We hope this year has greeted you well! This is the first post of its kind in a hopefully long endeavor toward more engaging coaching. Since we changed our name to OC Wealth Coach 5 years ago, we have expanded many capabilities to better serve our clients’ needs. But, we want to continue to improve. And the best way we know to improve, is to be ongoing. While our office is always willing to answer questions as they come up during the year, we thought we would focus on a particular topic at a time to hopefully get all of our gears turning a bit. These topics may not necessarily be all “finance”.
But financial planning is about a lot more than just the money.
Our focus for April is on Health & Wellness. While these terms often discuss physical health, mental health can get overlooked. While OC Wealth Coach is far from an expert in these matters, there is a tremendous amount of research to support working out our brain. A recent podcast I listen to, “The Art of Charm” had an interview with Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane. While much of their material may be covered in a future topic, it all stemmed around the idea of our brain’s neuroplasticity. Without getting too “science-y”, the premise is that our brains have profound potential to form connections, especially through learning and experiences. Unfortunately, it’s something we often don’t seek to develop since we are creatures of habit. For example, it’s pretty amazing how many tasks we only use our dominant hand for. Speaking as a “righty”, I do things like turn the ignition of my car, unlock doors, scoop dog food, and mark my golf ball all with my dominant hand.
Seriously? What’s the risk in scooping the dog food with my left hand? Not getting it filled to the brim, maybe? I don’t think about it, it’s just habit. Unfortunately, habit doesn’t do much to work on our brain’s function. Increasing our neuroplasticity vastly increases a number of things. It expands our ability to learn, be more effective during the day, and even be more creative. But, like all exercise, it doesn’t happen over night. Our brain is something that also has to be “worked” out. And it’s important to realize that although physical exercise may lead to a longer life, our brain may not be buckled in the same car for that journey.
As coaches, one thing we have learned is that if you want to make a meaningful change, start small and start now. If you want to start doing push ups, get on the ground and do 1 right now. If you want to increase your brain’s neuroplasticity, paperclip some papers on your desk or use your calculator (or the one on your phone) with your non-dominant hand right now.
Did you just try the paperclip? Crazy, right!? Did you bite your tongue a bit and lower your head until you were looking through the very top of your glasses? (Or was that just me?) Something SO SIMPLE, and yet, it’s as if we’ve never used our other hand to do it! It almost felt as if that stupid, scrawny paperclip was insulting me! Are you still not convinced that our brain is capable of creating seemingly impossible connections? Then have a look at this blind mountain climber who uses a camera hooked up to his tongue in order to “see”. Yes, it’s actually real, and he is the only blind person complete the 7 summits. His brain re-wired itself in order to distinguish electrical impulses from a camera with his tongue, rather than his retina.
Now, I’m not saying to try “risky” things like using your kitchen knives (or climb Everest) with your non- dominant hand. Let’s work up to that, you inspiring Bobby Flay or Rachael Ray, you. Just the nature of “trying” to do simple things with our non-dominant hand has a positive effect. We don’t have to be GOOD with our “weaker” hand, just getting our brain to try it makes it create new connections.
Here’s a challenge for this month. Try to consciously do things with your non-dominant hand! Here are some ideas:
- Start your car with your left hand (as probably even you lefties start the car with your right). Yes, actually reach around/through the steering wheel and awkwardly start the car with your left hand. (And if you cheat with a push button start, humor me by pushing the button with your “other” hand’s pinky or something.)
- Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. <— This one’s a doozy and REALLY effective.
- Unlock your doors with your non-dominant hand. (As in, even get the correct key from the key ring one-handed, like you probably do with your dominant hand without thinking about it!)
I’m interested to hear how this progresses for you. Let us know if you get inspired to increase your neuroplasticity in other ways!
Until next time, cheers! (With our non-dominant hand, of course)
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Trent Huston is a Financial Consultant with securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/ SIPC. Investment advice offered through AK Financial Group, a registered investment advisor. AK Financial Group and OC Wealth Coach are separate entities from LPL Financial.
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