Snap Happy

Sarah Walinski-Kiehl

October 26, 2021


Like for so many others over the past eighteen months, life hasn’t been easy.  Lockdowns, ill health and anxiety have all played their part and impacted on my ability to get out of the house, despite me craving the great outdoors.

However, I love exploring new places, so when restrictions eased, my health improved and I was eventually able to overcome my anxieties, I went for a day trip out to an abandoned medieval village.  Although there were so many worries going through my head on the journey, when I arrived at this deserted place, I was just so keen to get my phone out and take some pictures that it completely took my mind away from all my earlier worries.  With all the different buildings, views and angles, the snaps just kept coming and I spent well over an hour involved in activity that I’d never really had much interest in before.

A couple of weeks later my partner surprised me with a gift; a reconditioned DSLR camera. He said that he had noticed just how much taking photos of the medieval village had changed my mood and mindset.  Since then I have been on quite a few day trips and my camera has always come with me. When I’m not taking photographs, I am thinking about what would make a good picture and I’m constantly on the lookout for good photo opportunities. I am most definitely an amateur, demonstrated in one of my first photos taken with the DSLR camera…..of flying birds in case you were wondering!  (in my defence it’s much easier on a phone!)…

Fortunately, I am making some progress now…                         

For me, the enjoyment comes not from taking an amazing, award winning photograph (although any tips are welcome), it’s about taking my mind off how I’m feeling and away from my worrying thoughts.  I have previously always thought of mindfulness and mindful activity as being about breathing exercises and focusing on something as a distraction, but I now believe it is much more than that.  It is a way to refocus my thoughts and give my racing mind a well-deserved break.  My worries haven’t completely disappeared and I don’t think they ever will, but when I’m behind the lens or looking for photo opportunities my anxiety lessens and is not all consuming.

For anyone who is an over-thinker or a worrier and believes they’re never going to escape the prison of their thoughts, then I do believe that mindful activities can help.  I’m not suggesting you all go out and buy a DSLR camera, or even start taking photos; we all have different interests after all. I am simply sharing my own experience as one worrier to another. Here’s a link about mindfulness for anyone who is interested in knowing more

If the above sounds like you, we do offer courses that you may find of benefit: Mindfulness, Quiet the Mind: the practice of meditation, Weaving for Wellbeing and Drawing Mandalas, all of which incorporate mindful activities so that all you over-thinkers out there can find a way to give your mind a much-needed break.

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