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
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 (review "Exercise -- Writing Mirror
Language"). 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.