Day 8: Take a photo of gratitude

Take a fresh look at the people, places and things in your life. Now take a picture. It could be a building you haven’t noticed before, a tree in your yard, children at play, or your pet. Fill out the form below to share your photos with us!

When people talk about life after the pandemic, they often say that they will never take the little things in life for granted again – going to the office, meeting friends for dinner, or just getting their hair cut.

So how do you avoid relapsing into complacency? A few studies offer simple ways to continue to appreciate the world around you.

When we make an effort to notice our surroundings or show our appreciation for the people, places or things that make us happy, this is called “savoring”. Scientists know that enjoying exercise can lead to significant gains in overall happiness and well-being.

A small study has found that mindful photography can be a fun and easy way to savor everyday experiences and cultivate gratitude. For the research, students were asked to take pictures of things that brought them joy or that seemed meaningful to them. They were also told not to rush and think about the project. During the study, the students used their phone’s camera to take pictures of campus buildings, flowers in bloom, friends hanging out in the quad, or objects in their dorms.

Overall, students who took attentive photos felt happier and more grateful for college life compared to a control group who took photos of uninteresting things like bicycle racks. And researchers found that mindful photography worked just as well in improving well-being as a traditional gratitude journaling practice.

“We have cameras with us all the time, and we often take pictures in the usual way without much intention,” said Jaime Kurtz, professor of psychology at James Madison University who conducted the research. “Conscious photography is all about slowing down. It’s not just about taking silly photos. It’s keeping an eye out for something that’s beautiful or meaningful to you. “

The study can be especially useful for people who dislike writing in a gratitude journal but enjoy taking pictures. Studies show that people who practice gratitude get Better sleep and to have higher levels of happiness. less health problems and less depression.

Dr Kurtz noted that people should be careful not to take too many gratitude photos in one frame. It can take you “out of the moment because you take so many pictures, you don’t look around anymore,” she says.

Similar research has focused on cultivating feelings of awe by consciously noticing a larger world around you, such as a breathtaking sunset or a picturesque landscape. Although it can be difficult to define “fear”, emotion is generally described as the feeling that you are in the presence of something bigger and more consequent than yourself. This is the sensation you get when you see the Grand Canyon or trees covered with fresh cherry blossoms. Studies show that when people regularly cultivate a sense of fear, they have lower levels of inflammation and stress, healthier heart rates, higher levels of social well-being, and stronger feelings of connection with life. others.

While early research on wonder focused on exceptional experiences, like whitewater rafting, more recent studies have shown that people can cultivate fear on a daily walk in their local environment. In a recent study, 52 volunteers were asked to take a 15-minute walk. Half of them received no indication. But the other group was told to cultivate awe by walking around places they had never seen before and taking a fresh look at environments they might have taken for granted in the past.

Overall, the impressed walkers felt happier, less upset, and more socially connected than those in the control group.

“Another way to feel awe is to pay attention to things that are going on in our own life that we might have otherwise missed,” said Craig L. Anderson, postdoctoral researcher in marketing at the University of Washington in Saint-Louis who carried out an “admiring” research. He noted that you can find awe in “the little beauty of our daily experiences that we can be blind to when we rush.”

About Timothy Cheatham

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