June 30, 2007 | 8 Comments

[-journaling, c-mindfulness-]

c-mind graphicNext time you are writing in your journal, switch the pen to your other hand and write.

I know. I know. You can’t write with your other hand. Never mind. Go on and do it anyway.

Writing with our non-dominant hand can have interesting results because it confuses our brain. Part of that protest you just put up about not wanting to write with the wrong hand was your brain’s way of keeping things predictable. That’s okay. That’s its job. Let’s face it: we function because our brains are in charge. Our brains do a phenomenal job of keeping the world understandable and keeping our bodies and behaviours in sync with that world. But the parts of our brain that are so effective at everyday life, may not be the parts that give us the best results when it comes to pure creativity.

Since creativity may be useless, nonsensical, playful, wordless, metaphorical, musical, messy, and so on, the practical brain that serves us so well, needs a little nudge to get out of the way while we create. Try writing with your ‘wrong’ hand to make this happen.

Why does this work? Our non-dominant hand is linked to the non-dominant hemisphere of our brain. Some studies indicate that one hemisphere is active when using the dominant hand but both hemispheres are activated when the non-dominant hand is used. Either way, many people find that they ‘think differently’ or that surprising things get written down when using the non-dominant hand.

I should caution you that therapists [link no longer valid] have found that some people can access primitive and raw emotions, so I am not suggesting here that this be used as therapy. If you are interested in that, please be sure that you’re working with a trained professional first.

lefthanded The use of this technique here is suggested as a warm-up to further creative activity. It’s suggested as a way to circumvent the linear part of our brain and get into the wordless, metaphorical, visual part.

There are other ways that one can use this technique. If you have an everyday situation that needs problem-solving, try writing about it with your non-dominant hand. See if you can come up with a more ‘creative’ solution than you’ve considered previously.

Another possibility is to use it when you want to remember or learn something new. I have a friend who wants to improve her vocabulary. While she’s having her coffee each morning she copies words from the dictionary using her ‘wrong’ hand. She swears that her memory for the words is more reliable now. She even reports beating her husband in SCRABBLE for the first time after doing this for a few weeks. Now that’s worth something! 8) Remember…both sides of the brain being are being activated. She just might have something here.

Try it. Politely and gently—using bad handwriting—ask your everyday brain to step aside for awhile while creativity and new ways of thinking are explored.




See why R-mindfulness has changed to C-mindfulness here at The PCQ. Click on C-mindfulness in our topics to read about other ways of accessing your C-mind.


also posted in: C-mindfulness , Creative un-Blockers , Journaling , Practice & Practices , Process , Warm-ups , Writing - technique, craft, tips


8 Comments so far

  1. Myfanwy on July 25, 2007 9:44 am

    I haven’t tried writing with my left hand, but using my left (non-dominant) hand as the initial drawing exercise when designing has helped me often. I will try writing at some point and see how this helps too.

  2. nancy on July 26, 2007 11:30 am

    What a great idea, myfanwy. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. kara sylvia on October 27, 2008 3:52 pm

    i have to do this for a science project,and came here to find information for my research and found it was a lot of help,not only do i have my info. i have also learned something new.

  4. Brian on January 31, 2009 6:52 am

    I think you really nailed it with this post. I’ve been using non-dominant hand exercises for years, and I can only say that they consistently bring results that I never dreamed of before.
    I’ve done a post about how they relate to magic (I’m a magician) and math (I help people overcome math anxiety) at my blog, at http://mathmojo.com/chronicles/2008/05/10/strange-powers-some-hidden-benefits/, if you care to check it out.

    The design for your blog is beautiful, by the way.

    Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at MathMojo.com )

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  6. Shining Aurora on November 15, 2010 12:36 pm

    When i started to use my other hand (i was mixed handed, so i can’t tell what really is my dominant hand), i turned ambidextrous in an half hour. So when i tried to draw with left hand i got a drawing that was alike to my right handed drawing.
    After that i have habit to switch hand when i draw (and somethimes when i write).

    But there are days i can’t draw at all right handed, and other days i can’t use my left hand at all. It depends from my mood.

    About creativity and similar, i didn’t noticed differences in my mind functon. My creativity is improved in some way, but i worked on it.

  7. sardar irfan on March 5, 2011 5:07 pm

    i irfan & teacher in Kinston school for inclusive education, now a days i m working on how develop 4 human intelligence i.e IQ+EQ+SQ+PQ= TRUE KNOWLEDGE
    so for ur physically intelligence use of non domint hand is superb.Thanks for such a great article

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