Published on 05/11/20
Submitted by Kaitlin Nazario, ESS Clinical Coordinator
In a time where the world is faced with tons of uncertainty, mindfulness can help us stay in the moment and utilize our senses to help us focus on what we’re feeling and thinking in that VERY moment. Oftentimes, we think of mindfulness purely as a form of meditation and can be quite difficult to achieve. The truth is that there are multiple forms of mindful practices. Doodling is one such example.
• Pen or marker (no pencils!)
• Stress free environment
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES! This is the main reason why a pencil is not used in Mindful Doodling…it prevents the temptation to erase what’s on the paper. Mindfulness is about living in the moment and focusing on the present. You take note of what is happening, accept it, and let it be. You do not need to be an artist to benefit from this practice. The goal is to practice mindfulness in a DIFFERENT way.
Let’s get started:
I like to start with a border using freehand. On your piece of paper, start to draw lines or random strings across your paper. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You can crisscross the lines or make them curvy. You may want to start with a single dot in the center. Or start from one corner of the page and work your way out. It’s what feels good for you in the moment. Try to use your senses (all 5 if you can!) as you create your doodle.
• Does the pen give off a smell?
• How does it sound as you drag your pen across the paper?
• How does the marker feel in your hand?
Once a few of the lines are crossed, you can start to create more designs within smaller sections; patterns are encouraged. Remind yourself that there aren’t any mistakes and allow yourself to experience the journey while using your senses to keep you present. How the pen glides easily across the paper…the pungent smell of a sharpie marker as it drags across the paper…how the paper can frustratingly slide with each stroke…how the ink may have smeared across the paper, the frustrating thoughts that might pass through your mind. Include any perceived mistakes as a part of your design and remember THERE ARE NO MISTAKES. Allow the thoughts to pass through and bring yourself back to the present using your senses.
Now, there is NO time limit for your mindful doodling. However, different factors will determine when you’re done. This can include the amount of stress you’re experiencing, how big and detailed you’d like your doodle to come out, and your mood when you started. This is all a personal decision made by YOU. As you practice mindful doodling more and more, the more you will gain. You will start to increase the amount of time you doodle, thereby allowing yourself to be MORE present and aware. This can ultimately lower your stress level or help you through stressful moments.