About a year ago, I mixed things up around her. In a big way. Well, sort of. I mean it felt like a big way. I moved my computer mouse from the right side of my desk, where it could be easily reached by my dominant right hand, to the left side of my desk.
For about a week, I habitually reached out, first, with my right hand, to grab the mouse. When I remembered it wasn’t there, my left hand flopped around trying to corral the mouse until it could grab tight and move it in way so herky jerky that the cursor leapt all over the page.
Within a month (a long, hard month, where I constantly had to remind myself not to reach over and cheat with my right hand) though, the whole thing became much smoother. Now I have no problem operating the mouse with my left hand. In fact, just the other day, I tried to operate the mouse again with my right hand and the struggle started all over. That’s a sure sign that I need to move the mouse.
Switching things up, moving out of the familiar routine, is awkward to say the least. But, it gets the brain talking and that’s what I’m after.
I want those two hemispheres to chatter amongst themselves to form new neural pathways and cross-talk can help make that happen, according to the big wigs.
Cross-talk occurs when one side of the brain sends out signals to control movements on the other side of the body. So, the left brain sends signals to move the right side of the body. The right brain gets the left side going. When the hemispheres are talking, it’s a good thing for our brain.
When we do things differently, when we move out of the familiar, we not only stimulate cross-talk but we create new neural pathways that expand our brain function.
Why cross-talk matters
Studies show this kind of signal relay enhances our creativity and problem solving abilities. It helps us to become more flexible thinkers – which is good for resilience — and can even help us solve math problems, according to a joint study between the University of Texas, Duke University, and the University of Michigan.
To get this kind of inner-brain communication going then, mix up the old routine a bit. Move your mouse, shift the furniture around, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand and start up the cross-talk. You’re bound to get some toothpaste on your cheek, but your brain will be better for it.
On Wednesday, I’ll share some other ways to get the brain talking to expand those neural pathways and enhance our life experience.