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Your Nose Knows: How to Write (and Work) Most Efficiently


I was once a teaching assistant for Seth Roberts, who took great pride in providing practical advice for his Introduction to Psychology students. I learned many things from Seth, but there’s one tip that sticks out.


Blow your nose before starting to work. Write. Study.


It’s probably not exactly what you think. He didn’t literally say to blow your nose. He said to pay attention to the nasal cycle and adjust your work accordingly.

How can you do this? Place a finger under a nostril while breathing out. Now do it again, placing your finger under the other nostril.


Is more air coming out of the left? Right? Both equally?


If your right nostril is dominant: get things down on paper. Write now, don’t procrastinate. Prep for an important meeting. Watch a Zoom lecture. Study for an important exam.


If your left nostril is dominant: listen to and create music. Focus on your art. Feed your soul. Take time to recharge and relax.


Are both nostrils equal? For most people, this usually doesn’t last long. Draw from optimal functioning of both brain hemispheres while it does.


Your most active brain hemisphere typically shifts every few hours. So, if you have flexibility, focus on tasks that capitalize on the dominant one. If not, you can help shift brain activity by changing body posture or even pressing your armpit. Diet, sleep, yoga and other forms of exercise can also influence the nasal cycle.


As an aside, there’s a popular, yet inaccurate, notion that you’re either left or right-brain dominant. You can learn more about this here.


If you found this post helpful, please give it a like and share it with others.


Gail Agronick, principal of WorksWrite, brings her experience as a psychologist, educator, published author, and former costume character to each client.



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