Suicide rates go down during times of war because many people begin to feel useful and challenged enough times during the day. This encourages them to us both sides of the brain harmonically. In less eventful times, people tend to slip into using just one side of the brain and get trapped into feeling useless.
Most people unconsciously wait for an external crisis, such as a threatened bankruptcy or an attack on the street or the burning down of their home or an unwanted divorce, or a war, to kick in their whole-brain thinking.
But that passive misuse of the brain leads to a life of reaction rather than creation. When Oliver Wendell Holmes said “most people go to their graves with their music still in them,” he just as easily could have said that most people live in their left brain only. When Thoreau said"most men lead lives of quiet desperation," he was describing what life is like if you stay trapped in left, linear, short-sighted thinking.But the irony is that the left brain has gotten an unfairly negative reputation, simply because people stay trapped there. When people learn that the left brain is there to connect with the right, then it take son new power and function.
When people stay trapped in linear, flat, and logical left-brain thinking and never activate the creative right side of the brain, they lose their love of life. The right brain comes alive during dreaming at night while the left brain sleeps. But it is possible (as artists, poets, and saints can attest) to have the same two-sided interplay that we had as children, while we are awake. We simply have to fire it up by using the left brain to call on the right. This is what happens when we make love, play games, write poetry, hold a baby, or face a threatening crisis: The left brain commands the right brain to come alive and get involved. That is when you get whole brain thinking, or what psychologist Abraham Maslow called “peak” experiences.The three best ways to activate whole-brain thinking are through 1)goal-visualization, 2) joyful work, and 3) revitalizing play. Rather than wait for external crises to appear, create internal challenge games of your own—goals and purposes—that lead you in growth toward the motivated person you want to become.
The real excitement in studies of the power of the right brain lies in its suggestion of a neurological basis for personal transformation. It’s not just motivational puff or secular evangelism to say that we possess unlimited creative energy, and we can use it to create the lives we want.“In fact,” writes Colin Wilson, “we can learn to live on a far, far higher level of power. And that is what the left brain was intended for. Its farsightedness gives it the ability to summon power. Yet it hardly makes use of this ability. It could be compared to a man who possesses a magic machine that will create gold coins so that he could, if he wanted, payoff the national debt and abolish poverty. But he is so lazy and stupid that he never bothers to make more than a couple of coins everyday—just enough to see him through until the evening…or perhaps he is not lazy: only afraid of emptying the machine. If so, the fear is unnecessary. It is magical, and cannot be emptied.”
Most people regard their right brain with a sense of wonder. They think in spiring thoughts “came to them” out of the blue. “Last night I had the strangest dream!” they will say, not knowing how much control they really have over that magical machine.