The Benefits of Doodling

14th May 2024 Estimated reading time: 4 mins

In today’s fast-paced world, taking a few moments out of your day to doodle may seem inconsequential. However, the mental health benefits and artistic improvements associated with doodling are more significant than you may expect. Whether you’re seeking to relieve stress, looking to enhance your creativity, or simply hoping to sharpen your art skills, doodling offers a wide range of advantages.

Perhaps you doodle whilst on the phone, or maybe you doodle at work to increase your focus in higher stress situations. There are so many positives to putting pen to paper and letting your imagination run free. You may be surprised to learn, there are many studies that show that the benefits of engaging in creative activities are huge.

Creating a beautiful piece of art doesn’t have to take hours or even days, you can easily whip up and gorgeous study in mere minutes! Artist Claire Warner demonstrates the ease of quick sketching in her workshops, and the discusses the benefits of being creative.

‘A quick watercolour Daffodil sketch by Claire Warner’

Experimenting with different mediums, colours and tools can really help to focus your mind on the creative process, and provide respite from any anxiety you may have.

Lets take a deeper dive into the science behind why doodling is so effective at improving your mental health. As featured in the Royal College of Nursing magazine “Several studies indicate doodling offers both physical and mental health benefits. It increases blood flow to the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex, which regulates higher functions such as thoughts, feelings, and actions. Doodling enhances memory, creativity, focus, and concentration, all while reducing stress.” full article here.

Doodling is a form of mindfulness, a practice that focuses solely on calming the mind and refocusing the brain to reduce stress. Similar to meditation, this intentional act of relaxation can provide amazing benefits. Taking time out of your busy schedule to sit in a calm environment and be creative is a wonderful way to destress.

Engaging in this repetitive activity has a calming effect on the mind, similar to meditation. This offers a momentarily escape from the pressures of daily life, providing a welcome relief for our overworked brains.

Anyone can doodle!

The great news is, you don’t have to be a seasoned artist or experienced in any art medium to start doodling. If you have a pen/pencil and paper, you’re all set! Perhaps you like drawing people, or flowers, or even something more abstract. Whatever takes your fancy, just pick up your pen and let the ink flow onto the paper.

Because of the absence of rules when it comes to doodling, this will naturally encourage you to engage your imagination and explore new concepts. You never know, doodling could even help you improve your overall art skills!

‘Cumulus Cloud doodle – Claire Warner’

When we think of doodling, we primarily think of scribbling on bits of paper with a biro pen. But, you can take any medium that you want to practice with, and just play around with it! As shown above, Claire Warner has created a stunning scenery in watercolour, just by having a quick doodle.

You can take inspiration from anything, your garden, the evening sunset, pets etc. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t turn out the way you imagined, the focus is more on the mental benefits of the practice, and experimenting with art. Trial and error, and just having a go are excellent ways to progressing your skills.

SAA resident artist Anita Pounder cites doodling as a great form of anxiety relief for her, particularly whilst in meetings at work.

‘A doodle by Anita Pounder’

As shown above, a simplistic doodle can really end up being eye-catching. If there’s a particular thing you want to get better at drawing, doing quick studies like Anita has, can assist with this.

Another fascinating fact about doodling, is that research suggests doodling can also improve your memory retention. The act of doodling engages multiple areas of the brain, including those responsible for memory formation. Studies have shown that individuals who doodle while listening to information are better able to recall details compared to those who do not doodle.

So, the next time you find yourself with a pen and paper in hand, don’t hesitate to let your imagination run wild. Embrace the art of doodling and experience its power to enrich your life mentally, emotionally, and artistically. After all, sometimes, the biggest benefits come from the simplest of activities.

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