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Finding your Zen through Lines, Shapes and Repetition Self-care & Mindfulness

Setting aside 5 minutes in your day to only think about yourself and what your body, mind and heart need seems to be one of the most difficult tasks to complete. Especially as a parent or working individual, your life and way of thinking tends to revolve around what others need from you or can take from you. While giving and being gracious are important and admirable, taking some time and giving back to yourself can only benefit you in the long run, re-charge your mental game, and renew your energy. Challenge yourself and think back to the last time you were able to take 5 minutes to only meditate on you…most likely this task will be very difficult as your life is consumed by providing and meeting everyone in your home-life and work-life's needs. Challenge yourself again, reflect now on what you need in this very moment to renew your mind and heart. It is hard and may even feel a little selfish but in all truth you are doing good for your body and brain to pause, reflect, and renew. When your brain and heart are fried from all the giving, reactivity or a less controlled way of thinking will most certainly be the result.

Zentangles are a form of structured doodling that can allow for meditation and opportunity to focus on you. When you think of doodling, most often boredom or unawareness comes to mind. It seems like a purposeless drawing however, it is actually doing work for your brain. You are actively refreshing your thinking and allowing your brain to recharge. According to the Harvard Health Blog through the Harvard Medical School, research as shown that doodling can enhance memory retention, stimulate focus and even relieve psychological distress (Pillay, Harvard Health Publishing). Providing constant attention “places a strain on the brain, and doodling may be just the break you brain needs to keep attending without losing total interest” (Pillay, Harvard Health Publishing). So often we disregard the unconscious choices we make such as doodling however take the time next

Zentangles are a form of mindful drawing that is a purposeful act but can provide the same experience as seated meditation. It is a break for your brain and can allow for stress relief and relaxation. Creating zentangles can be a drawing that you do over time and provide may be only 5 minutes of adding to your piece. Hopefully, you can escape for more but 5 minutes is all you need to recharge your brain and get refocused. Below are some images of examples of zentangles however the zentangle can be whatever type of doodle holds a therapeutic and mindful nature for you.

1. Start with a square piece of paper.


2. Draw various lines around and across the page that always come to end and close off a space creating areas and shapes of negative space.

draw lines

3. Choose your first shape and begin filling in with a repetitive pattern whether that may be dots, lines, smaller shapes, shading in and so on.


4. Continue into the other shapes/areas with different patterns in each one.

The finished product can create quite a beautiful, detailed and ornate drawing you did yourself as well providing a mindful and relaxing process.

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