Friday, June 28, 2013

On The Other Hand

To my son Tommy,

I often give you some fairly abstract advice.  Today is different.  It is a practical piece of advice and a step that you should add to your routine.

Every odd day, brush your teeth holding the toothbrush in your left hand.  Every even day, use your right hand.

  That is it.  That is the great piece of wisdom I am imparting today.  This might seem like one of the silliest pieces of advice but don't let that stop you from adopting it.  If you are so inclined you can look up all the science, but the benefits of this silly maneuver have been documented.  The number one benefit is you will grow some brain cells. Little pathways will develop to move these new neurons.  You actually build these new neurons by confusing the brain and then letting it grow and adapt as it figures out how to adapt.  It is actually the same process you have been doing all your life so far as you grow.  Right now you are building your brain by learning to use your dominant hand but sooner or later this brain building stops and you have to kick start it again.  Science believes (or hopes) that continuing all this brain building in to your adulthood can help stave off dementia and other age onset diseases of the mind.  So you have to exercise your brain as much as your body and this is an easy way.  Start with the toothbrush and you can move on to so many other things that you naturally do with only your dominant hand.

Now, when it comes to brushing your choppers, there is a secondary benefit.  By switching hands you actually attack the teeth from a different angle which makes everything cleaner.  When I started brushing my teeth with my left hand, I probably looked silly.  I felt like I was just holding my hand still and moving my head back and forth to get the job done.  But nowadays I am pretty proficient.

There are study after study and whole groups of people who swear by non-dominant hand use.  Some claim that it will make you more creative and brain scan studies show that both hemispheres of the brain light up when you try doing something with your non-dominant hand.  I am not in a position to confirm these studies, and it isn't quite like working out with arm curls as you may not notice the results, but I am filing this piece of advice under "What could it hurt" and really suggest you try it.  The worse case scenario, maybe you can freak out your future wife when she realizes how weird you are that you switch hands every day when it comes to brushing your teeth.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

No comments:

Post a Comment