Published on December 28, 2022

Therapeutic Photography for Mental Health

Some people take pictures for money, some do it as a hobby, and some just want to capture important moments. But very few people know that photography can improve our mental health and mood. In today’s article, we will tell you how this effect occurs and how to achieve it. 

If you are interested in photography in general and want to understand it better, you should definitely visit Skylum’s blog. There are many topics there, for example, experts tell you all about apps for a green screen, and how to use them. The blog also has tips on photography, on using photo editors, and many other useful articles for beginners and professionals.

What is therapeutic photography?

Photography is a great therapy for many of us, whether we know it or not. It has many benefits that aid in psychological healing:

  • We can showcase our creativity and discover new facets of ourselves;
  • We have the opportunity to take a break from our daily responsibilities, distract ourselves from our routine;
  • Art reduces stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol;
  • After all, photography is a creative activity that improves our mood.

The advantage of therapeutic photography before is that it is more accessible to people with severe mental disorders. For example, people with depression or anxiety disorders sometimes cannot bring themselves to pick up paint and brushes, despite the fact that art therapy has long been proven to be effective. Taking pictures requires less effort and special skills. It is enough to be curious and interested in new things, and then it is no problem to pick up a camera and shoot, shoot and shoot.

Therapeutic photography can help you struggle with such problems:

  • Depression and anxiety;
  • Traumatic experiences;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Fears and phobias;
  • Stress and lack of concentration;
  • Low motivation.

Therapeutic photography is not only for those facing mental health problems. Practices of this kind prevent mental illness and improve the quality of life in general. For example, regular photography practices help us master self-expression and, as a result, they make us more comfortable with others and increase our psychological resilience.

Taking pictures requires less effort and special skills. When you start to get more serious you can invest in photography equipment. For beginners, it is enough to be curious and interested in new things.

Best photography self-therapy ideas

Therapeutic photography is a preventive practice. You can do it yourself if you realize that you are facing stress and difficult situations in your life. If necessary, a psychologist or psychotherapist conducts the therapy. We will tell you about the best methods you can do on your own.

Take pictures when something annoys you

Is there a person or situation that annoys you? Why not pick up a camera instead of being nervous? Pick up your smartphone or camera and try to take a picture that conveys your state of mind. Aim for it to absorb all your thoughts. This will give you the opportunity to distract yourself and shift your attention to other thoughts.

Take selfies every day

Self-portraits can be very helpful because it boosts our self-esteem. This is especially true if we take a more creative and artistic approach to reflect how we perceive ourselves. Selfies help us better accept and care about ourselves and get to know ourselves better. In the long run, selfies can be a tool to explore how you change each day. Try making a habit of taking them once a day for at least two weeks. You’ll see the metamorphosis that happens to you, and you can learn a lot about yourself.

Express your feelings with a picture

This may be the most important way that photography can help with your mental health. Try thinking about how you can express how you feel and what your experience is through it. You can take self-portraits with props, landscapes, or other people or animals. Eventually, a lifestyle photo is never superfluous, either.

Create your own photo map

Traveling is a very exciting activity. So why not take yourself on a photo journey? You don’t have to go to another country to do it. You can just stroll through the streets of your hometown and take pictures of everything that evoked any emotion in you. Then you should review these photos when you return home. Think back to how you felt. It’s a great way to learn about yourself.

Try combining your picture with a letter

Often psychologists recommend telling your thoughts, feelings, and experiences on paper. Why not combine two useful activities into one? Of course, your creative writing can demonstrate both positive and negative experiences. This is perfectly normal because we all feel different emotions. It can be very difficult to talk about your pictures on paper, but believe me, with time it will become much easier for you to talk and your emotions and not be afraid to show them.

Closing thoughts

Therapeutic photography is available to everyone, regardless of their professional level, equipment, or creativity. You can devote a few minutes a day or several hours to it. Either way, the effect will be positive. Try it, and you’re sure to succeed!

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