Commentary #13: “20 Ways Being Left-Handed Impacts Your Health”

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“There are so many artists that are dyslexic or learning disabled, it’s just phenomenal. There’s also an unbelievably high proportion of artists who are left-handed, and a high correlation between left-handedness and learning disabilities.” ~Chuck Close

In one of my more recent Commentary posts, I mentioned how I peruse CNN almost every day. Well, I stumbled upon another nugget for you!

I give you: 20 Ways Being Left-Handed Impacts Your Health

Some of you may not know that I’m left-handed. And I’m damn proud of it!

Here’s my take on the 20 things. Enjoy!

It’s not just genetics

For years, I thought it was genetic and/or hereditary. My dad is left-handed, and I have his eyes and his hair. A few other family members, on my dad’s side, are left-handed. So that’s where my thinking laid, for a long time. And apparently, left-handedness does tend to run in families!

It’s linked to stress in pregnancy

Oh dear. This is gonna be fun in a few years!

In all seriousness though, reading the summaries of the studies in the article was interesting, and a little frightening. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) earlier this year. I see a lot of yoga, coloring, reading, and writing when I get pregnant!

It’s more common in twins

This was interesting. I am not a twin, but my mom’s mom had twins that died at birth. When I first met Al, I quickly learned that twins are far more common in his family – His dad has an older brother and sister who are fraternal twins. In addition, there is a line of twins on his dad’s side, but there’s a twist: They historically skip every other generation. Since it occurred in his dad’s generation, and then skipped Al’s generation, it’s thought that I may have them one day. It was so weird to hear that though – I always had this notion of having twins, even as a young child. So strange! But, only time will tell 🙂

It doesn’t make you “right-brained”

Huh. This was a doozy. The study of the brain – The left brain and right brain – has fascinated me for several years. We all use the entirety of our brains, all for different functions, but seeing the percentages in the article raised my eyebrows.

It may cause you to think differently

I had to read this section twice, but I understood it. I tend to be drawn toward things on my left side. I’m not sure how “good” those things are. I think of it in a scientific sense: Since I am left-handed, it makes sense that I would naturally be drawn to or pay more attention to things on my left, rather than my right.

It can affect school performance

I knew it!! Just in a different way, haha. My biggest struggle throughout my schooling has been math. However, the inference to mild learning disabilities is spot-on, for me. I was born at 25 weeks. I had massive early intervention, with all sorts of therapy – Speech, physical, occupational. You name it, I was in it. Also, I was essentially held back for a year in elementary school, and it was exactly what my brain and body needed. I believe it contributed to my maturity and early connection with adults.

It’s linked to a risk of mental health problems

Interesting. As I mentioned earlier, I was recently diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I wish that this article had links to the cited studies. But, I agree with the links to ADHD and some mood disorders – Those fit my history.

It does offer an advantage in sports

For me, sports are unique. I throw with my left. But in terms of stances (batting, putting, etc.) or kicking, I stand to the right, or I use my right foot. But the article inferred something that makes perfect sense – When facing a left-hander, left-handers have an advantage, because it’s basically mirror imagery!

It may make for better fighters

Ha! Laura Beth, world champion boxer. Yeah, right! Although, I do like the idea of developing a strong left hook.

It doesn’t make you more creative

Interesting. I like the idea of “divergent thinking.” But, I also agree with examining the overall creative achievements of a person. Some people, no matter what hand they use, are just incredibly gifted and talented.

It doesn’t mean you’re artsy

Makes sense. Al is far more “artsier” that me, and he’s right-handed. And by “artsier,” I mean that he studied graphic design and animation. He’s a far better photographer and videographer. He has that eye for detail. He’s a whiz with Photoshop and InDesign.

On the other hand (no pun intended), we agree that I’m a stronger writer and editor. I grew up playing and performing music (piano, viola, and some voice), and I studied the visual arts in high school, enjoying pastels and a little bit of drawing.

It’s linked to a higher risk of breast cancer

Hmmmmm. According to the article, the highest risk is after menopause. Still – I’m gonna keep an eye on things.

It doesn’t affect your general health

With the exception of inflammatory bowel disease, of course. Yuck. Lucky for me, that hasn’t happened, so far!

It’s linked to some sleep problems

So, kicking my mom when I had a bad dream and slept in her bed wasn’t on purpose! It’s scientifically proven, Mom!

It doesn’t impact longevity

“Zero effect on lifespan,” says the author. Whew!

It may up the risk of PTSD

Interesting. I’m definitely not a horror movie fan, at all. I can’t watch certain shows anymore, like ones that I used to love years ago (CSI, Criminal Minds, etc.) I’m a visual person, so I’m easily scared if I can picture a graphic image. Even hearing someone recount a scene from a movie or TV show can make me jump or shiver. It’s strange, but true.

It doesn’t make you a bigger drinker

Left-handedness has nothing to do with alcohol consumption. I’m not a big drinker, by any means. I enjoy a Corona with lime on occasion and there are days where I need a glass of wine (or two), but I’m not going nuts every single night or hitting up the bars or clubs every weekend. Not me!

It might mean you earn less money

I was initially taken aback by this observation, but after re-reading it, it’s interesting to ponder. The research cited shows a significant difference in the gap between left-handed and right-handed women workers. Hmmmmm.

Overall, handedness doesn’t really matter

I agree with the statement that ” … the differences between righties and lefties are really rather subtle, and of much greater scientific interest than any kind of practical use …” Reading all these summaries of research and studies has certainly peaked my curiosity. I was also curious to see that research is planned for more right-handers and their brains, since so much focus has been placed on lefties and those who are mixed-handed or ambidextrous.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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