Hello and welcome back to Hobbies that calm you down. In our last episode we talked about origami or the art of folding paper (you haven’t seen that one already go back and check it out). In today’s episode we’re going to be talking about a hobby that involves (for the most part) going outside. This episode is going to be all about photography.
Okay so first off, what is Photography? Well basically, photography is the art of taking and processing pictures, you probably already knew that. So how can taking pictures relieve stress? It has more to do with the creative side of things than anything else. It’s a proven fact that creative hobbies like painting, crafting and of course photography, are good ways to help manage stress levels. The Boston Globe wrote an article about it on their website; click here if you want to check it out. But the creativity isn’t all; there are other parts to it that help to manage stress.
Focus (and I don’t mean camera focus)
When you’re taking pictures you start to look around your environment trying to figure out what would make a good picture, is that too bright, if that wasn’t there this would make a good picture, that cat looks kind of cute. And even when you find something you concentrate and make sure everything is perfect, is this a good angle, the lighting is a bit low, I wish that cat would stand still for a second. In other words, you focus so much on your pictures, you don’t think about anything else, not even things that stress you out, and no stressful thoughts = no stress, right? (Flawless logic).
A lot of work, aka working out
Photography involves not just mental activity, but a lot of physical activity as well. Professional and amateur photographers tend to have a lot of equipment (tripods, monopods, lights, lenses etc.) that they lug around all over the place. Even people who don’t have all this equipment and just like to photograph casually tend to walk around a lot, especially if they do nature or even urban photography. When you do any kind of exercise, your body releases a hormone called endorphins, which is nature’s default feel good hormone, so when you are walking around or lugging your equipment trying to find that perfect spot for that perfect picture, your body will release endorphins and you’ll feel good, which obviously, helps you get rid of stress. I talked about this (exercise and stress) in one of my previous posts, go and check it out if you haven’t already.
One of the more obvious things which really help you de-stress when doing photography, is the sense of satisfaction you get once you got that perfect picture. There’s nothing better than seeing all the hard work you put into something finally paying off. And then of course, there is the high of self-gratification when you show off your perfect picture to your friends, whether it be in person or through the internet. Getting praise for something you’ve done always feels nice.
So the next time you feel stress and anxieties sinking their nails into you, try out some photography. Even if you don’t have a camera you can still do it, that’s the miracle of smart phones after all (they’re not just for taking selfies). You can just go out with your smart phone and take pictures with that. I do it all the time, sure they’re not professional pictures, but they don’t have to be, they just have to look good to you. Besides, if everyone were a professional photographer, there wouldn’t be any professional photographers. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, go on out there and click away!