Do you think you are a right or a left-brain dominant person?
We often talk about being right (creative, driven by emotions our senses and unity) versus left (logical, driven by reason, language and separation) brain dominant individuals.
So which one do you think you are?
In February 2008, Jill Taylor’s delivered one of the most viewed TED talks of all time (over 22 million views) on this very topic. During her talk she gives a fascinating insight into the vast differences that exist between the right and left sides of our brains. As a neuroscientist, Jill shares her emotive account of experiencing a massive stroke on the left side of her brain, leaving her only able to perceive her reality through the right side of her brain for a few precious hours of life changing insight.
Jill beautifully demonstrates that although we tend to favour one side of our brains over the other, we all in fact have access to both hemispheres at any one moment, after all they are connected to one another by a mere 300 million axonal fibers in the center of our brains (via the corpus callosum).
She concludes her talk with a pertinent question 'Which side of your brain are you choosing to use each day, when and why?'
The first part of this question may be easy to answer, but the latter is perhaps more challenging and is of particular interest to me: Why do we favour one over the other? Is it our genes, or is it our experience of life which creates a habitual preference for one side over the other? To answer this, perhaps a further question might be 'throughout your life, which qualities of your right or left brain have you have been rewarded for favouring so far; by your parents, your schooling, your peers, your profession and in society?'
The answers to these questions may give you an interesting insight into how and why you're current perceiving your world in the way you are right now, and why you’ve come to habitually select one hemisphere over the other over time.
So given that each side of our brains are vastly different, is it possible that by favouring one over the other, for years on end, we're missing out on a hugely valuable biological opportunity here to 'access more of our brainpower' and gain a biological advantage to excel in our relationships, careers, and life experience?
Furthermore, how is it possible to start ‘accessing these parts of our brain’ if we’ve got ourselves stuck by habitually selecting our ‘default’ hemisphere? I find it fascinating that many of us attribute these characteristics, e.g. being more logical (left sided) versus creative (right-sided) as fixed aspects of our ‘personality’, but is it possible to change this, or is this just ‘the way we are’?
Thanks to the emerging fields of neuroplasticity, epigenetics and psychoneuroimmunology, these sciences are now beginning to explain how this is in fact possible. Meaning we no longer have to feel such victims of our biology or heredity, and that in fact we all have the ability to ‘upgrade our biology’. On the flip side, this also means we must begin to take ownership of our states of being, and that the excuse ‘it’s just the way I am’ is no longer sufficient in this evolution of our understanding of how we function biologically.
It is these empowering principles which now truly excite me as a doctor, who for many years, felt stuck trying to create sustainable biological change in myself and my patients, but struggled to know how.
As I continue to explore the science of the mind-body connection and the practices which allow us to harness our brilliant biology, I am realising more and more the power we all have to truly transform from the inside out. By implementing simple practices, which create more coherence within our biology (including those such as meditation and PSYCH-K®, which create better communication between the right and left hemispheres of our brains!) it becomes possible to begin to in effect 'make our own Mind-Body Medicine' once we know how.
So it is now my mission to continue to share these empowering concepts with others, including the elegant tools of meditation, movement, HeartMath® and PSYCH-K®. It is now my understanding that with the right application these principles and practices allow us all access to creating greater biological #coherence in our minds and bodies; enhancing our #energy, increasing our mental clarity, and allowing us all to experience greater levels of #joy and #passion in our lives and communities!