Do you cry easily, lose control during disagreements, or feel too emotional during confrontations? Try this exercise to switch hemispheres of the brain. At first, this exercise must be practiced for a minute or two each day or several times a week. After a while, you can test to see if it is working. It is so simple, and yet it works because the opposite sides of the brain process information in different ways. My clients, my students, and I have used it to change the way we experience emotion.
For so many years, I taught students exercises to switch from the critical, non-emotional side of the brain (hemispheric shift to the creative side) so they could draw easily. Then I realized (when getting my degree in psychology and becoming a hypnotist) that there had to be exercises to switch back when the emotional side is overly dominant.
Simple, but powerful, this exercise can change your life.
What you will need:
* 3" by 5" inch card
* A long division problem that is not easily completed. (Those who are
good at math may have to use pi or some irrational number.
* 34 divided by 7 is the one I use.
1. Imagine the long division problem in your head. Be sure and use a problem that is not easily solved. Visualize the problem in your mind as a long division problem, but do not write it down. Just see it in your head. DO NOT WORK OUT ON PAPER. ONLY VISUALIZE THE STEPS OF THE PROBLEM IN YOUR HEAD.
2. Work the problem in your head until you get lost. (It's okay if you don't get far at all). Start over as soon as you get lost. Just spend a minute or two on the problem, then begin it all over again in your head a day later--or even a couple of days later.
[For example, I'll see the problem written out in my head and think 7 into 34 will go 4 times; put 4 on top and a decimal after it, subtract 28 from 34 to get 6; bring down a 0; then, 7 into 60, etc. Usually, I get lost very quickly, and start over again a couple of times]
3. Each time, after you practice for about 30 seconds to a minute, say to yourself, "When I become over emotional, I'll remember to use this exercise." (You can close your eyes when you visualize and try to work the problem, but it's not necessary).
4. You might want to put a reminder on a note card and put it on the bathroom mirror. Write on the card: "REMEMBER TO PRACTICE THE PROBLEM." However, DO NOT WRITE the division problem on the note card--only write "remember to practice the problem." The brain must have to visualize the problem--not see it written out.
5. When you feel that you are about to lose control in a situation—perhaps start to cry—or over-react—or be too emotional—when you want to remain rational: Immediately see the problem in your head. It only takes a moment, but the tears will dry up and you will be back in control. Use it again and again if you need to.
The reason this will work is because the rational side of the brain is usually dominant for long division math problems. When the brain visualizes the frustrating math problem (our emotional side is visual), it gives up immediately and switches to the non-emotional side--giving you the short, instantaneous break needed to regain control.
(The visual side doesn't want to work out that problem--so it momentarily gives up dominance).
It's amazing when this happens, almost magical. But understanding how your brain works is simple and can change your life. Try it!
* Practice the problem as directed.
* Put the card on the mirror so you will remember to practice.
* Read some books or articles about "drawing from the right side of the
brain" so you will understand the "hemispheric shift."
* Experience this exercise as an adventure into the way your brain works and
* Be sure to see a professional if you have severe or violent emotional
problems. You may have a chemical imbalance or other issues.
Zebe is a speaker, artist, and teacher; Texas certified in art, psychology, ESL, special education, health, and social studies. She is also a certified hypnotist. When speaking, she often states her belief that, "Death does not make life a tragedy; ignorance does! Life is an adventure to be experienced regardless of circumstances."
Zebe's art, writing, speaking, and research add to the world and to the creative thought that flows through everything. She also teaches creative thinking and fat loss workshops.