I love photography.
There, I said. Ahhh, I feel so much better getting that off my chest. There are so many therapeutic benefits of photography, and today I feel inspired to share them with you.
Photography can lift our spirits, change our mood and help us to look beyond the gloom that life can sometimes throw at us.
Now, let’s be clear. I am a photographer, not a doctor. Don’t stop taking any medications, or use photography to replace a regimented healing process implemented by your doctor.
Instead, use it to augment therapeutic strategies already working in your life. If you’ll do this, you will have one more weapon in your arsenal to attack a gloomy day.
Dont’ stress about the camera.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need expensive camera equipment to take beautiful pictures. Most cell phones have the power to create incredible awesome images.
In fact, take a look at these few examples below. All created with my cell phone.
These first two were from a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. Left the camera in the car, and simply used my cell phone.
This next one makes me smile.
My son was getting ready for school and was admiring himself as he combed his hair. He was talking about how he had invented this hairdo and now everyone at school wears their hair like this. It brought such a smile to my face, how could I not document it?
Dirty mirror and you can see me holding the phone right behind his arm. Not perfect, but this image brings me joy.
Tiny cell phone cameras allow you to take, edit, and share beautiful images within seconds.
Don’t let the lack of having a nice camera stand in your way, get out your cell phone and get busy taking pictures.
OK, so let’s get to my list!
7 Thereputic benefits of Photography.
1. The Act of Creating.
The simple act of creation is important in helping us as humans feel fulfilled. When a child finishes a drawing that may not be the masterpiece he or she thinks it is, they beam with pride as praise is showered down upon them.
This excitement to create is something all of us share, young or old, male or female.
Your perceived level of creativity doesn’t matter either. It is the act of doing that counts.
“Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties.” –Gail Sheehy
There is risk and excitement in just letting go and trying something new. This act can help lift the spirit and engage the mind. This is why the simple act of creating is one of the therapeutic benefits of photography.
2. Motivation to get outside
So much good comes by simply getting outside into the fresh air. Movement, sunlight, fresh air all contribute to lifting your mood.
For me, a good stroll through the neighborhood on a photo expedition does so much for my mind and spirit.
Don’t feel like you have to go far on this journey, just down the street is good enough. As you walk familiar paths with your mind focused on photography, new things will catch your eye and speak to your mind.
You’ll find yourself discovering a fresh new vision and perspective on a street or area that you have passed through many times.
If you’re like me, exercise for the sake of exercise is just not that fun. Give me an activity or task while exercising, and it becomes the motivation I need to get out there.
Photography requires moving around to find the perfect subject and frame the perfect image. This movement, as simple as a photo stroll, or the act of getting on the ground for just the right angle, helps get you out into the world and active.
There are so many health benefits that can be gained by simply walking 30 minutes every day.
In a recent article, Prevention magazine listed, improved mood, increased creativity and lower risk of chronic disease as just a few of the benefits of walking 30 minutes a day.
Not to mention weight loss, which seems to plague everyone’s mind these days.
Interestingly, the article quotes a Stanford study that found walking for 30 minutes increases creative thinking.
While creative thinking is perfect for photo strolls, it can also be beneficial when pondering on some of the issues that come up in life.
“A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.” -2014 Stanford Study
4. Finding beauty in the world
Often, as life marches on, we struggle to see the good that exists in our lives and in the world around us. Life is filled with endless routines that can sometimes leave us feeling tied down and helpless.
At these moments things that once brought us joy, can simply become duties to take care of and tasks to accomplish.
Using a camera to find beauty in the things and people around us, helps us to see things in a different light. Inspires us to try and capture the beauty that exists everywhere.
Rena Effendi, a photographer whose photographic works have appeared in National Geographic and Time was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, but grew up in the USSR amid desperate conditions as her country fought for independence.
Through all of this, photography helped her to see beauty in the world around us.
“In a way, I found the beauty in my own reality through photography.” -Rena Effendi
We too can find beauty in our lives through photography. From the simpleness of everyday objects around us to the craziness of our children who bring us joy yet drive us crazy.
A wonderful therapeutic benefit of photography, is that it can help you to see beauty again in the world if you’ll only just look.
5. Photography is an act of self-reflection and expression.
Some of the best cognitive exercises involve introspection. Understanding ourselves helps us begin to know how we fit in with the world around us. Imagine finding a way to express yourself without the discomfort that words can sometimes bring.
Photography can become a non-verbal source of communication to share with the world your thoughts and feelings.
A wonderful way to experience this is to visit a place that is meaningful to you in your life. The home you grew up in, a church or temple that holds meaning in your heart, an amusement park where you’d spend hours as a child; go there and document through photography things that are meaningful.
By doing this, you will reawaken those feelings that may be buried beneath the surface, and you will find joy in that again.
6. Sharing photo’s brings positive social interaction.
These days, the options to share your photography are endless. Whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you have the opportunity share your images every day.
Sometimes as we go through life, we forget that there are people all around us who are willing to give us love and support, even if it is as simple as a like or a comment on a photograph we post.
These little boosts of confidence can be just what is needed to help lift our mood and lighten our spirits.
If you’re seeking social interaction or finding like-minded people, there are photography groups and clubs everywhere. These groups are available both in person and online through Facebook groups and forums.
Often these groups will have photography meetups where you can come together to shoot pictures and learn from one another. A great opportunity to meet new people and socialize.
Interested in finding a group near you? I would begin by searching on Facebook for your city or state name and the term, “photography group”. You should be able to find several pretty quickly.
Below is a screenshot from my Instagram feed. I loooove getting hearts and comments. In fact, head over there to like and comment. 🙂
7. Photo’s from the past bring cherished memories.
As a photographer of people, I love seeing the images I took many years ago and having the opportunity to see how much my clients have changed.
In those images, that exact moment in time was frozen, only to be returned to through photography.
The images you take now will freeze moments that you can look on later in life and reflect fondly upon.
A great way to lift your mood can be to take a walk down memory lane. Get out old pictures or scrapbooks.
Have you ever used Google image search to search for images from your town or state from years ago? It can be so much fun.
There are so many wonderful things that photography can provide. For me, it has provided my full income for over fifteen years now, something for which I am forever grateful.
But it can provide so much more. Even if you never plan to become a profession photographer, photography can bless and change your life in so many ways. So don’t wait, get out and start shooting today!