Saturday, October 25, 2014

Responses from our brain

February 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Body Image, Eating Disorders, Featured

Woman writingUpdated and graciously re-posted from Gurze Publications:  A while ago I met with an amazing local artist and author, Lynn Tuft. We sat in her charming cottage at the top of a hill that overlooked other rolling mounds of majestic greens. The sky was a clear, piercing blue. We talked about her work with youth…how she has found ways to tap into their creativity through multiple approaches.

Lynn reminded me of the power of journaling with our non-dominant hand. Writing questions with our dominant hand and answering with our non-dominant hand can result in an amazing and often surprising dialog.

I recalled the research that shows that when our dominant hand is used only one hemisphere of our brain is utilized whereas writing with our non-dominant hand activates both hemispheres. The answers we write to our own questions may not even sound like us yet they are indeed coming from us, they’re just originating in a part of the brain that may not be activated all that often.

I know that this is a technique used by many in the eating disorder field as a way to help clients reconnect the body with the mind, thus it’s an appropriate activity for anyone who wants to explore the landscape within. Imagine the possible learnings that may come by doing the following exercise:

Find a time and place when there are no distractions (if this is difficult, that’s another issue all together–we need to make space in our lives for us). After sitting comfortably in a chair and breathing deeply a number of times for grounding and to become awake and aware to the present moment write the following questions with the dominant hand and then answer each with the non-dominant hand:

• What are the ways my body needs me to take care of it?
• In what ways does how I feel about MY body get reflected in how I treat others?
• What thoughts went into choosing what I’d wear today?
• What do I feel when I’m fixing a meal for others? For myself?

If these questions do not resonate, just sit with a pen in hand and see what arises. It may be that we just begin writing with our non-dominant hand–with no questions in mind whatsoever. Allowing this hand to speak for us may be all that we need. If we find ourselves hesitant to begin or exclaiming, “I can’t write with my non-dominant hand!” let’s relax with that notion, knowing that our brains tend to fight what isn’t routine. If we have the courage to override this resistance we may be surprised at what we discover. Lynn’s students are always surprised.

Until next time,

Doris

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