The brain is amazing. You’ve heard of right brain vs. left brain. The creative, artsy side versus the mathematical, analytical side. Well it’s true…and the connections (or lack of) they make between each other impact our emotions, actions and abilities to complete certain tasks. Each person is unique in so called “hemispheric dominance,” however, we still heavily use both sides and neither is better or worse than the other. Let’s take some time to get to know our two sides!
Meet a [Happy] Right Brain
The right hemisphere’s unique focus is simultaneous processing, integration of our body sense, arousal, awareness and understanding of spaces, and social-emotional awareness.
- Our right brain allows us to wee out of our left eyes and use our limbs on our left side.
- When it comes to language, the right side helps with intonation, patterns, gestures and non-verbal communication. This is where we pick up social cues and our ability to understand others.
- For math, the right side allows us to conceptualize numerical concepts, special reasoning and geometry.
- The right side is where we find our body awareness, social and emotional awareness and emotional self-regulation.
- Attention is handled by both sides of the brain. However, the right side focuses on extra-personal space, information procession requiring peripheral vision and spatial location. It is also where we find the ability to control how we shift our attention.
Meet an [Unhappy] Right Brain
- When dysregulation happens, we can look towards the right brain for issues regarding:
- Impulsivity, distractibility and driven hyperactivity
- Anxiety (fear), depression (agitated), impatience, shame, aggression, poor comprehension of emotions, loud unmodulated voice, and a lack of empathy
- Difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, teeth grinding, and restlessness
- Non-verbal learning disabilities, poor writing or math, lack of intonation in speech, lack of common sense or a sense of humor
- Poor balance or coordination, motor or vocal tics, and nervous habits
Meet a [Happy] Left Brain
The left hemisphere’s main jobs are sequential processing, analysis of details, complex movements, motivation, analysis over time, linguistic description and concentration.
- Our left brain controls the right visual field and the motor function of our right side.
- Left brain areas control analytical and sequential processing and the organization of verbal and written language.
- The left side helps us with math calculations, sequential logic and arithmetic.
- As far as emotions, the left side is dominant for conscious verbal awareness, and distinguishing what is linear, logical and fabricated.
- The left side’s role in attention is goal-orientation, working memory, processing of details, and object identification. It also helps us filter irrelevant factors to sustain our attention.
Meet an [Unhappy] Left Brain
When dysregulation happens, we can look towards the left brain for issues regarding:
- Poor concentration, lack of motivation, slow response time
- Anxiety (worry), depression (helpless or hopeless), irritability, low self-esteem, guilt, mood swings, obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors
- Difficulty maintaining sleep, not rested after sleep, sleep walking, bed wetting
- Poor sequential processing, calculations, logic, or expressive language; auditory and reading processing deficits
- Seizures and vertigo
As you can see, the left and the right work together constantly to help us complete almost every task. For example, reading a book pulls on the right brain’s job of information processing while the left brain helps us put it in sequential order. Or, even something as simple as walking require our right and left to use both legs, moving then equally and smoothly. We’re also lucky to have significant research allowing us to pinpoint areas of the brain when we’re noticing irregularities and trying to resolve different issues.