Zentangle art work above by author, Jill Hochman
I used to doodle in class or in meetings. Well, it turns out doodling is actually helpful for concentration and stress relief. I was doodling to help me understand, stay focused, and deal with stress.
All of us are experts on stress since grief is a huge stressor. So, it makes sense that doodling just may help us feel a bit better. This brings us to something known as Zentangling.
What in earth is that you ask? Well, Zentangling is really a form of doodling. Best of all It is easy to do. It takes no artistic talent so any of us can try it and even like what we end up doing. It costs almost nothing because the only supplies you need are blank paper and a pen. And, it has lots of forms and ways to do it. You can go on Pinterest, YouTube, or even Google it and you can find many ways and suggestions.
Be aware that there are some “official” rules to Zentangle; but, you DO NOT need to follow them. In brief, they go like this:
- Sit and relax. Maybe do some type of meditation
- Put 4 dots at what would be corners of a square
- Partition your “square” with some lines
- Start putting little repetitive patterns in the partitioned spaces.
That’s it! Very simple.
Well, as simple as these rules are, you do NOT need to follow them. As you can see in this image of one of my Zentangles, I did not follow the rules. It doesn’t matter because I simply felt a bit better just making the Zentangle.
Here is my strategy. I keep a little book with blank pages and a pen handy. If I am going somewhere that might be stressful, I keep these in my purse. When watching TV or when I find myself sitting around thinking of my loss, I pull out the book and just start doodling. This helps me breathe and relax and helps bring my brain back into focus. It’s a strategy that helps me deal with the grief waves we often feel.
You may find the Zentangling can help you as well. Some research at Harvard suggests that Zentangling can benefit us as we grieve.
You can often find local classes about how to Zentangle. Or, go to YouTube and Pinterest. On line there is a terrific amount of information and ideas for Zentangling.
Try it…. it is not hard, you do not need to be an artist, and you just might feel a little bit better.