Mindfulness is a way of life, which dates back thousands of years. Research shows people who practise mindfulness can experience lower levels of perceived stress, depression and anxiety.
So, how can we use it in photography?
Mindfulness is about bringing your awareness to the present moment, and immersing yourself in the experience of being where you are right now. Taking a photograph is a great way to capture that moment, and also keep your attention focused, rather than it drifting in to the past, or lurching in to the future. It’s not just concentration, it’s a form of kindness towards yourself and your environment, that promotes relaxation and helps to manage the mind.
One of the ways you can use mindfulness in photography is deciding on a ‘theme’ before you take your photo – for example, noticing a specific colour or texture.
Here’s something you can try:
Before taking your photograph, spend a few moments settling in to your environment. Notice the sounds where you are, acknowledging and accepting them as part of where you are right now. There are no ‘right’ sounds or ‘wrong’ sounds – there are just sounds. As these sounds come in to your awareness, label them for what they are – ‘sound’.
Then turn your attention gently towards your breath, and spend a few moments in conscious awareness of how your body breathes. Try not to get caught up in thoughts about how fast or how slow, how deep or how shallow your breathing is – just notice that you’re breathing, observing the flow of air as in moves in and out of your body. When you’re ready, take your photograph. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
You don’t need an expensive camera, your phone can take great mindful photos too.
We have a Made Mindfully™ photography group on Facebook, which picks a theme each month to give you food for thought for taking your mindful photo. You can there share your photos of that theme in a specially created album for others to enjoy. If you’d like to join click here. (There are a few rules, which includes no explicit or offensive content).
You can also subscribe to stay up to date on Made Mindfully™ events in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.
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© Copyright Delphi Ellis – Helping You Sparkle™ 2019