Mindful Photography: A Simple and Fun Exercise That Boosts Well-Being

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New positive psychology exercise helps remind you of meaning and value in your life.

The science of happiness has brought us all kinds of fascinating new ideas and techniques for feeling better.

There are now many simple activities that have been proven to increase your well-being, including counting your blessings, spending on experiences not stuff, visualising your best possible self and many more.

Here’s another to add to the list.

It’s based on the idea that happiness is boosted by being grateful for what you have.

Unfortunately we often ignore what we have in the rush through everyday life.

One way of combating this is to take photographs of whatever is important to you as a reminder. Here are the instructions for ‘mindful photography‘, by positive psychology experts Jamie Kurtz and Sonia Lyubomirsky:

“Throughout the course of the day today, you will take photographs of your everyday life. […] think about the things in your life that are central to who you are. If you wanted someone to understand you and what you most care about, how would you capture this? While this is highly personal, some examples might include sports equipment [or] a memento from a favorite time spent with your romantic partner [..]. Have your camera or camera phone handy and take at least 5 photographs of these things today.”

Since camera phones are so ubiquitous now, people have the tendency to take photos of anything and everything. Choosing about five things, though, will help you resist that impulse and focus in on what’s important and what you have to be grateful for:

“We believe mindful photography to be effective because it helps people examine their everyday lives in a way that they normally do not – namely, through the lens of a camera, with an eye out for beauty, meaning, and value.”

Image credit: Zuhair Ahmad

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About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 11 July 2013

Text: © All rights reserved.

Images: Creative Commons License