5 Mental Health Benefits of Doodling

Last Update on November 3, 2023 : Published on January 16, 2021
Mental Health Benefits of Doodling


Does this word bring a smile to your face?

Well, do you often find yourself making undefined and random art on a piece of paper while you are in the middle of a lecture or in between a meeting? Amazing you are giving a treat to your mental health every time you doodle!

Doodling is often seen as a sign of not paying attention to the surroundings or being rude to the situation. But in reality, doodling is nothing less than therapy. Doodling is backed with such amazing mental health benefits that you might just make it a part of your daily routine.

So, let us explore the mental benefits of  Doodling that have been a part of our lives since we were kids.

Doodling Meaning:

If you will pick up a dictionary and look for the meaning of doodling it is likely to define doodling as:

  • To draw or scribble ideally
  • Drawing is made when a person’s attention is otherwise occupied.

But if you put the dictionary aside and see what doodling means from a psychological point of view, these are the definitions you are likely to come across.

  • Doodling is an act of creating drawings unconsciously.
  • Doodling is a mental state between awareness and daydreaming that welcomes creative ideas.

Did you notice how something that has been seen as an idle activity has a strong link with your subconscious mind and your mental health! That is why today we will flip the coin and see the positive, powerful, and benefiting side of doodling.

Did you know? Doodling is a form of art therapy!

5 Mental Health Benefits of Doodling

Doodling is a fun-based brain exercise that we all have been engaged in at some point of our life. However, back then little did we know that there are mental health benefits of doodling. Let us explore the benefits of doodling for mental health now.

1. Doodling Helps With Anxiety And Stress Levels

Doodling is like fidgeting! And as we know that fidgeting is a great way to reduce the overwhelming symptoms linked with anxiety and stress. When we repeat a word, pattern, or shape while doodling, it ends up slowing down our brain. This is turn but brakes on us overthinking, our thoughts wandering, and negative thoughts swiping in.

Thus, doodling offers a calming impact that brings relief to the stress and anxiety that one experiences. Psychologist Christine Selby has even suggested doodling as a way to calm yourself and unwind your inner soul. Selby recommends drawing continuous lines across the page that curves and crosses themselves many times.

This repetitive motion is found to have a relaxing impact. Plus, there is no right or wrong pattern here, which makes it even better (do give it a try).

2. Doodling Aids In Learning

Doodling has often been seen as a distracting activity that interferes with our learning process. But new researches have something else to suggest! Recent psychology research has found that doodling in class benefits students by improving their attention, memory, and learning capacity.

Along with this, a report on the learning styles of medical students is also in line with this finding. It was found that 30 minutes of doodling helped them in three ways:

  • Remembering better,
  • Getting rid of information overload, and
  • Filling the gaps in thinking.

We can conclude here that the positive effects of doodling can be seen on the way one processes information.

Doodling Aids In Learning

3. Doodling Improves Short Term Memory

In a study conducted by the psychologist Jackie Andrade in the year 2009, it was found that people who doodle while engaged in a task have better recall. It was analyzed that people who doodled while they attended a dull voice mail message were able to recall 29% more information than those who didn’t doodle during the call.

Clearly showing a link between doodling and improved short-term memory. If you too can relate to these findings then trust me there is nothing wrong with encouraging doodling while trying to store something in your memory.

4. Doodling Enhances Our Focus

Many studies have found that doodling helps in maintaining a level of focus and in improving concentration, especially during boring tasks. Doodling is like our brain’s automatic process of staying awake and attentive. It keeps our brain and senses available for a situation, ensuring that we do not fall asleep.

In addition to this doodling also sheds off the strain on the brain that continuous attention might have caused.

5. Doodling Brings Out The Creativity In You

Sometimes when we are too focused on finding solutions to a problem, our creativity gets hindered. That is when doodling can help! Through doodling, you can give rest to the focus circuits of your brain and bring unfocus circuits to play. This in turn will make those creative juices flow and aid in solving the problem at hand. Even Philosopher Jesse Prinz (a professor at the City University of New York) supports it.

According to him, too much focus results in overthinking which becomes a hurdle in our creative thinking process. That is why a little doodling break is suggested to explore different ideas and concepts, which ensures that we don’t miss out on the bigger picture.

The author of the Book The Doodle Revolution, Sunni Brown has explained how doodling can lead to “ah-ha” moments when you are struggling to find solutions or a creative outlet for an issue. The trick is simple! Doodling lights us different brain areas and images our brain in different information, thus letting the creative juices flow.

Doodling Brings Out The Creativity

Now it is time for you to get a pen and paper, and start doodling your way out of worries to creativity and happiness.

Did you know? Doodling is a habit of smart thinkers!

25+ Ideas To Get Started With Doodling

If you don’t know where to start your healthy and positive doodling, check these 25+ simple yet effective ideas.

Doodling Ideas For You:

  1. Different types of cacti.
  2. Donuts.
  3. Leafs
  4. Faces with different expressions.
  5. Cars.
  6. Clouds.
  7. Crystals
  8. Roses or your favorite flowers.
  9. Zentangles.
  10. Cakes or pastries.
  11. Musical instruments.
  12. Mandala.
  13. Mountains.
  14. Geometric shapes like heart, cubes, and more.
  15. Household items.
  16. Toys
  17. Butterflies
  18. Balloons
  19. Beach
  20. Animals or insects.
  21. A mythical creature.
  22. Outerspace (planets and stars).
  23. Your favorite cartoon or superhero.
  24. Random scribbles.
  25. Alphabet doodles.
  26. Symbols
  27. Social media or brand logos.
  28. Your favorite food or drink.
  29. Different body parts.

Did you know? Your doodling has a hidden meaning behind it. By exploring it a professional can identify the underlying issues in your life.

Videos To Guide Your Doodling

Videos can be a great resource to start doodling and enjoy the benefits of doodling. Here are some videos for you to begin with!

1. Doodling How to Get Started

2. How to DOODLE | Step by Step

3. HOW TO: DOODLE 101 (most simple doodles I know)

Books To Begin Your Doodling Journey With

You can start with the brain exercise for doodling by picking from the several doodling books that are available in the market.

1. Doodle Inspiration: Learn How to Doodle Paperback

2. Doodle Art For Beginners: Zen Drawing Book

3. How to Draw Anything Anytime: A Beginner’s Guide to Cute and Easy Doodles (over 1,000 illustrations)

Next time when you find yourself under stress or face difficulty in concentrating and remembering, a time-limited doodling exercise could be your go-to tool!

These were the amazing mental benefits of doodling. If doodling makes you a happy and creative person altogether, as it does to me, share your experience with us in the comments section below.

Happy Doodling to You!!!

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About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.

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