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Do You Scribble/Draw Often? Here Are The Mental Health Benefits Of Doodling

Do you have the habit of mindlessly drawing or scribbling on a pad of paper? Okay let me make it clearer, how many times have your teacher caught you drawing in your textbooks in the middle of the class? If the answer is, plenty of times, I have some news for you.

Although you may have been scolded by your teacher in the front of the whole class, it'll be easier to get over that because what if I tell you that doodling has several mental health benefits? Yes, doodling is good for your brain.

Today Boldsky will tell you all about the mental health benefits of doodling.


Benefits Of Doodling

Though some experts have defined doodling to be a form of proactive daydreaming, that is something one does mindlessly (not intentional) - when we get into the ‘auto-pilot' mode [1]. In recent times, mental health experts and artists have taken it up to explore and understand the possible benefits doodling could have on an individual and below are some of the major pointers.

(1) Helps concentrate: As contradicting as it sounds, a study found out that after a lecture or a meeting, those who doodled remembered more information than the non-doodlers [2]. Experts point out that doodling helps you to concentrate because it requires enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming. That is, doodling helps you to anchor your attention and stay engaged, restraining your mind/brain from wandering off.

(2) Helps process emotions: Several studies agree that doodling or artistic expression can help individuals deal with their feelings and emotions in a better way [3]. Just like journaling help you to get in touch with your emotions and feelings, doodling can help you recognise and express your emotions better [4].

(3) Helps reduce stress levels: This benefit falls in line with the practice of giving children colouring books, something you could remember doing in nursery/kindergarten. Just like the stress-busting benefits of colouring books that have been proven to help calm the amygdala, (part of the brain that controls the fight or flight response), doodling can help get one's stress levels under control [5][6]. Mental health experts point out that the repetitive motion of moving the pen across the page making the same shape (repeatedly) can be relaxing, and as doodling is ‘free,' one does not have to worry about making any ‘mistakes.'

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(4) Helps with learning: As it has already been proven that doodling can help improve one's concentration levels, it can also help with better learning [7]. One study result showed that individuals who doodled when they felt their mind wandering off in a class/meeting room were able to ‘get their concentration back.'

(5) Helps improve creativity: Creativity is essential to human existence and that right there is a fact. According to experts, doodling can help stimulate areas of the brain which normally remain dormant, thereby helping you analyse information differently as you are ‘lighting up different networks in the brain.' Doodling is basically ‘thinking in pictures,' and help stimulate your brain [8][9].

Some of the other benefits of doodling are as follows:

• Regulates your moods and addictive (compulsive) behaviours [10].

• Helps with memory recalling.

• Relaxes your mind and body.

• Can help in improving problem-solving skills doodling is a visual, written, and emotional experience [11].


Are There Any Downsides To Doodling?

While there are many benefits to doodling, there have been reports of some downsides and they are as follows:

In some, especially students, unstructured doodling can weaken their recall and make them distracted [12].


On A Final Note…

Doodling is not daydreaming- so the next time someone looks down on you for doodling, you know what to tell them. However, that doesn't mean that you should be doodling anywhere and everywhere; there is a time and place for everything, and places such as your classroom or exam hall are not the right place for doodling.

Read more about: mental health doodling drawing
Story first published: Sunday, January 10, 2021, 12:25 [IST]