How Photography Can Improve Your Mental Health

Improving Your State of Mind Through Photography

We all deal with mental or emotional struggles at one time or another in our lives. Whether it’s stress from work, situational depression or anxiety, or full-on mental illness, it helps to take time to refocus and gain perspective. One tool you can use may be right in your pocket attached to your phone… a camera.

It has been proven time and again that creativity and art therapy are valuable tools for emotional wellness. Photography is one such tool that you can utilize without any training. Modern technology provides easy-to-use options. Now anyone can take photos and just by taking a photo, you are taking a moment to stop and look at your environment through a new lens. This moment can be the moment that changes your day from a negative to a positive or at least gives you a momentary distraction and calm.

Even in the dullest and darkest of winter days there is always something interesting to be found to photograph, be it the frost on the trees, the light peaking behind the clouds , the colour amongst the grey or the mushrooms that pop up overnight. Take the time to really see what is there and you will be surprised what you find.

This is just a few of the ways that photography can be therapeutically beneficial:

  • motivation to get outside and connect with nature
  • provides a shift in perspective – you are literally through a different lens seeing the world differently
  • you start searching for and finding beauty in your everyday
  • it is a form of communication and a powerful form of self expression
  • photography can be very social and can lead to positive feedback from others

Some of the Ways Photography Can Improve Your Life :

  1. It can make you Happier- yes it’s true studies have shown that listening to music or watching tv can increase your mood by 1% but photography came in at 11%! Not only that it can also be very satisfying which is a great confidence booster.
  2. It opens your eyes and your mind, when you start to look for subject matter and light you start to see things differently, you see beauty in the most unusual places.
  3. It connects you with others, you do not have to be taking portraits either. I cannot count the number of times I have been taking pictures out on a walk and people have stopped to talk to me about what I am taking pictures of. Also by sharing my images on social media even my silly ones or baking disasters people love to comment and share.
  4. It helps preserve special moments, how else would we remember everything and everyone in our lives. That friend in primary school who you spend every waking moment with but lost touch with in high school or families heritage, grandparents that have long passed, nothing preserves those moments or connects us to our past like photography.
  5. It enhances our life activities, the beauty of photography is it can be done with almost any activity and can actually enhance your enjoyment of the activity.
  6. It boosts your confidence- learning anything is a real confidence booster and maybe I am biased but there is something special about photography, especially when you capture a difficult subject or you get a great shot of someone and they love it!

We all have days we feel a little blue and I personally find the best way to get out of that headspace is to put on my walking shoes and take the dog as well as my camera or iPhone out for a walk and just take some fun photographs. Give yourself a project, for example I might say ok today I am only going to photograph things with parallel lines or the colour red or I am looking for patterns or  squares. Have fun with it and enjoy it and you will be surprised what a little photo walk can do for your day!

Peace, love & photography 😃