Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Sound of One (Non-dominant) Hand Clapping

Hello! Welcome to Week 3 of my Take It or Leave It Challenge.
When my mom was a little girl, her older sister taught her to write left-handed. But in elementary school, her teachers determined that she might be more comfortable being right-handed. As a result, she's still ambidextrous enough to write with both hands. That's the cool part. The downside is that she's had lifelong confusion about which hand she should use. 

Image result for Funny ClappingI have no such problem. If my brain needs something done, it knows to ask Righty. For all intents and purposes, Lefty is just there for symmetry. But I've heard for years that it's good for the brain to call upon the non-dominant hand to help with routine tasks. In fact, ambidexterity training is a thing now, and its proponents claim such benefits as improved neuroplasticity, increased creativity, better memory, less stress, more positive mood... (The other side to the story is research showing that ambidextrous people tend to perform more poorly on certain cognitive tests and may have greater age-related decline in brain volume. Yikes!)

Out of curiosity, I thought I'd try ambidexterity myself. For the last week, I've been calling upon Lefty to help me out with everyday activities: brushing teeth, brushing hair, opening doors, vacuuming, cooking, eating, and the like. Frankly, the results were mixed. First of all, it was really hard to change my ways. I'd be halfway finished with something before I remembered to switch hands. I also learned that there are certain tasks I can't trust Lefty to do. Cutting, for example, with knives or scissors. Anything to do with my contact lenses/eyes. And the hairdryer was fine, but even though I only use a curling iron for smoothing out bed head, Lefty just couldn't manage it. Afraid to go to work with random facial burns, I quickly gave that one up.

To cap off the week, I did the Sunday crossword left-handed, the result being something between a third-grader's homework and a ransom note.

I didn't feel any more creative or less stressed--the opposite, really--but the exercise did present many deep, philosophical questions, such as: Why is there toothpaste on the mirror? Why is my belt on backwards? Who spilled coffee grounds all over the floor? All in all, I'm not a convert to this opposite-hand business, with one exception. Using my non-dominant hand for eating slowed me down and made me much more thoughtful, which is a good thing.

For Take It or Leave It, this one's mostly a Leave It.


  1. The Hub is ambi. He writes left but some tasks he lefty's it and others right. Seems to switch to whatever he feels like. Not me, I'm right all the way.

  2. That makes me wonder if it would be "handy" (sorry!) to have an ambidextrous spouse :-)