According to the mental health charity, MIND, one in four people in the UK suffer from mental health problems. That’s a staggering and dreadful statistic. At a time when we are all stuck in the house isolating ourselves from this horrible virus, perhaps it is a good moment to concentrate on our state of mind. Think too of our friends, family and even strangers and how we can help them.
Did you know that photography can help with repairing the mind? Depression and other mental illnesses often result from a chemical imbalance in the brain. That imbalance can be caused by life’s accidental events, because of others’ behaviour, or because of medical reasons reason.
Photography can help change that imbalance. I am not suggesting it is a cure. But it is an extra tool that one can use to improve the way we think. Many of my course clients say that photography really helps them improve their mood.
Photography can tick all the boxes for improving mental health. Distraction is an important technique for treating many mental illnesses. Concentrating on something, especially an art form, moves the mind away from thinking the negative thoughts that feed depression and stress. Photography also gets us outside and interacting with others. We learn new skills too. Also, and importantly, we become creative. Because of these factors, we get a sense of achievement. Consequently, it all helps lift us out of the blackness.
One of the reasons I set up the Northumberland Camera Club was to create a friendly hub where people could encourage one another in their art. It was partly a reaction to the negativity and meanness that seems to fester in a lot of online forums, and indeed in some camera clubs. It’s only rule is to be “fantastic, friendly and helpful”. As a result, many people have contacted me to say thanks for the friendly environment of the group. It’s good to see that #BeKind now coming to the fore online.
You are welcome to join us there.
Lots of folk suffer from social isolation anyway. Loneliness is a barrier to well-being and this is exacerbated by the current requirement for us all to self-isolate.
Despite coronavirus, photography is still possible. We can shoot around the house, in the garden and even take our camera with us on our daily walk if we are allowed out.
Do think about the type of photos you take. Do they have a positive effect on others when you post them? If you do put a picture online, add some kind words with it, perhaps include an uplifting poem that relates to it.
Also, make encouraging comments about other people’s photos. Then, ask them how they are doing. It’s something small that makes a big difference.
This is the first time in history when we have had the ability to interact with others in a way that has never been possible before. Social media and the proliferation of photography has changed for the better our ability to both cope and help others in these trying circumstances we find ourselves in. Of course, this is so long as we all interact with friendliness and consideration to one another.
So, use your photos and social media to #BeKind. It might make a big difference to someone else’s life.
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