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How Photography Found Me Happiness

How Photography Found Me Happiness

There are so many reasons to be happy, and people who generally aren’t can list the reasons to be happy every day, yet they still don’t feel it inside. But we all know sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to elevate our mood in anyway. I was there once, in a dark place. Every day was a struggle and my friends noticed it, one day a friend asked me if I had any hobbies. Sure I did; I liked reading, watching movies, cooking…eating. Apparently these aren’t real hobbies my friend explained, apart from cooking. It was suggested that I found a hobby that would take me outside, a hobby that I actually made time for.

I started running. Not away from things, but as a hobby. I couldn’t think of anything else that interested me. It was on my first run in the park that I came across a young man taking pictures on a pretty neat looking digital camera. He looked quite ecstatic with his pictures.  I stopped to see exactly what it was that he was photographing. On the top branch of a tree was the most beautiful bird I had ever seen (in Shanghai), it was just perched with its wings tucked looking out. The young man continued taking a picture then looking at his camera to see his shot, I was intrigued. The bird soon flew away and I approached the young man to ask if I could see the pictures he took.

They were fantastic, even more vibrant and beautiful that the real thing. We began chatting about photography (though I didn’t have much to contribute), long story short, it sounded like digital photography was an awesome hobby, and one that anyone could just pick up and try. I decided to jog back home and began reading some digital camera reviews. As a complete beginner I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for but I wanted a compact digital camera, which could shoot HD video. After long consideration and reading many reviews I purchased the YI M1 mirrorless camera, it seemed a good match for me.

Already I felt a bit excited (but I’m guessing that was good old fashioned retail therapy), as soon as it arrived I didn’t waste any time, I took my camera and left the house! Being a complete beginner I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but that didn’t matter, it already felt good just being outside. From that first day I took the camera out, I began seeing the world in a different light, and approaching life in a different way. Instead of catching the nearest metro I started walking to another station further away, with the thought that if I didn’t then I’d miss a great photo opportunity.

We all know physical exercise is excellent for well-being but it’s finding the motivation that is difficult, but taking up photography as a hobby makes it hell of a lot easier to just get up and go! What else is good for happiness? Vitamin D! Where can we find this? Outside!

Every weekend I found myself walking for hours, taking pictures, enjoying the outdoors and socializing more. Instead of sitting at home on a Saturday I would be outside, even when the weather was terrible, it didn’t stop me, I still found beauty somewhere and captured it. Any opportunity to take a good photo I jumped at it. If my friends told me they were going away for the weekend, I didn’t think twice before inviting myself, because it was just a new environment for me to explore and photograph.

And now three years on I’m still snapping, I still make the time to photograph, and I’m exploring the world more and seeing everything in a different way, a more beautiful way. It’s done only great things for my well-being, I transformed from a hermit to a butterfly and I spend more time outside than I ever used to, and I’m always planning my next scenic holiday!

So what are you waiting for? Happiness is just a shutter snap away! Even if it doesn’t transform you, it certainly won’t do any harm.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.