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.
From our birth we have been defined by labels, thoughts and actions. These were not done purposely to us, and we did not purposely believe the information and labels thrust upon us. No, most of this programming was done out of love and misguided intention from our loved ones, teachers, peers and society of “what is good for us”and “how we should behave and be”. There, of course, also exists the element of misguided intention out of spite, jealousy and dislike to tell us “what we are not good at” or “that we don’t matter”.
Recognising that we believe these definitions
The above is just an example of where our labels, thoughts and actions have come from but we are very much responsible for our labels, thoughts and actions. This was quite a revelation to me when I realised this truth. To be frank, it actually floored me as I am, like most I suspect, happy enough to blame others for all my perceived shortcomings, so when a truth like this focuses your attention on all the labels, thoughts and actions that you have about yourself and that you have created in your life, no matter where the information came from, the truth is that I believed that this is true about myself.
It is that very statement – ” I believed this to be true of myself” that set me free, I could physically feel something shift inside me and a curiosity grow within me to discover just which labels, thoughts and actions are not true, and if they are not true, what is true then about myself?
It has taken me years of rediscovering myself and rewiring my thoughts to find the labels that are true and fit, to find the thoughts that are true and fit and to find the actions that match the new rewiring. The first thing was to actually throw labels out the window by understanding that this word and definition in itself is quite limiting.
How to change these definitions?
I asked myself a series of questions which in turn led to more questions and made me realise that whilst we are quite keen to ask others questions, we do not as ourselves enough questions and this my friend, is when we join the herd. Ask questions of yourself about what it is you are hearing and experiencing in order to be the one watching the herd!
My questions were along the line of:
1. What are my labels? How do I define myself?
2. If I took away these labels and definitions, what would my world look like then?
3. How would I think of myself? Who would I be in my world?
4. What limitations would I have?
The answer to the last one is the most powerful one, as there would be no limitations. You would be free to be yourself, to speak your truth, to listen to your heart and think from your heart and act from your heart. Your world around you would be created as you would like it to be from the heart. All the other questions would be answered by answering the last one and allowing yourself to work through all the painful labels and definitions to find your truth, it might be painful while you are working through ti but I can guarantee you great joy when you have worked through it.
Your viewpoint of who you are becoming and what you are doing would be completely changed and it would be a fantastic viewpoint as it comes from love. It comes from love of yourself which just radiates out into the world around you.
This is a daily practice for me but I can honestly say that as I am shedding the labels and definitions, as my thoughts are rewired to see the truth of myself and my actions are a reflection of the world I want to create around me, I feel lighter and more hopeful of every moment.
It takes courage to acknowledge that you alone are responsible for your labels, thoughts and actions, however, I can tell with you absolutely certainty, it is so worth it.
At the moment we are in a world of uncertainty and fear and yet the only thing we are certain of is ourselves. We have been handed a gift of being silent and discovering our truth for ourselves. It is this discovery, I believe that will bring much hope and joy in the world and you discover the essence of yourself and how to be hopeful and joyful in a world that may be collapsing around you but your immediate world is doing just fine.
Art has always helped my understand the choices I have made, helped me to rewire a lot of my programming and has healed so much for me and helped me to understand self love. I would love to help you in discovering your truth on your journey. During this time of lockdown for many, I am offering a free online mini course of one hour to help you get started on your journey.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for reading my words.
Thanks and take care,