5 ways being left-handed can positively affect your life

Left-handed people may be more creative, perform better athletically, and have certain health benefits.

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Left-handed people may be more creative, perform better athletically, and have certain health benefits.
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PATRICK BP/Shutterstock

  • Left-handed people face everyday challenges that their right-handed counterparts never have to worry about, like hand smudges while writing and using scissors made for righties.
  • Though only 10% of the entire population is left handed, many influential people throughout history have been lefties, like Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Babe Ruth.
  • Though left-handed people may seem at a disadvantage, their handedness may lead them to be more creative, perform better athletically, and have certain health benefits.

Beingleft-handedcomes with a handful of downsides that I’m all too familiar with as a lefty myself. My right-handed counterparts never have to worry about hand smudges while writing or the struggle of using righty scissors.

Many things, like the number pad on the side of a keyboard or gas pedals in cars, aren’t made with southpaws in mind, most likely because only about 10% of the human population is left-handed, asBusiness Insiderpreviously reported.

That 10%, however, includes some of themost influential peoplein history, ranging from presidentslike Barack Obama, entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, and media moguls like Oprah Winfrey. It’s easy to wonder if the less-popular handedness is associated with some advantages.

As it turns out, some scientific studies suggest that sinistrality(the medical term for when left-side body parts work better than those on the right side)could positively impact your life.


1. Lefties can be more creative

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Lefties may rely more heavily on the right side of their brains.
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Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Left-handedness is associated with “superior divergent thinking,” a process of thought that explores possible solutions and generates creative ideas based on existing information, asBusiness Insider previously reported. However, thestudyreferenced only supported this conclusion for men.

Additionally, University of Liverpool researchers Giovanni Sala and Fernand Gobet reported in a 2017 roundup forThe Conversationthat lefties are more likely to have a more highly developed right hemisphere of the brain, which performs tasks related to creativity.

The right brain hemisphere is associated with creativity because it controls non-verbal, conceptual, holistic, intuitive, and imaginative processes, according toScientific American.


2. Lefties can be better athletes

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Babe Ruth was one of the greatest baseball players in American history.
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General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Babe Ruth’s athletic success may have actually been linked to his left-handedness.

In 2017,Biology Letters published a studyshowing that left-handed men and women are overrepresented in elite sports, including baseball, table tennis, cricket, and other interactive games where players have to react quickly.


3. Lefties may face challenges better

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Lefties may be better at adapting to new situations.
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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A small study published in 2013 inA Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychologytested the performance of 47 right-handers and 50 left-handers on a series of executive-related tasks, like.

The results suggest that left-handed people have bettermental flexibility, as The New Yorker reported, which can help them adapt to new situations.


4. Lefties may think differently

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Lefties can generate creative solutions to problems.
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Flickr/Brad Montgomery/Attribution license

According to theAmerican Psychological Association, left-handed people are less likely to have highly lateralized brains – or brains where certain cognitive functions are specialized to each side of the brain.

In lefties, information may pass more frequently between brain hemispheres, leading to unique ideas and solutions to problems.

“Righties might dismiss an idea as too radical, but nonrighties might be willing to entertain the thought nonetheless, and develop a solution that a right-hander’s brain would skip right over,” Michael Corballis, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, told the APA.


5. Lefties may have some health benefits

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Lefties have lower rates of arthritis.
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Suphaksorn Thongwongboot/Shutterstock

Another study in Lateralitypublished in 2005 found that among its sample of over 1 million people, lefties had lower rates of arthritis and ulcers.