BENGALURU: Remember how we scribble on a piece of paper when we buy a new pen? Well, this unconscious process of taking your ‘hand on a walk’ on a piece of paper has therapeutic benefits, as the mind does not dictate what you draw.
Therefore, more people are taking to zentangling, or the art of doodling with set patterns. People who’ve tried it say it helps them relax, make better decisions and reveal things hidden away from the conscious mind.
Research says that thoughts you have while doodling, in your school notebook or on the phone, have a higher recall value, according to a certified Zentagle teacher Dilip Patel.
He says zentangling has the same benefits that meditation has, such as improved concentration, positive attitude and creativity. “It also helps fight depression,” he says. “There are higher chances of people practising it because it is more fun than meditation”
To Have a Baby
A clinical psychologist Dr Vijayageetha who works as a fertility expert has introduced zentangles to assess her patients. She always keeps a pen and paper on her desk. She says, “A couple who were not able to conceive naturally had come to me. The husband had some issues but was not open to talk about it. He saw the pen and paper and took to scribbling on it. He started talking about his issues and I observed the strokes he drew while he was speaking.
I saw him drawing deeper strokes when he was talking about the issues. I learnt that his wife was not able to understand him and that mentally affected him. So, he was not able to perform sexually. After the session, when I told him about it, he was surprised and asked me how I came to know of this when he hadn’t even revealed it.”
Three months later, he called to inform the doctor that his wife has conceived naturally.
The doctor herself found help with it. “My teacher would constantly find fault with my drawings at school,” she says. “I was deeply hurt. When I started zentangle three years ago, things became much clearer as I drew the first stroke. I realised there is nothing right or wrong. It consoled and relaxed my mind.”
Fight Againt Cancer
Bhamathi Pai was depressed after battling cancer and undergoing sessions in chemotherapy and radiation.
The IT professional says, “I underwent a brain tumour surgery in 2014. I was very depressed and wanted to try some art. Zentangle worked like a therapy for me and helped me recover. This was my first experience in art. I just picked a pen and started replicating the patterns. The best thing is that there are no mistakes and you will be surprised by the results you get.” She now makes sure that she completes one tile every day before going to sleep, to destress.
For Margaret Xaviers, zentangle teaches her about life. “You cannot erase what you’ve drawn in a zentangle, just like in life,” she says. “It helps you understand that no matter what, you should move on.” It has also helped this vice president of a global content company in decision making. “When I am stressed out, I come to my room and draw on a few tiles. It calms my mind and helps me make better decisions, thus increasing productivity.”
The doodle art has increased the self confidence of artist Madhurilata Bharati. “I always worry about the results when I work on other media but in zentangle, there is no question of good or bad. It is meditative,” she says.
But one needs to practise regularly, at least for 15 to 20 minutes a day, to benefit from it.
Zentangle in India
There are only about seven zentangle teachers in India. Dilip claims to be India’s first. “My wife discovered it for me,” he says. “After retiring, she was frustrated and irritated because she couldn’t travel, she had to take care of her mother who had taken ill and was bed-ridden. I would go to conduct several training programmes and return on weekends. She would always be irritated. One weekend, when I got back home, I saw her in a cheerful mood. She told me about how she took to zentangle and I didn’t take it seriously. I thought it would be just some doodling but I observed the change in my wife. As a trainer, I thought of learning it as it would be helpful in my field.” He took his initial lessons from his wife. He went to USA for training and became a certified teacher.