Neuroscience is rapidly helping us to better understand ourselves and our relationship to the environment. It's become clear that the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere have very different functions and help us to interface with the world in different ways. We believe that the growing understanding in this area is in danger of being over-simplified. This knowledge is commonly distilled down to mean that the left hemisphere is largely concerned with logic, the past and the future and is more analytical in its assessment of reality (therefore considered more male in its orientation), whilst the right hemisphere houses what many deem the female qualities such as: intuition, emotion, creativity and focus on the present. We believe that these definitions can be somewhat misleading. Although there are some useful generic truths here, this over-simplification is in danger of eclipsing the immense value that this aspect of neuroscience has to offer. That is, the brain is not bound up with gender i.e. right=female, left=male. It's a much more sophisticated picture than this. In fact, as far as we are concerned, the real agenda is to become 'whole-brain thinkers', which means stepping away from 'gendercising' the issue so we can celebrate and prize the different aspects of the brain and recognise the real challenge for us all is to marry and mould their unique attributes into a beautiful, exquisite force. We hope these video footages will stimulate your interest in this subject further...
Change your thinking with a little dancing practice - a personal perspective
Recently on YouTube I came across a video flash of the silhouetted spinning dancer, with a commentary inviting viewers to check whether the figure spins clockwise or counter-clockwise.
It was suggested that the viewer will see the dancer turning counter-clockwise for left-brain activity and clockwise for right-brain activity.
Around about the same time, on the Reach website, I heard a short talk by neuro-anatomist Jill Bolte Taylor speaking about her brain haemorrhage. She eloquently describes how the two sides of the human brain have very different characteristics. The left hemisphere is analytical, concerned with details, and linear in its thinking (great for crossing the road), while the right hemisphere sees the bigger picture, is expansive in its thinking and produces holistic awareness and feelings of connectedness. Apart from the fascinating account of her stroke, Dr Taylor also appeared to be saying that we have a choice over what type of experience we have from moment to moment.
Both these short videos started me wondering which way I perceived the world – I’m not an optimistic ‘glass half full’ thinker, more ‘the glass half empty’ type, with the accompanying tendency to depressive moods. I began watching the spinning dancer video-flash. For me the dancer would predominantly turn counter-clockwise and occasionally, as if by accident, she would ‘flip’ and turn the other way for a second or so but then revert to the counter-clockwise motion I usually witnessed. What if I could consciously have control over which way the dancer appears to spin? What if the nature of my thoughts determines the direction?
I have begun watching the spinning dancer video as part of daily practice to teach myself to think differently – more upbeat and optimistic. More right-brain with a view to becoming less stressed and more calm, less anxious and more relaxed, less depressed and a whole lot happier. I find that when I manage to sustain a train of thought that contains positive phrases or positive mental images, I see the figure turning clockwise. By the direction of the dancer’s spin I can see the results of my thinking – a simple and enjoyable way to obtain bio-feedback... I hope you'll find some benefit for you.
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