Ok stay with me here, this might sound strange. You are probably thinking, what does brushing my teeth with my non-dominant hand have to do with mindfulness?
The concept of brushing your teeth with the opposite hand is all about creating new pathways in the brain. It's called neuroplasticity and it's the brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new connections between neurons.
I'm about to get a little nerdy, but stay with me...
Neuroplasticity allows the brain to adapt and reorganise itself throughout life. By intentionally engaging in activities that challenge established neural pathways, we can encourage the formation of new connections and promote cognitive flexibility.
So why does the toothbrush technique work?
It breaks your normal routine
Daily habits can become automatic, with the brain following well-trodden pathways. Brushing your teeth with the non-dominant hand disrupts this routine, introducing a challenge that requires focus and concentration.
The brain tends to favour efficiency, relying on well-established pathways to conserve energy. I always tell clients “The brain it lazy, it takes the road most travelled.” By using the opposite hand, you force the brain to engage in a more conscious and deliberate manner, promoting mental stimulation. It’s uncomfortable but it works.
Building New Neural Pathways
The process of learning to use the non-dominant hand for brushing creates new neural connections. As you repeat this activity, you strengthen these pathways, contributing to increased neural plasticity. You aren’t trying to train yourself to brush your teeth, you are trying to train yourself to leave old habits and create new ones.
Transferring Skills to Other Areas
The cognitive skills developed through brushing with the opposite hand can extend to other aspects of life. As your brain becomes more adaptable, you will find it easier to embrace new challenges and develop positive habits in various areas.
It's all about incorporating intentional practices into your daily routines. Not only does it promote neuroplasticity but also cultivates a mindset open to change and growth. By challenging established patterns, you empower yourself to create a more positive and flexible approach to life's challenges. It’s like riding the waves and learning to be comfortable in the discomfort of life.
Give it a try this week and let me know how you go.