Becoming Ambidextrous

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by Brent Haydey

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03.30.2011

How one handed you are could be causing you PAIN!  We live through habit.  We unconsciously create patterns in pretty much every area of daily living and mindlessly live out those patterns in how we do things.  Whether you are right or left handed you likely have created patterns whereby you default to the use of your dominant hand without even thinking about it.  This may be leading to back, neck, or shoulder pain or even recurring headaches that limit your ability to live your Ideal Life.

Lori is one such person.  When she moved into a new office at her work she took over the computer of the previous person, and the way it was set up.  She just sat down, adjusted the chair a bit and started to work.  The mouse was on the right side, as almost all of them are, and was on the desk surface.  The keyboard was on a tray attached below the desk.  Her adding machine was next to the mouse and her phone was to the right of the monitor.  Her job involved 8+ hours a day of data entry, mouse work, email correspondence, and other predominantly computer based tasks. She seldom got out of her chair.  At times the pressure of deadlines meant working through lunch and overtime.  At home Lori connected with friends on Facebook, spent time on various forums, and was generally inactive.  Her computer at home was pretty similar to hers at work.

Lori suffered from headaches, neck and right shoulder pain, and was beginning to experience some tingling and numbness down her right arm and into her hand.

 

woman-computer-neck-painHer one sided existence, when it came to computer work and play, was exceeding the physical threshold her body could withstand and it was breaking down as a result.  While therapy (professional or self given) would help to alleviate some of her symptoms it would not make a lasting difference until the underlying root cause was addressed.

In today’s world technology is a dominant need.  How much we use it may not be as easily limited as is necessary.  We, as humans, are not designed for the volume of sedentary work we do, especially computer work.  Therefore we need to consciously address how we integrate and utilize technology so we can prevent injuries and be able to joyfully live our ideal lives.  Becoming more ambidextrous is one excellent way to prevent exceeding your body’s threshold and minimizing the risk of breakdown of tissues leading to pain as Lori experienced. Your immediate feeling might be that there is no way you could possibly use your non-dominant hand more or maybe at all.  It’s time to stop creating excuses and start making changes that will make a difference.  This one becomes easier over time and will feel natural before long.  It just takes practice.  It can become a supportive habit in your life.  Imagine what you have to gain as it does.

Here are 4 tips for becoming more ambidextrous.

1. Alternate mouse use between the right and left side.

Consciously move your mouse from the right side to the left and back again at regular intervals in your day.  Shifting every 90 minutes would be great.  This includes your home computer and use of the track pad of a laptop if it applies.

If you require more time to adjust and improve your non-dominant hand fine dexterity, no problem.  Baby step to my suggestion above over time.  Begin with 10 minutes per hour on your non-dominant side.  As you get better lengthen the time by 10 minute chunks until you can do equal on each side.  Then extend to 90 minutes.  How long it takes to get there, as long as you are making progress, doesn’t matter.

Remember the marathon approach wins the race of Thriving Health every time!

2. Consider a separate USB number pad that can be changed from right to left side.

If you use the number pad a lot then consider finding a keyboard and number pad that are separate devices attached via USB so you can switch sides as I described above.  If you use an adding machine alternate sides in the same way.

3. Become conscious of everywhere else in your life that you automatically default to using your dominant side and begin to balance using your non-dominant side.

Examples can include carrying things like groceries, eating with your knife and fork, using certain tools, holding a glass, and so many others.

4. Can’t remember.

Set an alarm to remind you to switch.  Do you wear a watch?  Put it on your dominant wrist to act as a reminder every time you look at it.  It will feel weird at the start.  Wear some other symbol bracelet to remind you or have a symbol at your desk.  Anything that will trigger a pattern interrupt leading to change.  Once a new positive habit is formed you won’t need these as much.

A small change such as this can lead to significant transformation towards Thriving Health.  Conscious awareness enables change and so does establishing unconscious patterns that support your big goals.

Release weight, achieve thriving health and begin living your Ideal Life TODAY!

 

Yours in health,

Brent

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About the Author

Brent Haydey Profile PhotoBeginning with a degree in exercise science and kinesiology, Brent Haydey has evolved over thirty years as an entrepreneur; building four businesses, and as a health, executive, and life coach.
Learn more about Brent >

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