When you look at a photograph, what do you see?
Pictures have the unique ability to say the words left unspoken, and taking them can be beneficial for your mental health. Even parents on a busy schedule can benefit from snapping a few photos each day to relax. Hobbies offer the opportunity to enhance your life in ways you’ve never imagined.
Keep reading to discover six ways photography can help your mental health.
1. Express Yourself
Humans tend to bottle up their emotions and lock them deep within. Unfortunately, burying your feelings does not make them disappear. Over time, these feelings influence your mental health, affecting your emotional, psychological and social well-being. Break the habit by choosing an activity that allows you to express yourself, like photography.
Taking photos — whether on your phone or camera — is a form of artistic expression. The lighting, angles and perspective influence the photo’s depth and show a unique point of view. You have the chance to show the world through your eyes, using the images you capture. Methods of self-expression allow you to channel your thoughts in a healthy and constructive manner — leaving you feeling more at peace.
2. Encourage Mindfulness
As a busy parent, how often do you have time to practice mindfulness and reflection? Photography encourages mindfulness because it forces you to be still. In many ways, it is a form of meditation. When you’re mindful, you allow your body to relax and decompress. You’ll experience a reduction of stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Few things can benefit your mental health, like taking a break from overthinking. Parents are constantly using their minds to plan, problem-solve or daydream — so it’s crucial to find time to center yourself. As you look through a camera lens, your thoughts focus on completing that single task. In a world full of distractions, finding calmness is something you should cherish.
3. Try New Things
Taking photos encourages you to get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ll set goals to visit new locations or try unique mediums. Many people decide to learn traditional styles of photography like tintypes, cabinet cards or film.
In life, sometimes you need an extra push to try new things. By doing so, you experience the opportunity to find hidden passions and gain priceless memories. Scientifically, learning a skill creates new connections between brain cells and physically alters the availability of neurotransmitters.
Photography is a skill you can teach yourself, so after weeks of taking pictures, you’ll feel confident and proud of your accomplishments. By continually trying something new, you are overcoming your fears and sparking internal creativity.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
Landscapes and nature are popular photography muses. It makes sense since there’s an abundant amount of natural beauty on the planet. As such, any photography hobbyist may likely venture outdoors at some time or another.
Spending time outdoors is a pivotal part of your mental and physical health. On average, Americans spend 87% of their time indoors inside enclosed spaces. This startling number is concerning because indoor pollutants and a sedentary lifestyle can have massive impacts on a person’s well-being. In comparison, time spent outdoors can decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.
Additional outdoor benefits include:
- Increased concentration
- Improved eye development in children
- Rising vitamin D levels
- Faster health recovery
5. Reshape Your Perspective
Looking at the universe through a camera lens can be a great way to reshape your perspective. In a society that prioritizes technology and online communication, it’s easy to feel closed off from the outside world. Over time, your views on specific topics begin to solidify. Photography is one way to break down those barriers.
As you snap photos, you might begin to question your ways of thinking and even your lifestyle. For example, outdoor photographers are likely to notice the pollution caused by humans. As a result, they may choose to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. You’ll only begin to experience these shifts in perspective if you pick up your camera and get started.
6. Focus on Relaxing Topics
When life is getting hectic, it’s nice to take a break and focus on relaxing topics. With your trusty phone or camera, you can capture beautiful sunsets, stunning architecture and unusual people — whatever sparks your interest.
Relaxation helps to reduce anger and frustration while improving concentration. You will physically feel yourself calming down, which will reduce fatigue symptoms, muscle tension, and chronic pain. As you feel better physically, your confidence will grow, and you’ll begin to feel better mentally.
Grab Your Camera
After learning about these six surprising benefits of photography, it’s time to grab your camera. Everyone needs an outlet to express themselves and find a sense of purpose. With such a unique hobby, you’ll be able to look at the world from a different perspective and cherish a sense of quiet and peace in your life.
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