Quiet your mind…

Right Brained vs. Left Brained: Which side are you on? (Eye patch therapy)

Have you ever wondered why some people are amazing artists, but struggle to add two plus two? Or why some people can understand the particulars of mathematics easily, but struggle to write a simple essay? It’s all about which side of your brain is dominant – the left or the right.

The human brain is the most advanced information processor made-to-date. Learning about how it functions and ways of getting the most from it, is the key to achieving your greatest potential. While we do only have one brain, there are two halves, or hemispheres, which are connected by a cluster of nerves called the corpus callosum, that pass information back and forth. Most of us tend to be either right or left brain-dominant.

Each of us would benefit from examining our own favourite brain location-preference. Figuring out which side you use most explains a lot about how you relate to the world. There are ways to strengthen the connection between the hemispheres that help you to use your whole brain, so you that can change your thought patterns and awaken talents that have been lying dormant.

So, our brain has two sides which think in different ways. Our right brain is visual and gathers information by first looking at the whole picture then the details. Our left brain is verbal and processes information by looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole picture. Our right brain is more intuitive and emotional; our left is analytical, critical, judgmental and sequential. Our right brain controls the left side of the body and our left brain controls the right.

People who favour the right side of their brain tend to be more creative and intuitive. They see things as a whole and are interested in art, connecting with others and emotions. The right brain is connected with artistic ability like drawing, singing and creative writing, etc. Left-brain-dominant people tend to find right brained people’s way of thinking vague and hard to follow, for they can be quite opposite in the way they think. Left-brainers tend to be more analytical and logical in their thinking and usually excel at maths and literary skills. This does not mean that someone who is left or right brain dominant does not use the other part of their brain. For most of us, even though one side may be dominant, the two parts of the brain work together, enabling us to function as well-rounded individuals.

The majority of us had an education that was very left-brained dominant. Most schools tend to favour left-brain ways of learning, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain academic subjects focus on analysis, logical thinking, and accuracy. Right-brain subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity. Studies have shown that syndromes like ADHD, Dyslexia,Asperger’s, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may be due to right-brain dominance. Exercising your brain helps to create neural networks that literally rewire your brain, transforming the way you think and perceive the world.

As a therapist, I am always on the lookout for the latest techniques that will help my clients to change their lives for the better. I first heard about a therapy called Eye Patch Therapy while studying couple’s counselling. I remember reading about a therapist that had amazing results working with couples that fought constantly and never seemed to be able to resolve their issues. The only thing he did differently from other therapists was have the couples cover their right eye with an eye patch. I found this so fascinating that I researched Eye Patch Therapy extensively and was amazed by what I learned.

Eye Patching has been used for years by optometrists and therapists to improve vision, treat dyslexia, ADHD, anger issues, depression, OCD, phobias, anxiety and insomnia, stop negative thought patterns and quiet the mind.

Your right eye’s optic nerve is connected to the left hemisphere and your left eye is connected to the right hemisphere. By covering the right eye with a patch, the left brain activity is slowed significantly and causes your brain to send more information through the nerves between the hemispheres. This in turn, forces your brain to create new neural connections and helps your brain to grow and perceive the world in a new light. Eye Patch Therapy is an easy way to exercise your brain and strengthen the connection between the hemispheres, so that you are able to balance and access your whole brain and view the world from a more peaceful place.

If you continue to see life as you have always seen it, you will continue to receive from life what you always have. Unless you change your thought processes about life, you will continue to experience life as you have in the past. Patching your eyes provides your brain with a new outlook on life. Even when done over a few days, patching can drastically change your perspective and your underlying beliefs.

I personally decided to try eye patching to quiet my busy mind and improve negative thought patterns. I went and bought a hard eye patch from the pharmacy for around six dollars and went home to try it out, hoping that my family wouldn’t think I had lost the plot with my latest hare-brained therapy – my pirate therapy as I like to call it. I patched each eye, while keeping the eye open under it for fifteen minutes a day. I went about my normal business, emailing, tidying the house, watching tv, and reading.  As long as you don’t use sharp instruments or drive, you’ll be fine.

The first few days, I hated it! I want to rip the patch off my face. It made me feel disoriented and somewhat nauseous. I figured it must be doing something if I was reacting that strongly, so I stuck with it. By the fourth day, I remember sitting with my children, doing a puzzle and suddenly being struck by the realization that my mind was quiet. It wasn’t until the chatter was gone, that I realized how constant it had become. I was able to stay completely present and in the moment for the first time in my life.

I had been a person that worried a lot and had critical and judgemental thoughts about myself and others that I couldn’t seem to control. I had always been attracted to the idea of meditation but could never turn off the seemingly unending stream of dialog my brain pumped out. After only four days of patching my eyes, I actually understood what the “power of now” meant. I continued to patch my eyes everyday for another few day, then three days a week and now maybe do it once every three to four weeks. I had tried almost every therapy possible to improve my thought patterns, limiting beliefs and negative inner dialog, only to find the answer in something I could do from home in a few minutes, without having to think about it.

The effects of regular patching can be considerable and extensive by encouraging whole-brain thinking. By strengthening the bridge between your brain hemispheres, the mind has quicker access to greater resources (both hemispheres). The overall effect is a decrease in false beliefs, a quiet and focused mind, and a greater emotional intelligence.

Patching can cause the brain to develop a new perspective on life.  It can help you change your mind about a situation within minutes, and over time, improve your well-being and relationships.  It can reframe your past, increase the inventiveness of your thinking, enhance your emotional stability, and reprogram your subconscious mind to focus on what you desire in life. I have seen people make amazing shifts in just a few weeks regarding issues they had for a lifetime, all by retraining the brain to see the world in a different way.  My only regret is that I didn’t discover this technique sooner.

How to eye patch

1. Place the eye patch over one eye (either eye will do). Adjust it to fit comfortably.

2. Experience the patch for several minutes – 10 to 15 minutes or until you feel uncomfortable whichever is less

3. Place the patch over the other eye for several minutes – 10 to 15 minutes or until you feel uncomfortable whichever is less

What you might experience after eye patching

• Some physical discomfort – nausea, headache

• A change in vision – you may want to have your eyes checked by a qualified optometrist if you notice a change

• Clarity or clouding of thought – usually a clouding or confusion will arise before clarity

• Lessening of mental clutter after a period of increased mental chatter

• Lessening of overall stress after a period of increased stress

Activities to do while eye patching

• Reading – practice reading with one eye patched, then the other, for a few weeks to improve speed and comprehension

• During a conflict with a family member – for greater positive results both participants patch (usually the right eye)

• Just prior to any test or examination – during preparation time (to assist in comprehension and retention of material)

Warning: Do not patch the eyes during times when depth perception is important (such as driving, operating dangerous equipment or machines, cutting with knives, etc.).