Head Stretch - With Left-Handed Mirror Writing
I was working this week with some engineers who didn’t perceive themselves to be very creative at all. They asked me if it was possible to learn how to be more creative and, if so, how could they develop their individual creativity in a busy business environment.
Firstly, every one of us is creative on a daily basis. We are always having to think differently to solve problems and imagine new solutions. Research has shown, though that when we stimulate our brains in new ways, and keep practising with the new stimulus, we strengthen the neural connections in our minds. By repeatedly stimulating the connections in the right brain we can become more agile from a creative perspective. One quick and easy thing that works well and that I have tried myself is left-handed mirror writing – especially if your left hand is your non-dominant hand.
Left-handed Mirror Writing
I first heard of left-handed mirror writing from the mixed media, art journalling publication Heart Journal magazine. I am a huge art journaling enthusiast as it’s a lovely way to relax and develop my personal creativity at the same time. For me spending time making art is great contrast and complement to the business consultancy thinking that I do, and also helps to access my creative subconscious. You can see one of my 'works of art' below!
I was inspired by an article by Lucia Cappacchione PhD, an art therapist. She found that through various drawing and writing exercises with our non-dominant hand, we can explore and understand our thoughts and feelings on a completely different level, finding out things about ourselves that have been buried or concealed for quite some time. Her book, The Power of Your Other Hand, is a fascinating read. It is where I first came across left-handed mirror writing, which I tried straightaway and became intrigued with how such a simple exercise can be so powerful.
What is Mirror-Writing?
Mirror-writing is writing letters, words or sentences backwards and in the opposite direction, so that they look normal when reflected in a mirror. Sometimes young children mirror-write naturally as part of their thinking process. Some adults do it consciously, the most famous example being Leonardo da Vinci, who appears to have been fluent and prolific in his output.
At first, practising non-dominant hand mirror writing as an adult feels a bit like being a child who is learning to write again. It can feel very difficult and need more concentration initially than writing right to left with the dominant hand. It is precisely this effort that generates the positive effects of the activity in firing up those brain cells to generate new connections! I try to do about 20 minutes a day, and have found that I have become much better at it through practice. I am hoping that I have made and maintained lots of lovely new connections in my creative brain as a result! It’s certainly a fun and easy thing to do.
If you really want to experiment with what you can do with this, why not also try Lucia Cappachione’s suggestion of asking yourself a question by writing it with the dominant hand from left to right as is usual in English, and then answering your own question with your non-dominant hand using mirror writing from right to left. You may be surprised, as I have been, at some of the responses that your creative brain provides you with!
Let me know how you get on with these! I would love to hear about your experiences.
Jo North PhD is the editor of this blog and Managing Director of The Big Bang Partnership Limited.
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