Doodling has many benefits such as…..
When you were at school and you were caught doodling, I bet you got into trouble with your teacher for not paying attention. Right?
Well, your teacher was wrong, you were actually paying attention, more so than the other students in the class, the reason being is that when we doodle, we activate our creative brain, which is the right brain, leaving the left brain, which is your learning brain, to pay attention to what you are learning. Neat hey?
I know a lot of people who doodle through meetings and lectures (I am one of them) and it is not because we are bored (well, sometimes it is), it’s just a way that we listen without realising that we are listening. One woman that I met told me that she refers to her doodles in her notepad to recall what was said during the meeting, they serve a purpose of being her notes. I thought that concept was quite awesome. Turns out that doodling increases memory and increases focus.
Further benefits of doodling
Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, had a stroke at the age of 37 and she has documented her journey back to brain health in her book, “My Stroke of Insight” – you can find it on her website http://drjilltaylor.com/book.html. In her book, she explains the relevant functions of the left and right brain. What I found fascinating about her book and her journey, is her experience of her right brain being the most active brain right after her stroke, the right brain being the intuitive, creative and healing centre. It supports the fact that any form of creativity is healing as you allow your left brain (analytical and learning) to take a break and to be free of all the thousands of questions, decisions and actions it has to undertake all the time.
Your right brain helps you calm down, to take life as it flows. There is a tremendous peace to be found in the right brain and creative activities allows you to access the right brain without any effort.
Some hospitals are starting to use doodle and arts therapy with some of their patients to facilitate healing quicker.
I myself also work with clients who have had a stroke or are suffering from Alzheimers. I see a difference in my clients after a month of doing arts therapy with them once a week
So, not only is doodling and arts therapy healing, it is also a great way to calm an agitated brain, to bring anxiety under control and as a mindful practice, for people who find meditation difficult, doodling is one of the best forms of meditation. When you are doing a repetitive design on paper, you enter into a mindful state which is meditation and what is commonly known as mindfulness.
The beauty of doodling, is that whilst you are in this mindful state, you are actually also accessing the intuitive side of your brain (you guessed it, the right brain) and so on a subconscious level you are also working through problems and things that happened in your day, or life events. Most of the time you are healing events without realising it, or you suddenly have an inspiring idea or a deep revelation about your life. A solution to a problem, and let’s face it, there is a solution to every problem in life.
When my daughter is feeling out of sorts and cannot express how she feels, I will get her to start colouring in or doodling in her book, usually it is a bit
of both for her, but the one thing that I have noticed over time is how completely lost she gets in the whole process and hours can go by before she surfaces again and every time in a happier frame of mind. Sometimes, a couple of days later she might make a casual remark or statement which will give me a little bit of insight into what she was going through. The beauty with children is that very often they only need the arts therapy and not the combined action of arts and chatting about challenges, as they are so much better at acceptance and letting go than adults.
What do our doodles say about us?
All our doodles that we draw have a meaning and you can tell a lot about a person from what they doodle. For instance, I can tell what kind of mood you are in, what you are feeling, where you currently are in your life. This is again, as a result of the fact that we have accessed our intuitive subconscious whilst doodling and our truth is revealed in the doodle. In this way, I help a lot of people see for themselves the truth about themselves, their dreams and desires and through coaching, I help them to put practices and change mindsets that will help them achieve their dreams and desires.
For others, it is just a wonderful coping mechanism for the external world to have an art journal and doodle in it everyday.