Do you start doodling while thinking? Here's what it means

Each one of us have met with situations wherein we are part of long boring discussions, meetings etc. A lot of times when listening to these one-sided deliberations, we often waddle into our minds and our hands start scribbling things on stationary around us. None of us are immune to boredom. As a
matter of fact, 26 of 44 American Presidents have been observed to doddle. Be it Theodore Roosevelt, who would doodle animals to Ronald Reagan who doodle cowboys and footballs players or even John F. Kennedy, who doodled dominoes. While most of us assume doodling to be a sign of distraction,
recent research has indicated has indicated quite the contrary; doodling is actually a good sign.

Jackie Andrade, a psychologist asked 40 people to -½ minute dull and rambling voice mail message in 2009. Half of this group doodle while they did this and the other half did not. When both these groups were asked to recall details from the voice mail, to everyone’s surprise those who doodled were found to be better at paying attention to the message and recalling details. In fact, they recalled 29% more information! We bet none of you could think of this while you also doodle on some random art papers before you.

To be honest, there are no figurative reasons for why this occurred. When we are bored, our fight or flight system does all it takes to stay alert. Doodling, which is a form of fidgeting may be an attempt to stating awake and attentive. Doodling keeps you from falling asleep, or simply staring blankly when your brain has already turned off. The permission to “free-draw” keeps your brain working for little longer. A report on learning styles of medical students has also shown that a simple 30-minute doodle on sketching sheets helps them remember information, fills the gaps in their thinking and allows them to retrieve as much information required.

Drawing spontaneously relieves psychological distress making it comparatively easier to attend to things. In the scheme of life, we try to make sense of everything we do, however, there are times when those gaps can’t be filled no matter how much we try. Here is where doodling allows one to put back the lost puzzle pieces of memories and make a picture of life whole again. With this greater sense of self and meaning, we may be able to feel more relaxed and concentrate more.

Even doctors are picking up doodling to understand their patients better. Dr. Robert Burns, the former director of the Institute for Human Development at the University of Seattle, uses doodles to diagnose the emotional problems of his patients. He believes that doodles can reveal what is going on in the unconscious. He asserts that, in the same way that EEG leads transmit brain activity to a piece of paper, your hand also does the same.

If you find it difficult to concentrate or figure you’re in a loop that you can’t come out of, you can pick watercolour brush pens and art papers and begin to doodle. This activates the unfocused part of the brain and allows you to creatively solve your problem.


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