Your dominant hand, whether left or right, is determined by the functions of your brain and is part of your cognition. And lefties have better, healthier brains, better in the sense in that their brains are ‘fatter’, they have more brain cells.
Your dominant hand is determined
by the functions of your brain and
is part of your cognition.
New brain cells make you smarter, quicker, giving you instant recall and allowing for proper snap decision making. We all need new brain cells, so how did lefties gain the advantage?
Let’s travel back to 8th grade science, where we learned that our right hand is controlled by the left side of our brain and the actions of our left hand are controlled by the right side of our brain. But we need to make sure we realize that both sides of our brain DO NOT mirror each other.[i] Each side is responsible for certain actions and we have a bundle of nerves called the corpus calosum[ii] that link the two hemispheres which are in part, responsible for inter-hemispheric communication (in other words, both sides communicating for proper brain function).
Lefties use these corpus calosum nerves when challenged with right hand actions. Their thoughts, dominant on the right side of their brain are forced to communicate with the left side of their brain. This forced communication creates new brain cells.[iii] Consequently, lefties have a larger bundle of these corpus calosum nerves linking our two brain hemispheres than do righties.
Left handed individuals
have more of the corpus calosum nerve fibers
than right handed individuals.
When we humans learn something new and process new facts, we create new connecting brain cells or synapse[iv]. These are cells that string neurons together and continue your train of thought.
Lefties are constantly learning and processing new information. And it is because… we live in a right handed world.
Lefties are constantly
learning and processing
Reading is backwards, for lefties, to them we should read right to left. Writing is backwards too. In our school years, desks were all for right handers. Scissors and string instruments played havoc, maybe still do, as well. And through life:
- Numbers and the ‘enter’ key are on the wrong side of computer keyboards,
- Phone and mouse are on wrong side of a desk,
- Major tools are right hand equipped,
- Door handles and locks are opposite what the inclination is,
- Everyone greets with the wrong hand as well as
- Bumps elbows while eating with groups.
- Credit card swipes are on the right and
- Even the direction for driving our cars is in favor of right handed folks.
The list goes on and on.
So it’s quite understandable how lefties’ brains develop more cells, they are constantly processing a new way to accomplish a task, a task that is counter to their inclination to reach with their left hand, a task that we righties have already established a routine for. Voluntary muscles and the nervous system is in automatic gear for righties. With everything made for the right hand, there is no need for righties to ponder or think of another, new way.
A challenge for righties, especially on national left hander’s day August 13 every year, is to grow more brain cells, create more synapse by using your left hand.
If on your computer, right now, move your mouse to the left side of your keyboard. If you still have a box phone, change sides too. If you only use a cell, keep it always on your left.
Turn off the light switch, which is on the right side of the door usually, and grab then use the TV remote with your left hand. Put your keys in your left pocket, swing your purse over your left shoulder. Tonight, brush your teeth with your left hand. Be more observant and whenever you reach your right hand, stop and accomplish the task with your left hand.
Yea, it’s hard. You really have to stop and process your actions. This awkwardness, this difficulty is the evidence that in fact, you are creating more brain cells.
The awkwardness, the difficulty in using your left hand
for various everyday tasks
is evidence you are creating more brain cells.
If you are truly serious about creating more synapse, building up your brain cell synapse foundation to truly have good brain health then enacting on these ‘left handed ‘ actions cannot be just for today. You have to do this for the rest of your life.
If you are truly serious about building up your brain,
to have good brain health,
use your left hand for the rest of your life.
Your new goal? To become ambidextrous. Yep, righties, change everything you do, from this point forward, except for writing, and do it with your left hand. You will know you have accomplished this new goal of creating a thicker area of corpus calosum nerves, of fattening up your brain, when it feels more odd to accomplish a task with your right hand than with your left.
At that time, try working on writing with your left hand. And never stop creating more brain cells.
I’ve been ‘left handing it’ for a number of years and still have trouble styling my hair with my left hand. I don’t yet write with my left but I sign my name and initial with my left hand and prefer to use my left hand for many tasks now. Again, it is a continuous life goal to become ambidextrous!
To progress in life and age successfully, we need as many brain cells as we can keep functioning. Strive for a fatter brain. Righties, take a play from the lefty play book and always try and use your left hand for your dominant hand.
Wishing for you good brain health, giving you pointers, tools and tips for the best in brain health,
[iv] Whitlock JR, Heynen AJ, Shuler MG and Bear MF. Learning induces long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Science. 25 August 2006, 313(5790): 1093-1097
The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your condition or to be a substitute for advice from your main healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.
Janet Rich Pittman
SCALA, CDP, Brain Health Specialist, Dementia Prevention Specialist,
Dementia Administrator, Dementia Practitioner
For more ways to power up your brain, read my ebooklet, 9 Signs You’re Experiencing Brian Drain with Ways to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged. The electronic version is free or $7.99 for a printed version, shipping included.