5 Ways Being Left-Handed Can Affect Your Health
Beyond having to buy special scissors
We’re just going to say it: It’s hard out there for a leftie. We’re paid an average of 10 percent less than our right-handed colleagues, and we can never, ever write without getting a giant pen mark on our pinkies. But more than that, left-handedness can actually impact your health, too. Here’s what it could mean.
1. You might perceive things differently visually.
When most people look at objects, they favor the object on the right over the one on the left. Left-handed people, though, implicitly think things on the left are preferable to those on the right, despite everything in language and culture signaling you to believe the opposite. This can impact everything from which paintings you prefer in an art gallery to how you perceive politicians in a debate setting.
2. You might experience more negative emotions.
A 2007 Scottish study found that after watching clips from a scary movie, left-handed people were more likely to show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, other studies of lefties have found that non-right-handers experience more negative emotions. The reason could be that lefties are more likely to display unusual brain lateralization, which could impact the way they process fear and anger.
3. You’re more likely to get a certain sleep disorder.
It’s called periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD), and as a leftie, you’re more prone to it. PLMD causes patients to involuntarily jerk their arms and legs while they sleep, and while it can’t be cured, medication can alleviate symptoms.
4. You’re less likely to get arthritis and ulcers.
It’s not all bad news, though. According to a study published in the journal Laterality, there is strong evidence that left-handers have lower rates of arthritis and gastric ulcers.
5. You might be more athletic.
When left-handed people learn to play sports, their opponents are almost always right-handed. When they’re faced with a left-handed opponent, though, they can easily adjust. For a rightie, adapting is much harder, leaving them at a competitive disadvantage.
Good at sports and ulcer-free. Who says righties have all the fun?