Now that I’ve committed to this topic, I feel some ambivalence about writing about how I have been working to develop my ‘right brain.’ It’s not the literal right side of my brain because the neuroanatomy is actually much more complicated than that – beyond my knowledge. ‘Right brain’ is shorthand for the noncognitive side of me.
My ambivalence is not around my lack of enthusiasm for but rather the vastness of the topic. I’m not sure I can do it justice in the space of approximately 500 words but will give it a try:
- Being present – I don’t feel this area is over-rated and worth every bit of effort I’ve ever committed to it. Being present means that the constant chatter in my head is quiet most of the day and I can really pay attention to what matters. I also am not wasting energy on counterproductive or destructive thoughts so I have more energy for positive and generative activities.
- Examining and challenging my beliefs and assumptions – My beliefs and assumptions are the primary source of the negative chatter in my head that then creates a cascade of stress, negative emotion, and conflict. I’ve been learning to own my reactions but not let them own me, which leaves me feeling more peaceful.
- Positive emotion – When the chatter in my head is diminished, I can attend to how I feel. I’m still not fantastic at being aware of my deepest feelings, but my internal radar is more sensitive than it used to be. I can acknowledge my negative emotions, and then intentionally foster the positive.
- Being aware – I’m trying to be more in touch with how my body feels underneath the emotion. Usually I take the sensation of my body for granted. Now I try to more often savor the sensation of being alive, open, and relaxed. It totally affects how I feel walking on Earth!
- A sense of connection – Feeling open and more present allows me to connect to the whole. Not only is this a source of awe and inspiration, but it also provides a sense of comfort. The sense that my purpose on earth is connected to something bigger than me also motivates and excites me. This is the spiritual journey I have been on for several years.
Many of my right brain activities have me using and developing my VIA strengths. My top strengths are gratitude, forgiveness, perspective, ability to love and be loved, and perseverance. Additionally, I have been developing spirituality and continue to work on leadership. I use my curiosity to explore my world with openness. I pursue these endeavors with a sense of honesty/authenticity, honoring what is right for me and what works for me, rather than trying to impress or please someone else. You can do a free VIA strengths assessment at viacharacter.org to identify your best tools for developing your right brain.
There. I guess that wasn’t so hard. I used self-regulation to just sit down and do it, and perspective to reign in the scope to a manageable size. Add a sense of accomplishment and gratitude to my right brain for all its help.