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Sketching And Doodling To Combat Depression

Traditional art therapy for the treatment of psychiatric disorders is nothing new, of course, but nowadays many people are finding that simply sketching and doodling are helping them cope with depression. Since groups of sketchers are cropping up all over and people can now easily share their art and thoughts online, some are finding that the quality of their lives is improving through engaging in these quick forms of art-making.

Problems That are a Part of Depression

Two problems that persons with depression often find hard to deal with are: 1) having a hard time finding meaning in life, and 2) social isolation.

Doodling can help you become more positively introspective, and sketching help you become interested in something outside of yourself--it is like a meditation. These can be helpful activities along with standard treatment.

The Simple Art Therapies You Can Do on Your Own

Doodling is drawing things that spring from your mind, and people who doodle often accompany it with writing their thoughts out. It can help you to calm yourself and focus. You don't need any artistic skills to do it, but if you draw a stick figure or a smiley face you could be well on your way to serious doodling.

 One woman experiencing clinical depression and anxiety said in an article in The Guardian that her doodles helped her to express her thoughts and feelings about her condition, and she received valuable feedback from others when she posted these online. Her readers said her work helped others to understand these conditions better. This in turn helped her to combat her feelings of isolation.

Sketching is a loose and quick drawing of an item or person that has your attention, or of your surroundings. It requires little equipment: just a writing implement and a scrap of paper. When you are sketching, you spend much of your time in learning to observe. This mental concentration can put you in the flow state where you lose track of time. At first you may have trouble getting there, but with daily practice, your brain will adjust and it will get much easier.

Many people have little faith in their drawing skills and if this is a problem for you, rest assured that yours will improve the more you sketch. For some free drawing lessons, you can try this website. Sketching is as personal as your handwriting so don't worry if your sketches look different than someone else's.

If you keep your sketches, you will have not only a record of your sketches but a visual diary. When you look at each one, you will find that your memories of the time are clearer and more sensorially detailed. You will remember events better than if you were reminiscing or just looking at a photo. 

Persons who have made a regular practice of sketching have claimed that it has helped them to overcome depression and grief from the death of a loved one, or even postpartum depression. It is said to help you to reengage in life and be appreciative of the small things.

You might find that there are local groups of sketchers that you can join and go on outings with.There are many groups online that are devoted to sketching and sub-genres of sketching such as nature sketching, urban sketching, or art journaling. Some have pages on social media that you can join and post your work and you can also view sketches from others all over the world.

 Some online groups also plan "sketch crawls" (meet-ups) in various cities and are open to anyone who wants to participate. One of the most popular of these is the which has an easy-to-join page on a popular social media site.

A Few Caveats

Since clinical depression is a complicated condition involving mental, emotional, and physical processes, you will want to contact a professional for counseling therapy and medication.

If you plan to post your sketches online, you may get a lot of positive attention or you may not. You should not take a lack of "likes" or positive commentary to mean that your sketches/doodles are worthless. It's a simple fact of life that people who have been doing it for a long time get more attention since they have already made friends and other regulars are more comfortable conversing with them. You will find sketching more satisfying if you do it to please yourself. If anyone else likes what you do, it is more therapeutic to view that as a bonus.

For a counseling center, contact a company such as Dr Kuris Counseling Centers.