing results, though it can be frustrating to draw quickly as a lefty and be hampered by the lack of my right hand’s precision. Two phenomena I have noticed: the first is that I have developed what I believe is pain in my left arm due to a kind of underuse/overuse syndrome, too much use of specific muscles and not enough emphasis on acquiring general strength through out my entire left arm. Finally, I am now working on writing backwards with my left hand, a task that is much easier for lefty writers than right-handed people. It can be mind- bogglingly difficult, but if you just go with the flow, as if writing for someone to read a sign written on your forehead, it can be done…And I keep telling myself, it isn’t only for the secrecy, no, but if Leonardo saw some value in mirror writing, well, then, surely there was some! It must train the brain somehow! I’d be interested to know if anyone else has tried this.
Because of arthritis in my right hand fingers, i decided to play online sudoku with my left. Wow – i am so much slower and it seems harder – ie i have to think more! Thats when i decided to research this and found your article. Will try and do more things with my left hand, and i know i will get faster at sudoku with left hand over time and give my brain more exercise!
I started using my left hand (non dominant) about a year ago on my computer mouse and number board for my computer at work. So, eight hours a day I’m using my non dominant hand, and I have seen great improvment in my memory. In the past, to remember a sting of numbers, even short term, was impossible. Once they had been “said” by a caller, I’d have to ask them to repeat if they were too fast or ahead of me. now I can remember those numbers long enough to finish a task and start to record the numbers. Pretty awesome.
I forgot to say that the reason I started lefty keying/mousing was due to martial arts injury in my right elbow, exasserbated by the constant repetitive motion of the mouse/number pad on my keyboard. Now I’m pain free…and I have more brain cells!
My first comment was to explain how to turn a “right handed” mouse into a “left handed” mouse. Now, I’ve been using my mouse with my left hand ever since. I also brush my teeth with my left hand, print with my left hand, and occasionally try to write with my left hand. It’s been an interesting endeavor, and one that seems to help me be, at the very least, more mentally balanced. I find myself willing to use my “south paw” more naturally and more often. I think this really works, although to what degree is unknown for sure. I actually enjoy using my left side as dominant frequently and will continue to do so.. Glad I gave this a shot.
Not sure how this was attributed to someone named Jim, but that’s not my name… anyway the above post was from me… like that really matters, I suppose.
This post reminds me of what I have been doing over the past year. I have been playing racquetball competitively since I was 15. Since it is a one armed sport like tennis I have developed some sever muscle imbalances that make me extremely uncomfortable. Enough that I have feel awkward while walking and sitting, but feel normal on the court. So I started to try to rehab myself by learning to do things with my extremely un-coordinated left hand. It was tough, but over the past year I have learned to brush my teeth (classic), use a mouse, wipe on the toilet (scariest and hardest), write a little bit, and now have learned to play racquetball left handed. I am no where near as good with my left hand at racquetball as my right, but I am determined to get there and possibly be even better. I think the only way it is going to happen is to quit using my dominant hand all together while playing. The funniest thing is when people say “oh I didn’t know your were a lefftie,” I usually don’t know how to respond. Most people (my wife) think I’m crazy for doing it, but I enjoy the challenge and what it is doing for my mind and body. Good luck to all who try, and thanks for this article letting me know I’m not the only crazy one.
At School in the Infants that is I was forced to use my right hand and was chided for always trying to use the left.
To this very day I still hold things with my left hand but I do not realize why I am doing it. I will always go to pick up things with the left hand without thinking.
I have just written with my left hand for the first time since I was five years old.
I have started playing tennis with my left arm due to a shoulder injury. I am curious what show it was on using non dominant hand that you referred to.
It’s a nice post Mr. Jeff. I am righty and started to do all my activities in left hand to stimulate my right hemishphere of brain. Just i wanna know stimulating right hemisphere by doing works in left hand will be good Or will it create any problems in future. Thanks
I have used my right (non dominant) hand since I was young and have realised that I cannot use left handed scissors. However, I cannot pour drinks or drink using my right hand, I cannot use forks or spoons in my right hand, only knives, yet with sharp, kitchen knives, I am unable to use them with my right hand and as the ridges etc. on kitchen knives are suited to right handed people, I cannot use them with my left either.
With computer mice, I usually use my right hand as that is what has always been available to me. However, if I want to use my left hand to control the mouse, it is just as easy for me.
Recently I have been writing more and more with my right hand and although it is very difficult, it is still legible even if it does look like a five year old wrote it. Then again, when I was young and learning to write, I learned how to write backwards; completely mirrored text, before I learned how to properly write.
Using your non dominant hand, for a left hander, is something most people grow up knowing how to do as most machinery and other day to to day items are made specifically for right handed people. Even pens and pencils are. So even though certain tasks are difficult, using the right hand is quite common even if the dominant hand is the left.
Recently I aquired a delicious dose of carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s not so severe I have to get surgery, but it’s severe enough that it hurts my right hand even a little to do daily mousing activities. Worse than it’s ever been before.
I now use my left hand for my mouse, teeth-brushing, eating, drinking, feeding my pets, pouring stuff… I was a little uncoordinated, but as this has happened before, not as much as I’d expect to be uncoordinated.
Mousing is still inprecise, though, it’s like an up-down action on my desk rather than a left-right, but my left hand comes in at the side of the desk and my whole arm rests up there. I didn’t even change how my mouse clicks, my “left click” stayed on the left side, so I’m using the wrong finger for the right button.
Just a week to go, and maybe I can be a righty again!
I’m a lefty and I’ve recently been practising in writing with my right hand. I know that each hand has been given specific job duties from my brain so the idea of teaching my right to write seems to quite a challenging yet fun thing to learn. Not to mention dead useful if anything does happen to my dominant hand, which hopefully it doesn’t.
I am proud of being a lefty, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I know at heart that I’ll always be one. I always lean to the left a lot and the idea of learning to drive a right hand drive car is quite scary. But also very beneficial.
I can do a lot of things with my left and found this article because the one thing I haven’t tried is chopsticks, which I think I will try now. I figure, my left hand is there, why not use it? It opens up a lot of opportunities for disc golf as well; you can throw backhand throws that fade right instead of left.
I pratice marital arts, and when ever we do stuff that requires us to use are non-dominant side I am always amazed on how badly I do and was wondering what I could do to improve in this area when I came accross your post, it just make sense that one would need to just to more things with their non-dominant side in order to get better, thanks for the post.
Hi Greg…it does help with martial arts. I’ve had the same experience, and since I’ve been using my left hand for the past year, I noticed improvement. I prefer my left side (thought I’m right dominant), but its been a little uncoordinated. Just keep practicing both sides, it will help. Do more on the non-dom side than the dom side. You’ll see the difference.
I’ve wanted to start using my non-dominant hand for more things, but never gotten around to doing it. Thanks for the tips, will definitely have to give this a shot!
I know this works, and I do it at times. However, so you’ll know – you don’t need to purchase a left-handed mouse. Move you regular mouse to the other side of the keyboard, then (depending on your operating system – assuming Windows of some flavor) go to Control Panel and find Mouse. Open the Mouse panel and find the tab at the top that enables you to change mouse settings. Click on “switch buttons” (or whatever it says) and the left mouse button will become the “right click” and the right mouse button will become the regular click. Voila! You now have a left-handed mouse. I’ve worked on computers for 45 years, so if you have a problem, give me a call or send me at email. Cowboytechcomputers dot com.
This is one trivia I haven’t heard of. I must try doing this myself and see some results personally.
This reminds me of something we did in high school art class. We still used our dominant hand, but the project was to look at our other hand and draw it…..without ever looking at the paper…or even lifting the pencil off the paper. The purpose was to concentrate on the detail of your hand. Then we did it again but were allowed to look at the paper, but as little as possible. That practice helped me draw one of my best pictures ever with incredible detail. I like the idea for using the non-dominant hand for as many things as possible too. I might have to start doing that.
Wow! This is really interesting. Not sure if this has anything to do with it but the most creative people I’ve met are tend to be left-handed rather than right-handed. I wonder how using the opposite hand for them would influence their creativity? Thanks for sharing!
Halfway through this I started to use my mouse with my left hand lol. I might have to do this, but I think I really use my brain with a lot of things I do. I play guitar, and I have to shred with my non-dominant hand. That’s a lot of coordination I’ve built up, and quite a bit of full brain usage. I must be getting super smart now!
I love to play racquetball. When I injured my left shoulder last year in a bike accident (I’m left-handed), rather than give up racquetball, I began to play with my right hand. I’m an excellent player when using my dominant left hand- not so much with the right, but it allowed me to continue the exercise activity I love, and continue to gain the health benefit of playing regularly. Toughest part was to get past the ego aspect of looking like a clumsy beginner 🙂
I’m naturally right handed. I started writing with my left hand a year ago as I was bored and reading up on left-right brain hemispheres and I came upon the term ambidextrous. So I gave it a shot, once a week I would write for 5-10 minutes the alphabet and numbers in a printing notebook. I felt like I was back in elementary school again. At first my printing was shaky, but now a year later, everyone says it looks neat and even better than their printing with their right hands 🙂
I started turning switches off and on with left hand and turning door knobs, even eating soup with a spoon in my left hand. At first, it was just a joke and I would consciously have to tell myself to use my left hand.
But a year later, my left hand dominates! I write with my left hand all the time. I use my right hand at work when I have to write fast, but I also work as a writer. So when I’m writing down my thoughts or ideas in my journal, I find writing with my left hand makes me write slower, so I give my thoughts a lot more time to write down.
I also feel like I’m more balanced. Before when I was strictly using my right hand, I would do those left/right brain quizzes and my results stated that I was more right brained.
Now that I use my left hand more than my right hand, I have done the same quizzes again and my left/right brain ratio is 48% (left brain) – 52% (right brain) – more balanced. I also feel it with my decision making and I don’t easily cry any more when I get emotional . Before becoming ambidextrous, I was extremely emotional and would cry at movies or if I heard a sad song on the radio (like a typical women).
But now when I get teary, I can tell myself to hold back the tears and tell myself it’s not worth to cry over something so small.
I think it has something to do with using my left hand more with handling things. So it sounds a bit crazy that using your left hand can make you become more level-headed, but it worked for me.
I advise anyone who wants to pick up a new hobby and also better themselves to become ambidextrous, it starts with 10 minutes a week with writing with your left hand and just picking up objects with your non dominant hand. After a year of doing it, you’ll feel the difference. I know I do, and I will continue to be a ‘righty to who turned lefty! 🙂
Misshl, your comment has intrigued me! I’m writing a report on whether our handedness can be switched and how this can benefit or even disadvantage us as part of my A level studies (UK). I was wondering if perhaps you could email me some further details about your training and the methods you used along with maybe some evidence of your left hand and right hand writing now that you’ve been training your non-dominant hand after so long. I’d sincerely appreciate your help. Really want to achieve top grades on this project.
Please do email me if you have the time. Thankyou (:
email: [email protected]
I’m a lefty and very emotional. I don’t like “the bad” about being a lefty so I’m going to work on doing more things with my right hand- like writing this post.
Having had an operation on my right shoulder I’m having to do most things with my left(non-dominant) hand. It is difficult especially personal things. Brushing my hair is difficult as well as cleaning my teeth but things get easier the more you practice. As for making me more creative… well I can’t wait to be able to use both hands to do some experimental textile art things.
This was an interesting read.
I was ambidextrous as a child, but my school hated how “lazy” it made me (i.e. one hand would get tired, so I would use the other). They decided I was right handed and tried to get me to stick with it. I still do everything left handed except right and in some things, like sports, I’m better lefty. I am working at it and hope to be back to “normal” by the end of this year.
Very interesting. I had surgery on my dominant hand, and was forced to use my left.. For writing and pretty much everything. It was tough at first but after almost a month, I haven’t stopped! I feel great! More brain power, I almost perminently write with my non dominant hand now. I will continue to use it, after I am completely healed, hopefully they will become even
i have just started to use my left hand to type this email and i am already feeling great. You see i am a right hander using my right brain. i have always felt that i have poor blood circulation but at this very momment i feel like my blood is flowing like it should. I also notice that i am thinking clearly. Thanks
From now on i am going to try to do everything with my left hands.
nn, when you use your right hand, your LEFT brain is used. When you use your left hand, your RIGHT brain is being used.
I’ve been doing left-handed activities for three years now. I actually played college tennis right-handed and decided to learn left-handed. So now I can play very well left-handed. It has definitely helped balance out my body and mind.
@ Kevin Wow! That sounds tough trying to learn to play tennis with your left hand.
i ve been practicing writing with left hand since last december…even though i skipped a few months yet i can write pretty fluently except that the writing looks a bit edgy…now i will practice writing with both hands simultaneously..i really feels adventerous…. 🙂 and believe me if you write/practice regularly your,, non dominant hand will act some times dominantly.
Hello juhi i too started to practice to write in left hand and i started to do all the works in left hand. As a junior i would like to ask you a thing. Will it create any problem in brain or will it stimulate the right side hemisphere and the result will be good. Eagerly waiting for your reply. thanks
You don’t have to buy a lefty mouse. You can reconfigure it with the control panel. Unless this was originally writtin in the 90s 😛 I am doing this same thing. The only things I was truly right dominate in is writing and throwing. EVERYthing, I’m naturally both, thank god lol. It’s only been a week of lefty writing and it’s made a drastic improvment. I thinking throwing will be quicker, though. Hopefully this won’t take too long 😛
I am considered left-handed. While recovering from hand surgery for 6 weeks I was forced to write/print right-handed. It was never comfortable, but legibility did increase between start and end. I quickly reverted back to left-hand writing when the cast came off. As fart as using a mouse, either side is fine though I usually leave it on the right as I have a shared computer.
While I am a leftie, I do several things rightie! Using a wrench ‘feels’ better in my right hand. Also, I play (at least make noise) guitar as a rightie. I tried guitar with switched strings and it never ‘felt’ right.
I kick right-footed, throw left, catch right.
I doing the left-handed mouse maneuver at this very moment.
Well, not this moment because I am typing.
A couple times I caught myself leaning over my keyboard to let my right hand move the mouse because my everyday brain thinks: right hand=mouse.
I like this. It does feel a bit awkward, but it’s not too hard to get used too. I have at least seven more hours on my shift so I will see if I get tired of the southpaw mouse action and switch back to the right hand.
I doubt it though. I’m interested in the effects the use of the non-dominant hand will have on my noggin.
The most prominent issue I have is using the scroll wheel. I’m just not accustomed to moving my left hand in that way. I cheat and use the page up, page down buttons next to the keypad… It’s easier—but I won’t give up training my non-dom to work the wheel.
Your post was fun to read.
I used chopsticks with my left for the first time today. It wasnt hard at all. I can’t use my right correctly with them though. :p
Good one. Tried a few things , found it difficult…
But surely will keep on trying as I think it will improve my overall workings.
I’ve tried it for brief stints, but never stuck with it for long. I’ve heard the theory of non-dominant hand use helping to develop brain power more than once now, so I think I’m going to try it. In the meantime, I’m trying to find ways to use other fingers for the job my index finger usually does. Not having a lot of luck so far. Great post.
What are neural connections? You say they are strengthened and you grow new ones. What will that do for me?
Good read. This is great in theory but really hard in practice. Some other “off the wall” tactics I have tried is listening to classical music while studying and listening to audio notes I needed to learn for a class on my ipod while sleeping. Only problem with that is the earbuds do not tend to stay in place!
Today I have started using by Left Hand. Is it true that using non-dominant(Left Hand) will increase IQ Power. Please Reply
Not sure. You’ll have to be the guinea pig for us and let us know if it works 🙂
The thought of being forced to use my left hand for ever purpose, need and task was nerve wrecking. After just a week the tasks-still awkward-were becoming more normal. Daily things like brushung my teeth, buttons on clothing, texting, eating were becoming familiar and even to the point were it was becoming normal. I now at times think what will it be like when my cast comes off I can use my right hand again.
Fascinating post. I hadn’t given the idea much thought before but I can believe there’s a connection.
I remember when my son was a toddler – there was definitely a correlation between physical activity and intellectual & linguistic development.
And I also recall a study in the past involving strokes. Researchers found that by immobilizing the unaffected arm/hand of a stroke victim so that it couldn’t be used, the stroke victim experienced better and quicker recover on the affected side.
Jeff dude, this is one of the most awesome posts I have read in a while.
I love the brain, I love minty toothpaste, it was a match made in heaven. I am off to get cracking on the left handed brushing right now.
I try to use my left (non-dominant) hand as much as I can, although it’s usually because I’m trying to multitask in the morning and am usually running late…i.e., gathering my stuff up for work with my left hand while I’m brushing my teeth with my right. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not so much. I often feel pretty clumsy. I am largely a righty although I do tend to carry things lefty – purses/schoolbags always tossed over my left shoulder, carrying more grocery bags with the left than right, etc.