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Doodling Is a Productive and Meditative Practice

By Christine Auda May 14, 2023 Mindset

Remember drawing your sixth-grade teacher with devil horns in your notebook, or doodling hearts, flowers or stars, during a boring business meeting? I’ve been guilty of these scenarios. But happily, I no longer feel like a complete slacker. Turns out, making seemingly inane marks or simple cartoon people can be productive and meditative.

Psychology Today magazine reports that doodling can help boost your memory and concentration. This means doodlers are not “spacing out.” The activity can help to keep you engaged and focused on the present moment and better able to process information in a variety of situations, such as while on a phone call, or listening to a lecture or podcast.

If you suffer from anxiety, doodling can help relieve your symptoms. My own anxiety “toolbox” includes yoga, meditation, hula hooping and doodling. When anxiety strikes, doodling helps refocus my scattered, panicky thoughts and settles me down, especially when combined with a cup of herbal tea, like chamomile.

I never dreamed that some of my grade-school doodles would positively influence my future career as an artist. I’ve incorporated some of my “mindless” scribbles into paintings, jewelry, prints and cards, which I later sold.

So, if your grandchild’s notebook is sporting suspicious-looking scribbles rather than Hemingway style prose, don’t panic. Your pride and joy just might be a prodigy in the making. Now it’s your turn to explore this deceptively simple art.

Choose Some Simple Tools

One of the best things about doodling is that you don’t require many tools. In fact, everything you need may already be available in your kitchen junk drawer. There’s no need to purchase anything fancy. As they say, keep it simple. Start with these:

  1. Unlined paper, such as copy paper or an unlined journal
  2. Ink pen, fine marker, pencil or colored pencils
  3. Music, chirping birds or silence

Let’s Start Doodling

While you can draw anything that comes to mind, let’s begin with flowers as the doodling subject. Choosing one topic at first can help keep you focused and create more of a meditative state.

Follow These Five Steps:

Draw 10 small circles anywhere on your page.

Draw dots, lines, and/or spirals in each of the circles.

Draw petals on each circle and vary their sizes.

Draw a small stem for each flower.

Draw a simple leaf on either side of the flowers.

Expanding on This Theme

Take notice how you feel after creating the flower doodles. Do you feel more relaxed, sleepy, or possibly energized? Are you eager to doodle more? If so, you may expand on this page by adding more petals to the flowers and/or leaves to the stems.

You might also add stars, hearts, circles or squares on the page around the flowers. Use your imagination, nothing is off limits. Allow yourself to be curious, and don’t worry how your images look. Try not to judge yourself, as that isn’t the point of this project. Just relax and have fun.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

When was the last time you tried doodling? Did you do it with a purpose, or just for fun? Have you tried any particular design? Would you try the one suggested in this article?

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16 Comments
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Edrae

Great to read about doodling – put a piece of paper & a pen or similar and I’m on the phone or just listening at a meeting etc the doodling happens. I love it!

Christine Auda

Great to hear this, and I hope you keep enjoying doodling.

Linda

I found this very interesting.

My great nephew was on a college course learning to code for the web. He has dyslexia and found his mind was wandering off a lot so he’d doodle. His tutor joked it might be better if he was doing an art course.

He dropped out of coding, is now about to graduate with a degree in Fine Art from a prestigious art college and plans to take a Masters degree combined with a job in a gallery next.

Christine Auda

How inspirational, Linda! Kudos to your “great” nephew. :-)

Sandy Charbonneau

Thank you for the reminder and encouragement. When I worked and spent hours with clients on the phone, I was a doodler. It helped me concentrate. Since retirement and cell phones-I haven’t doodled.
I loved doodling. I shall start immediately and teach my grandchildren the doodle ideas you have shared.
Blessings

Christine Auda

So glad to hear it, Sandy. I hope your grandchildren enjoying doodling as much as we do. Have fun!

Sheila

I love to do Zentangle. Google it and be amazed. So fun and relaxing.

Sheila B.

Christine Auda

I agree, Sheila. Zentangles are fun and beautiful.

Lisa N.

I love doodling. Always have, always will!

Monica

My words exactly. I doodle on whatever I can find. I have them on all different notepads, artpads, color them too. I love coloring, especially those adult coloring books.

Lisa N.

Oh yes, those ‘adult’ coloring books. Love the intricate swirls of flowers and shapes!

Christine Auda

Me too, Lisa!

The Author

Christine Auda is a self-taught abstract acrylic and digital painter, collage artist and writer. Exploring the joyful, spiritual and quirky parts of life, she is inspired by nature, animals, spirituality and more. She lives at the scenic Jersey Shore and enjoys sharing her love of art with others.

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