What do you do when you want to escape the daily grind of modern day life? Do you look for ways to get away from it all while stimulating yourself mentally? Do you see things, objects, people, and situations that you would like to capture in your mind’s eye, but then it all fades away when you get caught up in daily living?
One way to achieve this is to take up a hobby that helps you relax while capturing the beauty around you, and that is photography. It offers you mental stimulation, destresses you and gets your creative juices flowing.
When you tap into your creativity, you unknowingly trigger a stream of benefits for your mental health, such as:
- A reduction in depressive symptoms
- An increase in positive emotions
- A reduction of anxiety and stress
- Boosting the immune system
- Improvement in focus and concentration
- Increased sense of accomplishment
- Improved self-esteem
- Increase that feel-good feeling and levels of happiness
When you’re involved in a creative activity, your brain releases dopamine – a natural anti-depressant. You’re mindful and focused on the job-at-hand, in a disciplined manner. You tend to forget your problems. And this induces a sense of calm that affects your mental, and hence, physical well-being.
And the best thing about photography these days, is that you don’t need expensive gear, technical knowledge, or loads of free time. Photography is something you can indulge in at any time of day, and whenever you have a moment to spare.
Benefits of photography as a hobby
Actually, positive psychology today, advocates the benefits of photography as more than just a hobby. This aspect has even been addressed by Hollywood, in the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It’s the story of a famous photojournalist and his timid assistant (a daydreamer) who is transformed when he watches his boss capture the vision of a snow leopard, in the Himalayas. He recognizes what his boss has to say: be fully in the moment, here-and-now. *
Some of the most basic benefits of taking up photography as a hobby, include:
- Forges neural connections and awakens new pathways in your brain
- Makes the creativity in your right brain work in tandem with your logical left brain when you create compositions along with working out angles and apertures
- You get to interact with people from all walks of life, especially if you like doing portraits
- Learning to take good photographs teaches you to pay attention to details, appreciate the play of light and shade, respond to the drama of lines, textures and colors, brings out your creativity and stimulates you mentally.
- It transforms your perception of the world, the way you look at people and things, and helps you recognize the magic in the world around you.
Watch and learn
Photography as a hobby will open your eyes and expand your horizons. You will notice things you never did before, or you will now perceive them in a totally different light. You don’t have to be a professional, you don’t even have to be trained. Just grab your camera, or your smartphone, and sally forth.
Thanks to technology today, you have so many options, ranging from digital single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) to automatic point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones. Unlike the old days, you don’t need rolls of film or processing labs. You only need to open your eyes and look at the world around you.
Photography can take you out of your world, and it’s associated stress, and transport you to a different world. You will get to spend more time outdoors, with different people who are not from your world. You will live their experiences, their moments of joy and sorrow. You will forget your own problems, or perceive them differently. You will realize that there is a whole new world out there for you to discover.
Try to capture images that fill you with wonder or bring you joy. Feel those endorphins kick in. Freeze those moments in time for posterity. Whether you want to shoot portraits or landscapes or still life makes no difference – just concentrate and capture each moment.
Look at the world around you with new eyes. A radiant sunrise…a dazzling sunset…skyscrapers in perspective…winding country roads…dramatic shadows…the network of wrinkles on an old man’s face…the innocence in a child’s eyes…autumn colors…the beginning of spring…and you will never be the same again.
Photography is a great form of therapy – mental and physical. You won’t need a doctor – just harness your imagination and creativity. And the desire to experience a new world of satisfaction and joy.