Our everyday lives can be stressful, hectic and sometimes even overwhelming. We often have the feeling that it is all 'go, go, go'. We long for a quiet moment where the world seems to stop turning. Where we give ourselves permission to just be. Are you aware that you can create such a moment rather simply for yourself? You could of course book a very expensive holiday to some tropical island with no wifi connection. But that is not a sustainable solution you can practise whenever you feel like it. At least not for most of us. What all of us can do is get out some pen and paper and start drawing.
And before you start telling me (and yourself) that you are not creative and you can't draw, give me just one moment to elaborate. This is not about drawing as a form of art, this is not about becoming the next Picasso. This is about you and you putting your pen to paper. This is about doodling. About scribbling. About giving yourself the space and time to just be. When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you felt present? You felt being in flow?
“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso
When we engage in drawing or scribbling, we allow ourselves to emerge fully. We become distracted from our normal daily thoughts and worries. We become focussed on those lines and shapes we bring to paper and seemingly forget the world around us. We are in flow. The act of drawing is challenging enough to keep us engaged and pleasurable enough to keep us wanting to continue. Sometimes we can sit and doodle for hours on end, sometimes a couple of minutes is all we need (and have) to quickly recharge our batteries, centre us, and leave us ready to tackle the next challenge we need to face.
There is tons of research supporting this notion of drawing being great for your wellbeing. It is proven to reduce your stress and even anxiety levels while simultaneously increasing your mood, motivation, and feeling of accomplishment. Engaging in a scribble session can help you deal with your emotions and impose self-discipline. It is even known for increasing your levels of self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-awareness. By continuously practising some kind of visual arts (drawing, collaging, etc.) you acquire empathy and warmth, learn better impulse control and foster better people skills. And if all of that isn't convincing enough, the act of drawing supports you in identifying and evaluating your personality and identity.
But how do I start, you ask? Even though we know that this is not about creating a piece ready to fit into the New York MoMA, we often can't help that little perfectionist in us preventing the first step. To help you overcome this and other internal as well as external blocks and limiting beliefs, we have compiled 5 simple tips to support your scribble-to-wellbeing journey:
Use colouring books
The safest way to start bringing your pen to paper and benefiting from its vast list of wellbeing advantages is maybe by investing in a colouring book (for adults) and potentially some coloured pencils. There are hundreds of options out there, from Mandala shapes, to flowers, abstract forms, technical motives or even specifically designed colouring books to enhance your mindfulness. You just choose what speaks the most to you and your situation & off you go.
Copy motives from other drawings, pictures or your surroundings
When you don't fancy using a colouring book and want to scribble freestyle, but you find it hard to get some inspiration of what to scribble, you might find it useful to just copy something else. That could be other drawings from yourself or someone else, pictures you find online or from your private stash, or maybe even some motive from your surroundings, which could be anything from the fruit basket to the shapes of the clouds you see in the sky. Anything goes. And before you know it, you have started out copying the motive and ended up with your own personal version which is as unique as the original.
Include your scribbles in your notebook
It might come in handy for you to include your scribbles in your notebook which you anyway keep for daily note-taking, planning or journaling. Whether you dedicate whole pages to your visual arts or add little doodles here and there is of course totally up to you. The benefit is that you have your tools always at hand and can scribble away at every possible time - during calls, while brainstorming a new project or simply when the mood strikes. Check out our range of notebooks here which are perfectly suitable for writing as well as scribbling for when you are in need of a new addition to your journal or notebook collection.
Take a drawing class
For those of us that are a little more serious about this whole drawing idea, it might be really interesting to start attending a drawing class. This can of course be done old-school by finding some local studio that provides beginners classes. But you might also just check out the online offering for scheduled or on-demand classes that seem interesting to you. The great thing about taking a class is that you get to share your motivation and inspiration with other like-minded people, maybe even doubling your wellbeing progress by having real and meaningful social interactions.
Celebrate International Scribble Day
If nothing else, you can celebrate International Scribble Day with us on March 27th by taking part in the founder Diane Alber's challenge of creating your own funny scribble figure as shown on her official homepage here. Post you scribble with #nationalscribbleday. The aim of this holiday is to celebrate art in every shape and form and to encourage creativity over perfectionism. On top of that themes like kindness, acceptance and uniqueness are stressed as crucial ingredients for this lovely day.
What will it be for you? How will you use scribbles and doodles to support your wellbeing journey? Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Enjoy spending time with nothing else but you and maybe you even find yourself making drawing time a habit in your overall wellbeing practice.