Time to doodle!
I can almost hear the collective intake of breath at the very idea that doodling can be good for you or have anything to do with mindfulness meditation.
Doodling, over the years, has received a bad rap!
Who hasn’t begun doodling in the margins of their notes during lessons or a meeting? According to a study published by the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling while listening can help with remembering details. During the research, subjects were given a doodling task while listening to a dull phone message. 29% of the people doodling improved recall compared to their non-doodling participants.
But, this type of doodling, good as it might be, is not a mindful activity.
The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. Thus, you become present in the moment.
Thus, mindful doodling:
- focuses the mind
- calms the body and mind
- relieves stress
- encourages relaxation
- increases your sense of wellbeing
- replaces negative or bored habits
- allows you to be present and aware
How to do Mindful Doodling?
You don’t need to have any drawing skills for this to work. (This is a good point as I DO NOT have good drawing skills!) There really isn’t any right or wrong way to mindfully doodle. It is not about the end result but about the process that is being taken.
- Draw, by freehand, a border around the outer edge.
- In this step you can do one of three things:
- Draw a string inside your border. ( A string is a simple curved line/squiggle that will lend structure to your design as your pattern will emerge accordingly from the contours of the string. The string divides the border into sections.)
- Draw straight or angled lines free hand within the border dividing the area into smaller sections.
- Choose a corner of the border and begin step 3.
- Start creating your doodle with patterns drawn with a pen or marker along the contours of the string, lines or border. Allow the pattern to reveal itself naturally. There is no right or wrong. You can use very simple shapes, lines, dots, squiggles and more. Shade as you desire and be mindful of and deliberate with each stroke.
- Keep going until you are finished. You will know when this is.
- Enjoy your creation!
Remember: There are NO mistakes. So, no erasing is allowed. Embrace the mark you have made and use it to continue your meditative journey of mindfully doodling.
- You can use any size paper you desire. It can be as small as a post it note or as large as a poster. It is up to you. However, I suggest that in the beginning you start on a smaller sheet as you get the hang of this mindfulness activity.
- The finer the points of the pens/markers, the finer the detail will be in the doodles.
How to share Mindful Doodling with children?
Again, there is no right or wrong way to teach children to doodle mindfully except encouraging children to be present in the moment as they are doodling. Impress on the children that there is no mistakes in the process and allow each mark to lead to the next mark.
Playing music, as described in my post Mindfulness in the Classroom- Music, will support the meditative nature of the process.
Now, get to doodling!
*Note: Some people call this Zendoodling or Zentangle.