Doodling is incredibly good for your health, study reveals

Katie Avis-Riordan
Photo credit: Glasshouse Images / Getty
Photo credit: Glasshouse Images / Getty

From Country Living UK

If you're prone to a bit of doodling or drawing now and again then you may be making yourself happier, a new study finds.

Free-drawing, doodling and colouring trigger the brain's reward centre by increasing blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, the research shows. This means you boost feelings of pleasure as you get arty.

The study, published in the journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, also found that these creative activities help regulate emotions.

Photo credit: Ruth Jenkinson / Getty
Photo credit: Ruth Jenkinson / Getty

During the research, 26 participants aged between 18 and 70, were asked to perform three types of art - colouring, free-drawing and doodling. As they did so, the scientists monitored their brains.

It turns out that doodling is the best for creating pleasurable feelings as it led to the highest level of blood flow in the prefrontal cortex. Free-drawing was the second best, followed by colouring.

Of the study's volunteers, eight were artists, but the increased activity in the prefrontal cortex happened regardless of artistic merit.

"This shows that there might be inherent pleasure in doing art activities independent of the end results," Girija Kaimal, assistant professor at Philadelphia's Drexel University, told Mail Online. "There are several implications of this study's findings. They indicate an inherent potential for evoking positive emotions through art-making - and doodling especially.

"Doodling is something we all have experience with and might re-imagine as a democratising, skill independent, judgement-free pleasurable activity."

From now on, we are putting doodling on our to-do list!

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