Memory Benefits from Doodling

Tena3I think it was my mom who first gave me pencil and paper. She read to her six children, often all of us together, and doodling helped me sit still when I was really too young to follow the story line completely—I drew about what she was reading. It worked so well, that she continued the practice as a long-term middle school substitute and as a junior high Sunday school teacher. She somehow knew intuitively that it helped fidgety kids concentrate.

Looking back at the notes I’ve taken—college lectures, conferences, sermons—most of them contain at least one doodle. Often a random pen

Philippians 2:17-18

stroke developed into a representation of the information my brain was receiving. The doodles also aided my memory of what was on the page. All I needed to do was picture the doodle on a particular page to be able to tease the accompanying information out of my brain. Very handy when you are taking a test.

I’ve learned to love my brain even though it refuses to run in a straight line, but darts off on rabbit trails just to see what is there, when it defies memorizing, when it jumps to connections that others don’t follow even when I explain, or when it can’t pull up someone’s name but remembers all of

Philippians 2:12-13

the emotions of our last meeting while leaving out specific details. My brain detests staying in one place, focusing on one small detail, going in a straight line, and refuses to remember dates, times, and numbers with any degree of accuracy. But it loves pictures and stories of any kind, and it’s great at sorting, categorizing, connecting, and forming analogies. If you need to brainstorm ideas,  you want my brain to be there. Plus, I’ve learned multiple tricks and tools that I can depend on for linear tasks.

If you love to doodle, you probably know some of its benefits. Doodling:

  • Aids memory, especially for visual learners.
  • help retain details by adding another brain activity (drawing) to cement information in your memory.
  • Enriches understanding of concepts by turning what you hear into visual representations.
  • Calms the fidgets and opens the mind to increase auditory learning.
  • Brings thought that come in through your world and life understanding and brings it out in a format that shows hints of who you are.
  • Is fun.
  • Increases sales of gel pens.

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