How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

Over the past week I have noticed in this end of the year period a new Facebook type of post – ‘My Year’. In this post the Facebook friend has selected highlights and photos from the years journey to tell the story of ‘My Year’

I have looked at some of these. One of them tells the story of how a friend was able to have a Kidney Transplant. This was a joyous occasion for him, his family and our Church family. Looking at the photos my mind was immediately jogged back to the time I heard the great news.

Photos have a way of doing this.

I remember as a child we used to get our holiday snaps put on to little slides. Dad would borrow the slide projector from Church and a sheet would be pinned to the wall. Then for the next hour or two we would look at family photos of being at the beach or exploring the Waitomo caves.

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

Photo Credit: Jason B. via Compfight cc

Images transport us out of the now, into the past, then influence our present.

 

An Occupational Therapist once told me about the importance of photos for the recovery from Mental Illness. Images of celebrations, activities, friends, family all combine to taking the mind out of the present struggle and into a time where things were different.

Photos also tell us that life is a journey. That we aren’t stuck in one place. That change happens over the years.
That some of those experiences that we enjoyed back then can be repeated. That walk on the beach was great and can be done again today. That we are not stuck in this moment and that we can choose to make those moments again.

When you have a mental illness you can so often live in the here and now. The focus of the thoughts is the present issues faced. Progress is not accounted for and you can become bogged down and stuck in the moment.

It is very easy today to take photos, as virtually everyone with a phone has a camera built in. The best phone is the one in your pocket. You now have a camera immediately available to capture experiences.

A photo tells me that the feelings experienced at that time can be repeated because they did actually happen.

What photos should you take

  • Challenges overcome
  • Events
  • Goals reached
  • People special to you
  • Results
  • Fun times
  • Seasonal activities – the beach, winter fires, spring flowers …
  • Really just about anything

Remember photo record is personal to you. You don’t have to share it with anyone else.

Here are a few of my photos from the year. This year I started a new business and one of my opportunitues was to create a vegetable garden for a school. Come and check out my Gumboot Gardening Facebook page.

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

School Garden September 2014

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

School Garden December 2014

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

Children planting at School Garden

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

Drawf Beans December 2014

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

Our Dog Tyler in my new Truck

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

A weekend in Wellington and the Cable Car

20140823_124108-2-1024x694 How Photos Can Help Your Mental Health

A weekend in Wellington and a Visit to Weta Workshop to make new friends

 

So have you got some great images form the last year?

Barry Pearman

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