Left and Right Brain
I’m sure most of you have heard of the Left and Right Brain right? Here’s a quick reminder:
Our brain is divided into two hemispheres, each with it’s own specialisms in thinking:
Left Brain Functions: speech, logic, reasoning, organization, objectivity, linear- think maths and science.
Right Brain Functions: intuition, emotion, subjectivity, creativity, insight, spatial- think art and music.
Are you left or right brain dominant? Take this quiz to find out!
UPDATE (2nd July 2012): Commenters have generally found they are fairly left-right brain-balanced using the above test, so I’ve found one that seems to be more sensitive, which you can access here via similarminds.com.
Left-Right Brain Imbalance & Mental Health
Fredric Schiffer M.D has a very interesting website detailing Dual-Brain Psychology. He has completed a number of research studies, which can be viewed on his website, theorizing that each side of our brain has a distinct personality. This has implications in treating a range of psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety and addictions. So it seems perhaps there is a case for a link between left-right brain balance and our state of emotional balance. Seems fairly logical to me! (However, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of research out there on this link at present, so the theories have not been fully supported by other’s studies that I can find on the internet. I’ll keep you posted if I find out any more.)
Societal Left-Brain Domination!
Our society in general has become very left-brain dominant.
Our current financial, social and environmental crises have come about through a heavy focus on materialism: money, money, money, more, more, more. Large corporations are extremely efficient at generating money, but at the expense of happiness and meaning in employees. Nobody wants to feel like a robot or a cog in a machine when at work, but that is what organisations often reduce us to.
For an individual who is more right-brain inclined (creative) but whose gifts have been repressed due to left-brain (logic) schooling and societal expectations, this kind of career is never going to make them happy. Their repressed artistic dreams will have been shoved to one side to make room for left-brained expectations. Life has less meaning.
Societal Discontent & Depression
I feel there is a change on the horizon, partly due to the economic crises, but also due to a growing discontent in people’s individual lives. We are becoming more dissatisfied, despondent, apathetic, even despairing of modernized living, sometimes resulting in depression and anxiety.
We may have the 42″ plasma TV, the Audi A4, the holiday abroad every year, 2.4 children and a stable job with an insurance company, but are we happy? Some of us, maybe a lot of us, aren’t.
Just look at the enormous success of shows like American Idol and the X Factor- people want to work in areas they are passionate about, not large corporations out for their own gain.
Some of us are in the world to BE artists, poets, writers, dancers, musicians, primary-school teachers, healers, designers, psychologists, yoga instructors, chefs or inventors! There are not enough jobs in these areas, so we end up in insurance, finance or administration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are loads of people who gain a great deal of satisfaction from this type of job, but I don’t think natural right-brainers will be scoring 100% on career satisfaction polls!
Children & The Right Brain
I think it is incredibly important that we rediscover our right brains. Children are so naturally joyous and are fantastic role models for adults! Do you see them playing politicians and financial advisors? They love singing, dancing, playing football, running around outside, playing imaginary games together, drama, painting, making sand castles, digging in the garden, getting muddy and messy, laughing, making tents, dressing up, and so on. They go with what makes their heart sing! The right brain is the way to go in order for us to rediscover joy!
Left-Right Brain Balance and The Renaissance
One of the most famous examples of a balanced left-right brainer was Leonardo da Vinci. He demonstrated the power that brain balance can give us in our lives- the creativity and innovation, the giant leaps forward we could take as a society.
Da Vinci was exceptionally multi-talented and worked as an artist (right-brained: RB), scientist (LB), engineer (LB), mathematician (LB), inventor (RB), anatomist (LB), painter (RB), sculptor (RB), architect (RB), botanist (LB), musician (RB) and writer (RB).
The work of da Vinci formed an integral part of the European Renaissance (14th-17th Century AD)- the cultural movement widely regarded as a time of great advancement in the fields of politics, science, art and music, amongst others.
Just imagine how far the human race could advance with a better grasp of brain balance!
With such an inspirational role model as Leonardo da Vinci, maybe we can overcome an attitude of right-brained activities being feminine, airy-fairy, less productive, unrealistic etc; that it is actually important for humans to maintain brain balance for health and successful human evolution.
Right-brained activities can bring added meaning to our lives and revitalize us after a left-brained day in the office. Think drawing, painting, singing, dancing, yoga, athletics, playing a board game, swimming, sports, playing with kids/dog, writing, designing, crafting, cooking etc.
Sounds like fun to me! (Well apart from the sports blurgh!)
Right, I’m off to draw some stick people- Leonardo eat your heart out!
Is It Time To Be More Right-Brained?: Psychology Today
Dual-Brain Psychology- Fredric Schiffer: Linking left-right brain psychology with psychological disorders.
Whole-Brained Thinking- Becoming Bitingual: Soaring Creativity