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How Doodling Affects Our Thinking, Concentration, and Behavior

Generally, doodling is considered a sign of distraction.   It’s viewed as a signal that our minds are not where they’re supposed to be.

Doodles may look like a scribble — random words or pictures that make no sense.  But they’re not as random as we might think.

Research has shown that spontaneous scribbling can be quite beneficial.

doodling benefits

How Doodling is Beneficial

Many people find themselves listening to something boring and start scribbling random things on a piece of paper.  Doodling is a form of fidgeting.

In fact, 26 American presidents are noted for doodling.  For example, John F. Kennedy doodled dominoes, Ronald Reagan doodled football players and cowboys, and Theodore Roosevelt doodled children and animals.

There’s no specific reasons why we doodle.  Nevertheless, we are learning more about this curious behavior.

You see, when you’re bored, your fight-or-flight system will try to stay alert. Researchers believe random scribbling may be a desperate attempt at staying attentive and awake.  It keeps us from falling asleep, or simply staring blankly into space when our brains have turned off.  It also keeps our brains active a little while longer.

Additionally, paying constant attention on something places a strain on our brains.  And doodling gives our brains a break when we need to be attentive without losing total interest.

In addition, random scribbling, or doodles, helps us remember information — providing us a reprieve from the loads of information most of us have to wade through.

Improving Focus and Relieving Stress

Doodling may also help to relieve psychological distress. Many of us like to make sense of our lives.  In order to do this, we sometimes make up logical stories.  But, no matter how hard we try, sometimes there are gaps that can’t be filled.

Doodling fills in these gaps — making us feel more relaxed and able to concentrate more.

If you’re struggling to concentrate, you may find yourself stuck or feeling incomplete.  Doodling could be just the thing you need to activate your brain, give you more focus, and allow you to be more creative to solve a problem at hand.

Doodling — a spontaneous act of drawing — helps generate ideas and is associated with creativity and better learning.  From scribbles to abstract patterns, to cartoons, to repetitive signatures or names — doodling is an enjoyable activity — well worth the time and effort.


Featured image courtesy of Junior Libby via Public Domain Pictures | Cropped and Resized | CC-BY-SA-1.0

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