Our brain is a wonderful organ which basically controls all of our bodily functions. Of course, there are recent studies how our gut is our “second brain“, and there are solid facts and proof behind this theory, but the main organ responsible for our personalities is still the brain. In it, the brain is divided into two sides – a left one and a right one. Each of those sides is believed to handle different functions. Doing right brain exercises, for example, has shown to improve the qualities of that side of the brain.
Our brains consist of two hemispheres which work together but are also responsible for different kind of processes. Our right brain is the more creative one and is vital to our emotions, feelings, intuition, and appreciation of art and music. You can work on boosting its capabilities by taking more photos throughout your day, paying more attention to your environment, and allowing yourself to daydream.
In this article, I will briefly discuss how exactly does the brain work and point out some of the major differences between its two sides. Then, I am going to go deeper into some of the exercises a person can do in order to amplify the qualities of its right brain side, or in other words – to improve its brain properties towards the neural pathways involved in its artistic self.
First, let me answer some of the most important questions when it comes to describing both sides of your brain…
How Does The Brain Work?
Weighing at around 3 pounds, the human brain contains a hundred billion neurons and each of these neurons has up to a thousand connections with the rest, resulting in a network of a hundred trillion connections. It is the organ that commands it all, is responsible for what we are and what we feel, and most importantly – stores our memories.
As I mentioned, it is divided into two hemispheres and each of them controls specific functions. The two sides sort of mirror each other and are almost identical in terms of anatomical structures. Still, in terms of information processing there is a big difference between them. Still, despite their differences those two halves cannot work independently. There are nerve fibers going from one half to the other which are crucial to the synchronization of all the processes that are happening.
If a brain is injured and its right and left sides are disconnected you will still be able to perform the task of which they are responsible but there will be a certain level of impairment to each of those.
If you are wondering when this all started, I have the answer for you. The theory that the brain has two individually working sides came from the psychobiologist Roger Sperry.
The mapping of the brain is this century’s biggest task and is an ongoing process which unveils new information almost every month. The information we are getting from this process is vital to studies of certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Now, let’s discuss for what is each side responsible in terms of processes.
The Right And Left Sides Of Your Brain
The most famous theory right now is that there are either right-sided or left-sided people. What this means is that they have either the right or the left side of the brain as a dominant one.
Simply put, if you are a methodical person with a logical way of thinking you fit into the left-brain category, while more creative and artistic people fall into the right-brain category. This is the category that I will be showing you how to improve in a bit.
The Left Brain
According to Sperry, this part of the brain relies on verbal communication and is more analytical. There is order here unlike the right side, as he said. This side of the brain excels at things like reading, writing, and computing different tasks. Furthermore, the left brain is also responsible for the processing of:
- Sequencing memories and scenes
- Logical (and critical) thinking
- Thinking out loud
The Right Brain
On the other hand we have the right brain, which according to Dr. Sperry is more intuitive, artistic, and visual. Organization isn’t the top priority in this part of our brains, while the things that are prioritized are:
- Rhythm and musical taste
Even if it is not yet completely decisive whether each person has a dominant brain side or not, we know that certain activities influence one of the two sides more than the other. These are exactly the activities I am going to talk about now.
Improving The Right Side
There are certain activities that will run through your right brain hemisphere and therefore develop it further. By working on these activities you will improve your brain as a whole but give a slight boost to the side which is responsible for them as processes, which in our case is the right one. Here are some of them…
Take Out Your Camera
It doesn’t matter if its a smartphone camera or a DSLR one, making more photos throughout your day is proven to increase your attention to detail. Furthermore, it trains you to look for the beauty and the art around you. Even if you don’t open those photos at any point in the future, allowing yourself to look out for the beauty surrounding you trains your brain to locate it and appreciate it better.
Daydreaming is something that greatly improves our creative side. Whenever your mind takes you somewhere, don’t fight against it… go with it instead. Let yourself be guided by your own creative and inspired self.
It might seem weird to point this out but breathing and paying attention to the air around you and in you is stimulating enough for your brain to strengthen the pathways of your right hemisphere. Pay attention to what air feels like in your airways and dive deeper into your senses by breathing deeper and deeper and allowing your mind to take over. Do this at least once per day.
Pro Tip: Try the Wim Hof breathing to take your brain’s right side to a new level.
Writing down your thoughts and emotions embeds them deeper into your brain, and more specifically into your right hemisphere memory stores. Even if you don’t know what to write about, write that down! Just process your thoughts and put them on a sheet of paper. It can be a drawing of your thoughts. Be creative with the process, that is the whole point of the game!
Allowing your spontaneous thoughts to prevail is a great way to develop your creative side. You want to go out in the rain without an umbrella? Go for it! You want to start a woodworking course? Be your guest. The most beautiful things and thoughts come spontaneously, and that should speak a lot to you.
Notice The World Around You
Everything from the colors, to the patterns in your surrounding is something that will surely inspire the right side of your brain. Pay attention to colors and shapes and imagine different ways to arrange them or use them in a new painting of yours! All of that will improve your creative side and allow you to see things from a different angle.
How Can I Exercise My Brain?
Exercising your brain is practically the same as exercising your body except the activities are different. Some of the best ways to stimulate your brain are through games and hobbies such as chess, woodworking, learning a new musical instrument, painting, cooking, and other similar activities.
Maths and reading are also great methods to keep your brain in shape. Speaking of that, exercising in general (ex. running, weight lifting, dancing) is also beneficial to your brain’s mental capabilities.
Exercising your body and brain has a lot to do with the next related question…
What Is Good For The Brain?
Well, apart from what I just mentioned, there are numerous other things that are greatly beneficial for your nervous system. Those are:
You just have to realise the fact that your brain is one of the most sensitive organs to your external environment. It will react poorly to anything that doesn’t help it perform better. For instance, people eating a lot of sugars experience moodiness, fatigue, forgetfulness, and irritation more often than people who avoid refined sugars as a whole.
What Foods Heal The Brain?
As I already pointed out, the brain can be damaged by external factors or at least be badly influenced. Luckily, nature has foods for us that are great at recovering our nervous systems. Some of these foods are:
- Berries (more specifically blueberries)
- Red Meat
- All sorts of Nuts (and seeds)
- Coconut Oil
Okay, so there are foods which can help our brains heal themselves. But can they do in on their own? Well, let’s find out!
Can The Brain Heal Itself?
When injured, the brain mostly swells up. This swelling damages the brain tissues and the overall function of the brain itself. After the trauma is gone, the feature on which the brain relies to heal itself is neuroplasticity. This neuroplasticity is responsible for making other parts of the brain take over some of the functions from the damaged areas until they heal up properly.
Sadly, not all regions have neurons that can regenerate. In fact, in the adult brain almost no section of the brain has the ability to regenerate on its own. In developing brains, though, axons and the peripheral nerves regenerate well enough to go through trauma mostly intact.
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Exercising your right brain isn’t necessarily going to make you better in arts than you were before but will at least give a slight boost to the neural pathways that take place there. Make sure you give freedom to the spontaneous and artistic personality in you and in theory you will be able to improve your right brain’s capabilities by a lot!