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Doodle your way to mental clarity: An expert guide on how to begin

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

Do you feel your brain is clogged up, leaving you with no space to think or feel real emotions? Does everything seem cluttered, with no outlet of those feelings? Can you simply not put your mind to do one thing? Do you always feel that your time is just passing by without you achieving anything at all?

Well, you are not alone. The mind can sometimes act funny and it is more twisted than our hearts, we swear! What if we told you drawing is the new ‘thinking’? What if we told you, broken crayons still color, don’t they? In these increased times of stress and anxiety, we got back to a habit that most of us indulged in as kids. Remember scribbling at the back of your notebook as a student? Well, science says it is more than just a pastime.

Representative gif: Giphy

We got talking to an expert, Kritika Bhandari on what mindful doodling is, how it helps, and how to get the most benefits from it. Some excerpts:

Mindful doodling is like yoga on paper and so much more.

Doodling is simply drawing lines and patterns on paper often repeating them either to form comprehensive imagery or just a collection of random, abstract lines. To scribble idly is what most of us have heard. But doodling is an act of mindfulness, argues our expert, Kritika. “According to a study published in the scientific journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling can aid a person's memory by expending just enough energy to keep one from daydreaming, which demands a lot of the brain's processing power, as well as from not paying attention. Thus, it acts as a mediator between the spectrum of thinking too much or thinking too little and helps focus on the current situation. And its great fun!”

Thus, doodling rather helps us to be more mindful, be present in the moment as we focus on lines and patterns while shedding away any thoughts of past or future.

Kritika highlights some key benefits of mindful doodling:

· Helps you to relax and feel happier

· Be more present

· Enhances focus and improves memory

· Helps in expressing emotions

· Bring self-awareness

· Declutters mind

· Triggers creativity

Debunking Myths

You don’t need to be an artist to start doodling! One of the major myths that we need to debunk is that doodling requires any pre-requisite in art. You can’t draw? So, what! Can you hold a pencil? Great, that’s the only thing you need. “One does not need artistic bent of mind to start off with this, only a zeal to express through this fluid form of art. No rules apply, one can navigate freely with a pen(cil) and a paper”, says our expert.

Okay, now how do you begin?

Kiritika lays down simple ways to attain mental clarity while mediating on paper:

1. Set aside a good chunk of time where you won’t be interrupted. Some people find that putting on some relaxing music also helps in the process.

2. Pick a starting point on your blank page. You may start with a single dot in the center or work from one corner of the page.

3. Start drawing using very simple lines, swirls, dots, spirals, or other easy shapes to begin with.

4. Remember, this isn’t about creating a perfect pattern or it being exact. Draw free-hand and just incorporate any perceived mistakes into the design.

5. There is no correct way to mindfully doodle. So, there are no mistakes (this idea may take a little work for the perfectionists amongst us).

6. Repetitive patterns work best such as mandala drawing, zentagle and abstract doodling. The more detailed and finer the lines, the deeper the concentration level. This means you are creating a more mindful practise.

On days when you feel extremely low and can’t bring yourself to pick a pen, Kritika has the best advice to give: When one is down, what's most comforting is something you can do all by yourself in the solitude of your bedroom. When I feel low, I just get myself a cup of masala chai, good music, a pen & paper and start scribbling. After a while, I get so involved that I don't even remember how I was feeling initially.”

Stationery recommendations for beginners:

All you need is a pencil or pen and paper. It is best to start with a piece of paper that is maybe A5 or smaller when you first try mindful doodling so you don’t get overwhelmed.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up that pen and discover zen in the most unusual, creative way! Intrigued and curious to know more about this fun experience? Join Kritika for a virtual workshop as she takes you on a journey to discover your emotions and help you doodle your way to mental clarity. Get more details about her session here.

About the Expert