A simple and effective way to help your mental health is by doodling. “What is doodling?” you may well ask. Doodling is drawing simple, spontaneous, and often repetitive lines, patterns, shapes, or designs. While it may seem like a mindless activity, doodling can serve as a powerful tool for relaxation and stress reduction.
There are various ways in which doodling is beneficial for your mental well-being and health:
Engaging in doodling can help redirect your focus and attention away from stressful thoughts and worries. It can be a form of mindfulness, as you immerse yourself in the creative process, allowing your mind to take a break from the pressures of daily life.
Improving concentration and focus:
Contrary to the perception that doodling can be distracting, it can actually improve concentration and focus, especially in situations where attention might wander, such as during lectures, meetings, or phone calls. Doodling can help maintain just enough cognitive engagement to prevent daydreaming or zoning out completely. I’ve found over the years that my retention of content in lectures or presentations is better when I have a page of notes complemented by various doodles in the margins.
Doodling can stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Engaging in a creative activity like doodling can boost your mood and leave you feeling more positive and content.
Doodling provides an outlet for self-expression, allowing you to express your thoughts, emotions, and ideas visually. It can be a non-verbal way to communicate your feelings and experiences.
Relaxation and mindfulness:
The repetitive and rhythmic nature of doodling can induce a state of relaxation and calm. It can be likened to a form of meditation, as you focus on the present moment and let go of external concerns.
Coping with anxiety:
Doodling can serve as a coping mechanism for anxiety. It provides a safe and constructive way to channel nervous energy and tension, helping to reduce feelings of restlessness and agitation.
Improved memory and learning:
Doodling engages both the creative and logical parts of the brain. Studies have shown that doodling while listening to information can enhance retention and understanding, making it easier to recall details later on.
Doodling is a low-pressure way to explore your artistic abilities and build creative confidence. It’s not about creating perfect art; rather, it’s a free form and unrestricted form of expression. You may just surprise yourself with your finished product!
Doodling is an enjoyable and productive way to pass the time during periods of boredom or waiting. Having a small notebook and pen or pencil handy – especially if you have long waiting periods at the doctors – is a great way to engage your creative mind rather than zoning out on social media.
Remember, doodling should be a fun and spontaneous activity. There are no rules or expectations for what your doodles should look like. Embrace the process, and allow yourself the freedom to create without judgment. Whether you’re an experienced artist or a complete beginner, doodling is a simple and accessible way to nurture your mental well-being.