Since picking up your first crayon, chances are you've had a favorite, or dominant, hand. That hand gets you through the day, taking care of everything from writing to eating. If you've ever been forced to rely on your "wrong hand", you know how uncomfortable and unwieldy it feels.
Yet this awkward hand could be the key to keeping your cool.
The next time you want to relax, forgo the yoga and meditation and pick up a spoon with your non-dominant hand. Practice using this "wrong hand" for the next few weeks, and you might find yourself a little calmer the next time road rage strikes. Changing up your routine and putting your non-dominant hand to work can help you control your emotions.
Dr. Thomas Denson, a professor at the University of Wales, discovered that the simple act of swapping hands when using a computer mouse or unlocking a door improves self control.
Researchers tested those who took part in Denson's study before and after they put their "wrong" hands to use, discovering that their response to infuriating events had changed. Participants were less impulsive and considerably more controlled.
Over a two-week period, making small adjustments to use your opposing hand forces you to concentrate on the activity at hand. When performing common tasks with your dominant hand, you are able to mindlessly work with minimal focus. Yet when faced with your untrained opposing hand, easy activities become more challenging. As you consciously stir your coffee with the "wrong" hand, you gain more control over both your hand and emotions.
Of course, you may not want to attempt every activity with your weaker hand. Researchers suggest only mastering small motions that are safe—so don't pick up left-handed sword fighting if it's not already your thing.