Were you one of those kids who had pages on pages of class notes along with nonsensical doodles in the margins? No judgment if the kid in you still does that today. Turns out, you may be on to something.

According to a recent study at Drexel University, doodling actually activates the brain's reward pathways and promotes overall creativity.

The study consisted of 26 participants -- 11 men and 15 women, to be exact. Before the test, they were instructed to answer five standard questions about their self-perception.

"This five-item questionnaire asked participants to rate their perceptions of their abilities to (1) have new ideas; (2) have good ideas; (3) have a good imagination; (4) have novel ideas; and (5) solve problems."

Next, they would engage in three different creative activities: coloring, doodling, and free drawing.

"Coloring was defined as coloring in the pre-drawn shape. Doodling was defined as a personalized doodle style that the participant might have used in the past. Free drawing was defined as any drawing the participant chose to create."

Each activity lasted for three minutes and participants would take a two-minute rest with closed eyes in between.

All the while, participants were being measured with near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a technology that detects blood flow in the prefrontal cortex.Once the actual test completed, participants answered the same five questions they were met with at the beginning of the test.

The results? All three activities fired up the blood flow oxygenation, but doodling far surpassed the others. In addition, the before and after questionnaires showed that all participants had better views of themselves and their creative possibilities.

Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to let those quiet and artistic moments take over, even just for a bit. Allowing your mind to fire up in new ways and wander in various directions may lead you to your next best idea.

Published on: Aug 30, 2017
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