People have been doodling for millennia! Scrawling stick figures into the walls of caves and onto pieces of pottery. Doodling helps you free your mind without any judgment, and you don’t have to be an accomplished artist to start. As long as you can do shapes and lines you can doodle! Doodling is a simple easy technique that can be practiced daily!
The benefits of doodling
1) Helps you to slow down the mind and be present
Doodling is known to be one of the easiest, most accessible and relaxing ways, allowing the mind to breathe in order to process and integrate information. Sunni Brown states that the act of doodling itself, drawing shapes and symbols, actually forces the mind to slow down and ‘be in the moment.’
2) Provides stress relief
“Spontaneous drawing,’ as researchers call it, has been studied to examine its effects on psychological distress. Even studies on cancer patients have found that some form of art has helped decrease stress. There are numerous reasons why, but the most common theory is that the repetition and rhythmic motions of sketching can activate the relaxation response as a way to counter the body’s fight-or-flight intuition. And making art has been shown in studies to reduce cortisol, the ‘stress hormone.” Every doodler has his own set of patterns which help them relieve stress.
3) Improves your focus
When you find yourself struggling to concentrate, find yourself stuck or feeling “incomplete,” a time-limited doodle exercise could be just the thing you are looking for. It will likely activate your brain’s “unfocus” circuits, give your “focus” circuits a break, and allow you to more creatively and tirelessly solve a problem at hand.
4) Helps with memory recall
Often people think that doodlers are daydreaming, with the mind wandering off somewhere. However, it has been found that the act of doodling actually reinforces the brain to pay attention and think more instead of drifting off. In a study by Andrade (2009), participants who doodled while listening, remembered 29 percent more information compared to the participants who only listened but did not doodle.
5) Invites you to play more!
Stuart Brown, MD called play a “state of being,” “purposeless, fun and pleasurable.” For the most part, the focus is on the actual experience, not on accomplishing a goal, he said. Play is important for all aspects of our lives, including creativity and relationships. Give yourself permission to play every day. “If we don’t take time to play, we face a joyless life of rigidity, lacking in creativity. The opposite of play isn’t work, but depression. If we’re going to adapt to changing economic and personal circumstances the way that nature armed us to do, then we have to find ourselves having some play time virtually every day.” This is where doodling can help with playing more!
6) Become more creative
Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. We often think about creativity as making something, but in fact the root meaning of the word means ‘to grow.’ Engaging more creativity makes life infinitely interesting and fulfilling. One doodle can help you generate dozens of new ideas. There is no fear of mistakes in doodling. Instead, you just see where the new line takes you, and what else you can now create. Thinking of new patterns and designs will help to improve your creativity.
7) Helps process your emotions
Scholars regard doodling as a safe method of expressing emotions without worry of being evaluated by others (Torrey, 1989). Doodling is more abstract, which makes it less threatening than other direct message channels. Similar to daydreaming, doodling helps people turn their thoughts to something more pleasurable.
8) Doodling takes you back to paper
Taking a break from our technological world and going back to paper can provide great benefits. You can’t doodle when using a keyboard, and on a tablet it’s simply not the same kind of experience. Going back to paper is a full sensory experience that also allows more creativity to flow.
9) Doodling for greater productivity
When you are taking a break to doodle, this can actually help your productivity. Recent studies show that those who give in to some kind of diversion or distraction once an hour, perform better than those who just keep at it without a break. After a while, our brains numb out a bit to the constant stimulation, and we become unable to continuously treat the task as important.
Taking a break allows us to come back to the job at hand with renewed energy and sense of purpose. Something as simple as a five minute doodle break can give us a much needed boost, or point us in a new direction if we’ve been stuck. It is difficult to see things from a new perspective or find new insights when we come at it the same way all the time. Talking a step away — literally or figuratively — might be just what we need to recharge.
10) Doodling is rewarding
There have been studies that show that drawing and making art is rewarding — and the brain shows it. One study examined doodlers drawing free form and coloring a geometric pattern and found that the activity stimulated more blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. Sound familiar? It’s the same “reward center” part of the brain that is activated by laughter, or chocolate, or dancing. The same participants also reported feeling more creative and able to problem solve after the exercise.
Start your doodling today!
By the way, if you liked this article, you’ll LOVE this Free Template Doodle your way to calm in five minutes or less. It’s titled “Stress Less Activity” and you can grab it for free HERE