Brain Matters

What do you do to totally shift gears?  Everyone has something they enjoy doing outside the daily or regular routine.  It may be something forgotten or left behind from years ago. How many times have you given thought to things you once enjoyed and would like to pick up again? I tend to be heavily left brained (logical, analytical) and as a result hardly ever give my brain a rest.  I have spent many years ignoring the right brained me thus ignoring my creative, intuitive side. My right brain ruled when I was much younger and at some point my analytical (or pragmatic) side took over.  It is effortless to lean on my creative, intuitive side yet it seems impractical in my daily life and at work.

When I meet people I always wonder what they enjoy doing that is unrelated to work, finances, and the responsibilities of daily life. I believe everyone has a creative side and it is either pushed aside by everything else in life; or it is alive and well.  If pushed aside, your creative side can be resurrected.  It is just a matter of recognizing what gives you relief from the things that tax your brain or are a source of stress.  I find cooking and baking to be therapeutic.  I forget everything else on my mind when I am focused on something I am making in the kitchen. There was a point in time when my current job was numbing my brain.  I felt like I needed to do something in my spare time that was completely different. I enjoy foreign languages and pick them up much faster than, say, a spreadsheet full of numbers and formulas. I started taking Spanish classes for fun which turned out to be a great way to shift gears after work. It is was almost a relief to open a Spanish workbook to learn to conjugate verbs after a day pouring over pricing and budget numbers.  I also enjoy painting with watercolors.  A friend of mine knew I was keeping a somewhat artistic side under wraps and encouraged me to paint around this time last summer. I had not touched a paintbrush in many years; but when I sat down with new brushes and my block of paper, it felt really good. Though I have nothing on Matisse, Klimt or Van Gogh, I do what comes naturally to me.  I put my paints and brushes away months ago and it is about time to take them out again.

Perhaps it is a balancing act.  How do we balance what comes naturally with what requires more effort and persistence?  How do we give ourselves a break?  On some level it is an art form, I suppose, in staying focused on what needs to get done and what you enjoy.  I work with someone in my sales group who is very buttoned up and very data inclined; yet on the weekends sings in a heavy metal cover band.  I would have never guessed this person is musically inclined, much less covering Metallica’s greatest hits. As I think about it, it is probably better for one’s health and well being to unleash that creative side to really exercise the brain. It is really a great way to detach from the day to day. On the flip side, maybe a professional artist needs a few hours a day of crunching numbers?  In my mind, it would be ideal to leverage both the left and the right brain at work or in life in general.  It seems healthy – like a good workout at the gym.  Tap into the analytical side and the intuitive or creative side and see what happens instead of overusing one or stifling the other.  

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