I was 12. I have been taking additional art classes. One day, our teacher gave us homework: try to draw or paint with a non-dominant hand. Another day, he showed us how to mirror write. Then, he asked us to practice it at home. Also, the teacher mentioned that Leonardo da Vinci mirror-wrote and painted with his other hand. It sounded so cool back then, so we all wanted to do it. To be honest, even now, it sounds cool. 🙂
Since then, sometimes, I’ve been practicing writing with my non-dominant (left) hand. Unfortunately, I do not write nicely. However, a few times in my life, this skill helped me.
From time to time, I rewrite texts, trace letters or trace different lines or shapes. Surely, it all depends on my energy level.
In addition, I love coloring. I like coloring MyndMap planners, especially the pages with oversized elements.
In addition, I love choosing the colors of my brush pens.
It is a fun way to train my motor skills, distract myself a bit, and benefit from it simultaneously.
What neuroscience says about training a non-dominant hand
In one research study, people were asked to write with their non-dominant hand for 10 days. Those people made substantial and persistent improvements. It is linked to an elevated role for the left-asymmetric praxis network. They compared the past results and found that it emphasizes the fact that learning how to write with a non-dominant hand may depend on ipsilateral higher-level centers of the dominant (here, left) hemisphere.
In addition, they found that “a network of areas where decreased functional connectivity with the motor cortex predicted long-term retention of skill” (Philip & Frey, 2016). It means that the connection is causative neuro-stimulation techniques that may ease cortical plasticity in this network and increase the detention of a non-dominant hand skill training protocol.
Another study was about hand amputees. It is known that in healthy adults, hand movements are controlled by the contralateral primary motor cortex.
Although, after amputation, movements of the not-automated hand go along with increased activity in the sensorimotor cortices of both cerebral hemispheres.
They found that motor imagery was connected with the growth of this ipsilateral response into parietal, premotor, and pre-supplementary motor areas.
Try switching hands for some of the daily activities listed below:
▪︎brushing your teeth/hair;
▪︎opening and closing doors;
▪︎holding your mug/glass/fork/ etc. with your non-dominant hand;
▪︎picking objects up and putting them down.
Without a doubt, these simple exercises will help you.
Additionally, I highly recommend starting with handwriting warm-up exercises:
You can find more handwriting warm-up exercises here.
To make things easier, you should start with tracing shapes, then letters, then words, and only then sentences. So, yes, you can begin practicing writing sentences, but it might be more challenging if your non-dominant hand is not strong enough.
Besides the exercises above, I found these Writing Worksheets that you could use.
I really would like to read about your experience doing things or writing with your non-dominant hand in the comments below.
Bogdanov S, Smith J, Frey SH. Former hand territory activity increases after amputation during intact hand movements, but is unaffected by illusory visual feedback. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2012 Jul-Aug;26(6):604-15. doi: 10.1177/1545968311429687. Epub 2012 Jan 18. PMID: 22258157.
Handwriting warms ups with pencil L beginner hand and finger exercises for kids. YouTube. (2020, October 3). Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://youtu.be/gMpq7ql9fAw
Letter tracing worksheets for Kids Online. SplashLearn. (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2022, from https://www.splashlearn.com/ela/letter-tracing-worksheets
Philip, B. A., & Frey, S. H. (2016). Increased functional connectivity between cortical hand areas and praxis network associated with training-related improvements in non-dominant hand precision drawing. Neuropsychologia, 87, 157–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.05.016