Left brain right brain: which predominates for you? Are you constantly full of thoughts, or can you allow your right brain’s intuition to come through?
Left brain right brain?
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Is your head constantly full of thoughts? Always “chattering”? Always analyzing? Always judging, criticizing, commenting, challenging? Conversely, how much time do you spend in your “right brain”? Using your intuition? Looking at your “big picture”?
These are differentiated by our brain spheres, the former our left brain and the latter our right brain.
In my blog Trusting oneself I dealt with this ”mind chatter” in some depth.
The reason behind my focus on this topic is that when in my work with the hundreds of clients I’ve coached, we encounter areas that they doubt themselves in or where they lack confidence preventing them from “raising their game”, it is often their language which gives away how much energy they are allowing their left brain mind chatter to consume. Once thus challenged, many readily admit how debilitating this can be and with that awareness now on the table, we are usually very effectively able to arrest and often also significantly reduce this draining form of interference. The relief and the ensuing breakthroughs are simply amazing to observe.
In my book “Life learnings of a Life Coach“, I devote a whole part with 16 chapters to this very topic, as it so often contributes so substantially to our personal obstacles that hold us back from being the best we can be.
Our left brain
This is our detail sphere, where we focus on the how. It is our conscious mind. All in the head. Our thinking in this sphere is linear, methodical, organizing, calculating, intellectualizing, problem solving. It is a serial processor.
Designed to protect us from danger, this sphere will always try and keep us from getting out of our comfort zone, lest we might fail or hurt ourselves (including our ego) or make a fool of ourselves etc.
As a result it deals with fear; both real and imagined. It will feed us doubt if it can prevent us “having a go” and in so doing, protect us from failure or being humiliated.
The left brain holds our ego. It relates to “who I am”. It is focused on our external world and how that world perceives us. All judgment takes place in our left brain, often fueled from the past.
In the past, it is always digging up examples of where we failed or succeeded, reminding us and making us aware of the consequences of those actions. It controls the “hard disk” of all our experiences, both good and bad, manages access to that information and provides an ongoing analysis and commentary to it.
In the future, coupled with its protection function, it will consider risks and fears, and also opportunities.
Our right brain
This is our big picture sphere, where we are fed by our unconscious mind. Our thinking in this sphere is in the now. It is what is in the “RAM” of our current consciousness. It is “in our heart”. It works with feeling, and allows us getting and being in touch with ourselves. It is a parallel processor looking at all the pictures.
Designed to give us perspective; to broaden our views, this sphere will when allowed, enable us to visualize what we desire.
It knows no fear or boundaries. Its sense of adventure and opportunity will encourage us to “have a go”.
The right brain is unconcerned with ego. It is more interested in “us” and in “the all”. It relates to “our wholeness” and being a part of everything “whole”. It is focused on our internal world, where there is no judgment. Everything is perfect, just as it is and was always meant to be.
In our right brain there is no worry or stress. We are at peace. It allows the presence of nirvana.
The right brain uses the past only to remember associations that further enhance “can do” and “want to” in the context of fun, and beauty and experiencing “the whole”. It feeds our positive attitude, and allows us to “talk over our mind chatter”; to use our intuition; to go with the flow. To apply and rely on our “gut feeling”; our intuition.
It also gives us access to our unconscious mind, where we are able to enjoy unfiltered, un-analyzed stimulation that our usually “mind chatter cluttered” conscious mind prevents us reaching.
Left brain right brain – what does this all mean?
Sometimes we need to be without something to realize and appreciate its value, right? This was so very starkly brought home to me recently when I was exposed to a video clip on TED by neuro-anatomist Jill Bolte Taylor where through a stroke, she lost the left and right brain relativity, and was able to describe this extraordinary event in intelligent detail as it was occurring because this was her specific area of specialization. I would urge you to view it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyyjU8fzEYU.
In our busy and constantly pressured lives in today’s information and knowledge age, we have to and choose to deal with ever growing masses of data and information. This is what our left brain thrives on. Yummm! Give me more, so it can revel in it. It can be a significant contributor to our stress levels, once it gets to levels we can’t cope with any more, often without realizing it.
This “busyness level” has smothered our ability to use our right brain; to prevent us from using our intuition. We are so busy thinking that we don’t afford ourselves the time to think. By that I mean thinking in our right brain. Allowing it to feed us feelings, opportunities, perspectives, visualize pictures of our desires, our intentions, our dreams and goals.
One of the most frequently used phrases we coaches encounter is: “I don’t really know what I want”. To me this is such a strong indicator that the above holds true for most people most of the time. Having allowed our “busyness” to keep us on the treadmill serving the needs of those keeping us on it, so that we have forgotten to tap into the awesome power of our right brain and figure out “our big picture”, our purpose and what really matters to us in our life.
So why don’t you?
So why don’t you just take an hour and find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and give your right brain some space to feed you? Perhaps my article on Using “the Gap” to reframe yourself will remind you of that gap between one thought finishing and the next one starting. Why not prolong that gap into a really long one without any thoughts at all and allow the ensuing calm to connect you with your right brain?
My recommendation: Have a scratchpad handy, because you might just be amazed at how many good ideas and perspectives will come to you straight afterwards.
It is an area I have helped so many clients with. And so if this article might have left you with some open questions, why not email me at and I’d be delighted to discuss them with you.
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