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March 5, 2013 / alice

left and right side of the brain… cant we all just get along?

this week i have been diving into my thesis work and trying to keep myself from feeling utterly overwhelmed. one of the ways i have been managing my stress is a lovely little ritual I created ( with my coach!)-  putting on relaxing music, pulling angel cards, sitting for a 20 min meditation, and follow it up with water color painting in my mini moleskin watercolor journal.

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unknown image source. found in cathy malchiodi’s brain image collection on pintrest

i have found myself having to live in the world of academia and keep the mindset of an artist. it’s difficult balancing the creative expansiveness needed to conceptualize new programs in a relatively new field with the narrow focus needed to construct a well-organized thesis. i found a bit of hope and excitement in one article i am reading that explains some of the different functions of the left and right side of the brain and how they work best when used together.

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let me explain a bit more….

the left side of the brain is responsible for convergent thinking which is a linear logic way of seeing the world. in convergent thinking the brain examines previous experiences and aims to solve a problem as a yes or a no. a right or wrong view of the solution.

in contrast the right side of the brain is responsible for divergent thinking. this type of thinking is non linear, and sees many possibilities to a solution. divergent thinking does not focus on a particular starting point or ending point but sees multiple outcomes.

each side of the brain needs the other side to work at its best though and i particularly love one example given in the article.  one can have so many wonderful creative outrageous ideas but to distinguish which idea is best we need logical thought. through this we come to see that creativity works best when combined with some parameters. the opposite is also true, for logical linear thought. logic is important, but without creativity no new ideas would come into being.

for me, this was an important message to myself! i need to be doing both these types of investigation and enjoy doing both. BOTH logic and creative thought are important!

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the applications of this are more far reaching than my thesis. this can help in many situations. anytime one of us faces a challenge big or small perhaps we can take a step back and say “what do i really need to help solve this problem?”. this type of solution gathering can be especially helpful in  establishing new health habits as well. really dig in, find some creative ways of accomplishing what you want and maybe even reach out to those that love you for support.

maybe you have other examples of how you can see this being helpful in your life? please share!

Kraft, U. (2005). Unleashing creativity. Scientific American Mind, 16(1), 16-23.

photos found on Cathy Malchiodi‘s pintrest page. lovely aren’t they?

while searching for brain images after writing this i found this article in an online publication stating a similar thing just with an overly sensational title.

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