The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I am an anxious artist. I have uncontrollably shaky hands and an addiction to colorful gel pens. I have countless journals filled with random scribbles and my name written in all different fonts. I am an avid Pinterest user with way too many boards of drawing ideas. Above all, I am a devoted doodler with a sworn promise to share my artistic way of managing anxiety.
To me, a doodle is a mindless sketch with endless finishing touches. It’s a drawing where you can add continuous scribbles or polka dots, and there is no requirement to stay in between the lines. Your mind lets your hand go free.
The first doodle I can remember in my artistic career was in my sixth-grade math class. I finished up my quiz on the times tables, and I was super anxious that I missed the answer to 9×8 — a serious dilemma for an elementary school student. To try and calm my mind, I remember flipping over my test to the backside and singing the tune,
“Little circle, little circle, bigger circle.
Little circle, little circle, bigger circle.
Half circle, half circle, bigger circle.
Double-u, double-u, ‘e’ ‘e’, ‘e.'”
If you were to follow that tutorial, you’d find yourself with a nice, plump piglet.
There I was at 12 years old, aimlessly vandalizing the back of my times-table quiz and freeing my mind from the intense curriculum of sixth-grade algebra. The mental chatter in my brain started to quiet down, and deep breaths started to form. Thankfully, algebra quizzes are no longer the root of my anxiety. However, I am a 20-year-old college student with responsibilities and a handful of anxiety. My anxiety causes my hands to shake. Having a hand tremor makes being an artist a little tricky. I can’t draw straight lines or perfect circles. I don’t know how to make every petal on a flower look similar, but that’s precisely the beauty of doodling. There are no rules. Everyone’s art looks unique.
Doodling as a method of managing my anxiety has truly saved me. Sketching random plants in a notebook remains to be the most cost-effective way of distressing me. My colorful gel pen has the power to take all the weight that gets built up on my shoulders right off me. For ten minutes of my day, I can forget about my shaky hands and embrace my squiggly flower petal.
The best part about doodling is it requires no skill. Anyone with a little stress in their life can pick up a scrap piece of paper and start scribbling away. All you need is some creativity and imagination to make your pen go up and down or side to side. There are endless possibilities.
Let your mind wander.
Take some deep breaths.
Set your mind free.
After a few plump piglets later, check back in with yourself. Turn your algebra quiz back over and try again. All it takes are some deep breaths and a few good doodles to silence your mental chatter and set your mind free.