Inspirational Articles

Left Brain-Right Brain Solutions

Left Brain-Right Brain Solutions  

Conscious Living Column
By Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak

The creation of the human brain is a mindboggling feat of complexities. Here is this structure divided into two parts with one side of the brain controlling the opposite side of the body, for instance, the left brain controls the right side of the body all the while the right brain controls the left side of the body. To this equation of opposites the one side is analytical involving our use of language, arithmetic and logical problem solving, the other is our emotional and creative faculties. It is not quite as cut and dry, nor is it as simplistic as sometimes portrayed.

Generally, the left is dominant and it processes what we hear and handles most of the duties of speaking. When looking for data and facts that you have stored away, it is the left brain that goes and retrieves it from our memory. It's also carries out logic and exact mathematical formulations.

The right hemisphere mostly handles our spatial abilities, our ability to recognize faces and it processes music. It can perform some basic math, but only as rough estimates and comparisons. The brain's right hemisphere helps us to comprehend visual imagery and interpret what we see. It is also involved with language, especially interpreting its context and a person's tone.

"Brain asymmetry is essential for proper brain function," professor Stephen Wilson of University College London explained "It allows the two sides of the brain to become specialized, increasing its processing capacity and avoiding situations of conflict where both sides of the brain try to take charge."

When we have very strong emotions it is very difficult for us to make a clear decision because both the right and left hemispheres of our brain are vying for position.

Creativity and the shower

We should note here that the two hemispheres do not operate in seclusion or independently of one another but communicate at all times across a lateral band comprised of hundreds of thousands of fibres. Have you ever had a problem you have been working on, trying to solve it, wanting a creative solution that would work best for everyone? This is where we can experience the two hemispheres working together. Having a problem we want a solution for, leads us to examine, analyze and research its many aspects as well as to map out various scenarios. At some point since no immediate solution seems eminent, we figuratively put it on the back burner, and let it go. We are not putting a lot of our resources into the problem and you might say it has been handed off to the next department.


However, one morning in the shower as you go about your routine a sudden thought jumps into your head, here in the rushing water you are handed a perfect solution to your problem. While you were thinking of other things and not so intensely focused on your problem, your right brain has handed back to you a solution to something you have been trying to figure out. Aha! Yes you have just had an Aha or Eureka moment. 

It is in the creative process we experience just how well the two halves of our brain work together. While the left had analyzed the problem and accumulated as much data as was available it then stopped focusing on the problem. In other words, It let it go and that is when the right brain picked it up and took over and through its process was then able to hand it back to the left brain with ideas that excited us as we clearly saw the solution to our problem. 

Arriving at a Creative Solution

If we do not allow this process of left analyzing, letting go and the right brain working behind the scenes to create possibilities we will do what can be called historical problem solving. When we cycle and recycle a problem over and over again in our analytical left brain we can feel bogged down and stuck. When we encounter problems in need of new and different solutions the best thing we can do for our self is stop letting our left brain analyze it to death. This is the point where we can get stuck and kill our creativity. The left brain is where we get into cyclical thought patterns when we go over and over something yet have no resolution. Since it is the left brain that also retrieves our stored information and memories it can also access previously experienced emotions and feelings such as fear and anger adding them to this cyclical thought pattern and we find that we have whipped up an emotionally charged recurring twister inside of our own head. 

Here are a few things you can consider doing in order to bypass getting stuck in your head:

• Identify the problem and see whether it is your problem, perhaps you are trying to problem solve for someone else, which means it is not your problem. If it is your problem, own it.

• Get clear as to what the problem is actually about. Often we may feel in conflict about something only to discover what we thought was the problem is just a mask from the real issue.  

• Gather as much information as you can about the issue. Share out loud what you have learnt about it.

• If you begin to feel stressed, sad or angry, or any feeling for that matter, which is building undesirable energies and tension, then it is time to recognise that you have started into a maelstrom of thoughts and feelings in your head. You are stuck inside the left brain. Now before you can become encircled by this cavalcade of old feelings and perhaps familiar behaviours which no longer serve you, take a deep breath and ask all energies that are not of today to be moved away from you.  Let those whirlwind energies go.

• Affirm that you have a calm life, a blue sky and your financials are solid and your problem is now turned over to your inner creative power.

• Release any other emotional claim you have to your situation.

• While you are occupying your left brain with lots of other fun things, allow the right brain to work on the problem.

• Somewhere, sometime, out of the blue, perhaps in the shower, a complete answer will suddenly fill your head and you will have an eureka moment as the details play out in your mind. 

Too often we allow ourselves to become bogged down by a singular or even a series of thoughts that can build to an emotional crescendo so big we don’t feel, see or hear any other aspect of our self. If problem solving builds to emotional peaks then we need to become aware that old experiences are being dredged up by our left brain and incorporated into what should be the solution we are looking for. When we stop reacting to our problems and learn to respond to them we just may reintroduce our right brain into the equation and arrive at a creative solution.

Gord Riddell and Kathy Ryndak are co-founders of the Transformational Arts College of Spiritual and Holistic Training. The College offers professional training programs in Spiritual Psychotherapy, Spiritual Director, Holistic Health and Coaching. A 10 part program “Discovering the Total Self” explores personal and spiritual growth. Registrations for all our September programs is now open and filling quickly. For more information or to obtain a calendar, call the College at 416-484-0454 or toll free 1-800-TAC-SELF or visit; to receive our monthly e-newsletter email