Doodlers these days should be able to rest easy knowing that the years of being ridiculed for not paying “close attention” during class or those long board meetings are over. Thanks, in part, to science.
As much as many of us would like to deny it, we’re each gifted with an artistic strain to create: to write, draw, develop, paint, sculpt, build, etc. All of which look different for each person. We do ourselves an injustice if we don’t find time to actually use our artistic talents.
But we’re busy. Life is busy. And some weeks not only drain us but also carry us deep down into life’s sewage system. It can be tough making time for art when all we want to do is sleep in-between rerun episodes of Friends.
Enter doodling: an everyday art form that can be done in the middle of that conference you’re dreading this afternoon.
First thought to be an indicator of an absent mind, doodling has decided to fight back, this time with the help of scientific study.
Here are 5 awesome reasons to make doodling one of your daily activities.
According to this article from the Harvard Health Publications, doodling can help relieve psychological distress by giving the “focus” circuits of our brain a break. Thinking through life’s circumstances visually rather than methodically can help us piece together parts of our world and offer us a greater sense of who we are and the work we’re trying to accomplish. Discovering answers to these stressful questions can help us relax.
Doodling is one way of visually exploring certain ideas or concepts. Visual note-taking can help stimulate new ideas and discoveries concerning the subject under discussion. Innovative businesses like Google have hired “Google Doodlers” to develop creative ways to market their brand and address the needs of a vast audience (check out this article). By keeping the brain active but not doggedly “focused,” doodling can help stimulate creativity.
Improves Cognitive Performance
Ironically, studies show that those who were asked to doodle while listening to a lecture were able to remember more of the lecture information when they were quizzed than those who were asked not to doodle. Doodling not only helps us generate new and creative ideas, but it also helps our memory retention.
Encourages Emotional Exploration
While “reading” a person’s doodles like tea leaves in order to discover more about their psyche hasn’t been supported by research, doodling still offers an outlet for emotional exploration. Doodling can allow you to express a more personal and intimate description of your feelings, whether they be fears, anxieties, or the usual boredom.
Artistically Captures the Present Moment
What I think is so awesome about doodling is that the moment you let your brain draw or trace or outline whatever you desire, you are artistically capturing how you’re feeling at that exact moment in time. Doodles are everyday snapshots of the dialogue taking place between your brain and your hand. Whenever I flip through my old college notebooks and come across a margin of my doodles, my mind goes back to that period of time, back to that classroom, and the memories of how I was feeling that afternoon come flooding back.
So make time to doodle today! On a post-it-note, a sheet of paper, a napkin. Doodle through a problem you might be facing or an emotion you might be dealing with. Make use of that creative spark and get your “doodle on,” friends!
Sources and resources for your enjoyment:
- Harvard Health: “The Thinking Benefits of Doodling“
- Wall Street Journal: “The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory“
- CNN: “What We Learn From Doodles“
- Live Science: “Doodling May Draw Students Into Science“