The human brain is divided into 2 hemispheres that must work together for us to function and work productively in our environment.
The right side of the brain is most commonly associated with our innate artistic ability and our connection with non-linear thinking. The left side of the brain helps us to be analytical and think in a linear fashion- from point A to B. Many people have one side that is more dominant than others, but we are most well-rounded when the two sides work together cooperatively.
Enter: The Figure 8.
Drawing a figure 8 or doing cross patterning forces the two brain hemispheres to coordinate and work together.
In times when you are stressed, having a hard time focusing, are frustrated when test taking, etc. it is important to take a step back, breathe deeply, and integrate the hemispheres of the brain.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to simply draw a figure 8 with your fingertip on whatever surface is nearby- your steering wheel or thigh is perfectly acceptable. When you draw a figure 8 without picking up the pencil, you are coordinating your brain.
If possible, though, it is great to do a full body cross brain activity. This can be done through cross crawl marching, slapping the opposite knee as described below.
Stand tall and with soft knees, lengthening through your spine. With arms stretched outward, march, and bring your hand across your body to tap the opposite knee. In this way, the right hand taps the left knee. Some people find that this is very hard to coordinate and need to tap the same-side knee 2 or 3 times before moving to the cross patterning.
Many times, people note increased mental clarity and even improved physical coordination following these activities. I first heard about this when researching study and test-taking skills while in Chiropractic school and it made a significant difference in my test anxiety and study productivity. I implemented it in anatomy tutoring and now, I often have patients perform the cross crawl marching after an adjustment to help sync their body and brain while the nervous system is firing .
There are many more iterations of this concept that are geared at right brain-left brain coordination. If you would like an individual assessment, please contact me!