We are all born with the instinct for creativity, then life happens. Think “cave paintings” and ask yourself what inspired people to decorate the walls of a cave with images and glyphs? They were arguably making sense of the world around them by recreating it in graphic form. Similarly, if you’ve ever observed a child scribbling away with a crayon, you cannot fail to notice the unbridled sense of freedom with which they express themselves. The crayon is merely an extension of their hand, and there is not yet a distinction or boundary between what’s felt inside and what’s being expressed in the space they inhabit. Cue creative bliss.
Creativity is the intrinsic quality that allows us to adapt to any environment we find ourself in and, with mindful practice, it becomes the foundation of good health and wellbeing. Whenever we express our creativity, we inhabit our humanity at the most visceral and meaningful level. We’re naked and yet fully clothed, protected by the alignment of what is felt inside and that which is sensed outside the self. We’re alert yet calm; perceiving through stillness, calm and collected. We are in a flow state which means something very interesting is happening to our brain and mind. In the flow state the brain activity shifts to the steady, calming alpha waves which promote the free flow of information. At the same time, a neurochemical cocktail of dopamine (feel-good ), serotonin (mood stabiliser), endorphins (euphoria), and norepinephrine (activation) combine to create a sense of enjoyment. We are literally having a therapeutic experience of our making.
A Doodle a Day
Over time, our creative instinct can be diminished by the slings and arrows of everyday life. The idea of merrily doodling our time away feels like something only a child does because they’re carefree and don’t know better. While we, as sensible adults, end up deploying coping mechanisms that serve as armour against imposed social mores. We become captives of complexity as we do- more and more armour in the form of perfunctory routines, the weight of which crushes our sense of curiosity. Meanwhile, the body keeps the score. The more we store-up the wounds from those slings and arrows, the less our capacity to express the most amazing skill we possess; the ability to use our emotions to make sense of the world.
Doodling and Sensemaking
Even the simplest scribble, blob or line we make connects us to the inner child who sees no boundaries. Our doodles, therefore, are a perfect depiction of our unique point of view in the given moment. They are flowers in the garden of our life story and we should cultivate them because no one else can (or should) do it for us. This is pure self-care. Doodling engages deep neurological pathways in our brain and exercising these pathways regularly, generates new connections and fuels our innate curiosity. When we’re in a curious state we’re open and we ask questions that allow us to purposefully explore the next set of uncertainties. The resulting information is rocket fuel for emotional resilience. We are training our brain to remember and restore energy from the moment, see patterns and therefore frame a less fragmented story of “us”.