The art of doodling refers to the making of unfocused or unconscious drawings when the person is otherwise occupied. Everyone engages in doodling. Most people resort to doodling as a means of escaping the boredom of everyday life, like when attending a boring lecture for reading at an airport gate or as a means to pass the time during a meeting. Doodling as art therapy is often self-soothing to the person. All doodlers have a specific pattern they return to again and again just because it appeals to them.
Doodling helps in memory retention:
Research done in 2010 showed that doodling as an art therapy technique favors memory retention. In the experiment, the participants were asked to hear a phone message about an upcoming party. They were then asked to write down the names of people who were allowed to attend the party and ignore the names of those who were not allowed to attend.
Why does doodling help in memory retention?
There are a few speculations as to why the people engaged in doodling performed better than the ones who did not. Doodling can be helpful in concentration because it prevents the person’s mind from wandering away (which is a common occurrence when the person is bored) and allows the person to listen to the information present. Doodling does not allow the person to space out but stay in the moment.
The wonderful thing about doodling as art therapy is that it is mostly self-soothing, satisfying, memory enhancing, mindful, exploring as well as unconscious. In a way, drawing, doodling, and painting can be used as self-regulation experiences as well as a pleasure map of a person’s thoughts and ideas.
In his book, Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice, Prof. D.B. Dowd explained that doodling can be used as a therapeutic as well as a symbolic tool to make sense of the world and process their emotions.
Mindless doodling as art therapy technique
If you are not experienced or skilled at drawing, the easiest way to enter the world of art is through doodling. You don’t need a skill to be a doodler. You can doodle when you are at a conference or attending a phone call. Later on, these doodles can be interpreted by your therapist to understand your subconscious emotions and feelings.
Doodling as art therapy can also help a person recognize if they are under any kind of stress if they are not consciously feeling the same.
Understanding doodles and doodling as art therapy
If you observe that you always doodle on a specific spot, this could be a sign that you are going through an anxious mental state and require a break.
If you regularly provide shading in your doodles, it can indicate that you feel angry or are unhappy about something in your subconscious which needs to be addressed.
If you are simply doodling mindlessly and specifically during a time when you are calm, this type of doodling as art therapy can be relaxing and help you destress at the end of a stressful day.
A self-portraiture is an invaluable tool in understanding yourself and figuring out your current state of mind. It could be a daunting factor for you if you are not an experienced artist. Try to not think about the fact that your portrait must be realistic. Focus on drawing a basic shape, and try to explore your emotions through the process of drawing your portrait.
You can also try and make a portrait depicting past present as well as future emotions to understand the different stages of your life. Self-portraiture can help you understand your future and think deeply about the issues which you must address and yourself. These types of activities are normally explored in the transformational art therapy process. This can be very helpful in helping you explore the reasons for your current emotional state and identify the source of the stress.
Draw away your emotions:
Doodling as art therapy is an act is prescribed by almost all art therapists to help clients express their deep-rooted feelings. Drawing is a means of direct communication. To indulge in art therapy based drawing, just ask yourself what do you feel and try to draw your emotion. In the case of drawing your emotions, accuracy is not needed at all. It is a simple case of noting down your feelings through the process of drawing. You can use abstract marks to explain your emotions and feelings. In a study done by art therapist, Jayne Rhyne, it was observed that people tend to express their emotions in specific shapes and lines on a page.
Stress is a real problem in the current world. Chances are that you will feel stress at some point in your life. Stress is something that harangues us every day. Finding your way to work through your stress by simple and tiny therapeutic exercises can help you understand and regulate your emotions before the stress can become a problem. Drawing is one to which you have at your disposal at almost all times of the day. So use this method to regulate and prevent your stress from building up inside you.
Some other articles you might be interested in:
Do you doodle? What are your favorite shapes? Is there a recurrent shape you always go back to when you’re mindlessly doodling? What do you think those shapes mean to you? Do you believe in doodling as art therapy technique?
See you in my next blog post
Frequently asked questions:
- Reduction in stress levels
- Improvement in a persons focus levels
- Improves ones short term memory
- Adds more personality to the individual