How to Reduce Stress with Photography

Hanoi, 2016
Hanoi, 2016

The point of a lot of modern religion, spirituality, and art is to relieve suffering— rather than adding complication and stress to our life.

Many of us started photography just for fun. Then we learn about the gear. Then we learn about social media. Then photography no longer becomes fun. Rather, photography becomes a competition — seeing who can get the most “likes” and the most “followers.” To see who has the biggest lens, or the fanciest camera.

Do we photograph for the sake of photographing? Or do we photograph to please others?

Do we please ourself with our photography?

What is our goal with photography? To become more courageous, less stressed, and more creative?

Does photography add complication to our lives, or does photography relieve stress, burden, and anxiety from our lives?

Photography as self-therapy

The more I think about it — photography should be used as a psychological tool for us to relieve stress, anxiety, and frustration in our life.

For me personally, I use photography as a tool to quiet my mind. When I’m shooting, I lose sense of self. I no longer hear the loud voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough, that I’m not earning more money, or that I might fail.

I use photography as a way to relieve my personal suffering. To find more gratitude in everyday life. To find more happiness in the small moments. To find beauty in the smallest thing.

I use photography to help me become more courageous. To connect more with other human beings. To share the beauty in the world, and to help me find more satisfaction in life.

How to relieve your stress with photography

Hanoi, 2016
Hanoi, 2016

“Suffering” sounds a bit over-dramatic. Perhaps a better modern word should be “stress.”

We can all identify with being stressed out, busy, and anxious. Here are some tips to relieve your stress in your photography:

1. Only photograph when you feel like it:

Don’t force yourself to photograph when you don’t want to. Your photography should be fun, natural, and spontaneous. If you’re not shooting for fun, what are you shooting for?

2. Photography isn’t the goal:

I feel the point of photography is to help us have a good life — rather than the purpose of life to be a good photographer. What comes first, your photography or personal well-being?

3. Don’t compare yourself with others:

Don’t see photography as a competition, but a form of self-meditation. If you find yourself competing with other photographers, take a momentary break from social media. Sign out of all your social media platforms on your computer browser, uninstall all social media apps from your phone, and don’t upload any of your photos online for a month. See if your photos are bringing you personal satisfaction.

I have great faith in you. Always be strong, patient, and shoot for yourself.


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