by Melvin D. Saunders
Ambidexterity is the ability to use both your hands with equal ease or facility, but if you’re armless, it could be your feet! In fact, it is quite advantageous in certain sports and martial arts to be able to use both your feet with equal facility. The Greeks encouraged and tried to promote ambidexterity because it was simply logical in sports and battle to be adept with both hands instead of one. By combining the Phoenician style of writing right to left with their own left to right system, the Greeks created a reading and writing system called boustrophedon, where the lines ran alternately right-to-left and left-to-right. With alternating sweeps of the eyes back and forth, reading was more swift and efficient.
Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a multi-faceted genius like Leonardo da Vinci. He often painted with both hands. When one got tired, he switched to the other. British artist, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) could draw with both hands simultaneously — a horse’s head with one hand and a stag’s head with the other. He taught drawing and etching to Queen Victoria who was a lefty that became ambidextrous.
Fleming, Einstein and Tesla were all ambidextrous. Benjamin Franklin was also ambidextrous and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with his left hand. U.S. 20th president, James Garfield was a well educated backwoodsman born in a log cabin. Although he could write with either hand with equal ease, he could also write Greek with his left hand and Latin with his right hand simultaneously! Harry Kahne demonstrated his mental dexterity in 1922 by performing several mental operations simultaneously. While one hand was writing mirror language, the other hand intermingled upside down and backward letters.
Rats given diverse and enriched environments have more connective dendritic spines to their neurons and overall heavier brains than rats exposed to dull, unchallenging environments.
Left-handed and ambidextrous people have 11% larger corpus callosa (the bundle of nerve fibers joining the right and left sides of the brain) than right handed people.
An autopsy of Einstein’s brain revealed a larger profusion of superficial capillaries interlacing the cerebral cortex than the average brain, as well as an additional amount of glial cells.
Obviously the more we use and exercise our brain, the more it physically grows.
The following exercises are designed to task the little used areas of the brain to allow such growth.
To be able to use both hands equally well, practice is the key. During the day, use your left hand more (if you’re right-handed) by consciously switching when you’re about ready to do something — pouring a glass of milk, bouncing a ball, flipping and picking up coins, hammering a nail, cutting and buttering bread, stirring your coffee, swirling water in a glass, twisting off bottle caps, etc. Wherever you would use your one hand, use the other instead — putting a key in the door, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, shaving, grasping objects, etc.
When putting on your clothes, put your other hand or foot into the garment first. Thread your belt around your waist in the opposite direction. Put your watch on your other hand. Use your other hand in sports — hitting a baseball or a tennis ball, throwing a football, shooting a basketball, etc.
Practice stirring 2 cups of tea simultaneously, swirling 2 half filled glasses of water clockwise and counterclockwise, and bouncing two balls at the same time. Get used to the kinesthetic feeling of using the muscles of both your hands and arms together. Catch 2 balls thrown to you at the same time. Throw 2 paper wads at the same time into the same paper basket — one underhand and the other overhand. Throw 2 darts simultaneously at a dart board with both hands. Write with both hands at the same time.
Draw a butterfly, a vase or a geometric figure using both hands simultaneously, but keep practicing these exercises.
Many musical instruments are played ambidextrously, and many athletes are adept at using both of their hands. Since swimming is an ambidextrous activity, teaching dyslectic children to swim often helps them to read and write normally because it balances the brain hemispheres.
Become ambidextrous and along with an added physiological brain growth, a more balanced integration of your 2 hemispheres will be achieved. Studies have shown that ambidextrous people are more emotionally independent, more determined, more adaptable to new situations and more apt to handle problems without giving up.