Lately I’ve returned to an old past-time: doodling. It’s something I did a lot as a child and a young adult but I never knew back then that this absentminded past-time was actually good for me.
What is doodling? It’s a simple drawing, often created whilst our mind is elsewhere. A doodle can be something concrete e.g. flowers, faces, a cartoon of your teacher or a sketch of your cat; or they can be just random and abstract lines and shapes; or a combination of the two. The classic example of a doodle is one done down the margin of your school book or on the back of a till receipt. I certainly spent hours doing that kind of doodle at school and in my diary as a teenager.
I’ve started doodling again as a way of taking a break from my studies (I’m in the throes of an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes). I put a timer on for 25 minutes and study, then when I’ve completed that I let myself have a five minute break where I just doodle. I let my mind and my pen wander, sometimes I’m purposeful and sometimes I just see what happens when I move the pen around, often I combine the two approaches. I find doing this gives me a break from my studies, or whatever else is on my mind, and it helps me recover my energy to get back to the next 25 minute block I need to attend to. It helps calm me, it helps focus me and it gets my creativity going. I often come back from this break with a different idea or angle that I might not otherwise have had.
Everyone needs to find ways to calm down, relax or focus. What kinds of things help you relax? Why not try a doodle…?