Any act I have been able to do that increased my sense of gratitude and well-being, I have done this past couple of years. I am always willing to work on anything to see if I benefit from it…
Taking pictures of my home province every time I went out has greatly helped me feel so much gratitude for the beauty I get to see every day. I knew what was here, the beautiful nature that I knew would help me heal.
It’s the Small Things…
Since coming back home, I have had over 3000 pictures in almost 3 years! My phone was always in my hand and I do post them on Facebook. I have even begun to share some of my pics on one of the groups I joined there full of more nature pictures showcasing this beautiful province!
I love showing off where I live and making connections with other people all around the world who take the time to comment. Other disabled people can’t get out and see what this province has to offer, so I hope by sharing what I take, they get to experience some of the beauty I see, just as I do.
I try to get to places that are hard for me, like the Battery, and go as far as I can, as it is important to me. I get a boost from all I do for myself. Setting goals, no matter how small gives me purpose and something to strive for. Having a purpose, gets me going, as it does for anyone.
I was determined to eliminate the fear they created in my head of retribution for their false allegations. I can go out now with no issues, even in big crowds, and I hold my head high and smile back and give a cheery hello to all I see. I know these people don’t care what some anonymous person says online, they have no reason to care.
Besides, I have come to see over time that by some slim chance someone does see these sites, all they need to do is spend 5 minutes with me to know I am not as they claim in their content.. lol No one is…I can also walk away and ignore such people!
I was so buried in my feelings and such fear, that I couldn’t see straight. I got mired in the Narcissistic traits being shown towards me but with time, distance, therapy, and education, I now see how silly it all is.
These Bullies are not “all-powerful” as they project and cannot force anyone into their way of thinking, no matter how many sites they make nor how many lies they make! These Tenants and their toxic opinions, don’t count in my life.
The picture below is one I took in the Spring and it is very powerful. Reminds me of what is important, which is Peace. I get to live out the rest of my Retirement getting to see this view every day!
It is the little things that count the most and taking in the beautiful scenery I live in, has helped to increase my gratitude and mental well-being like no medicine ever could!!
Taking Photos of the Good Increases Gratitude and Well-Being
Remembering why we live in this place.
- It’s easy to become pessimistic about the town in which we live.
- Research shows sharing photos of the lovely and the meaningful increases gratitude and well-being and strengthens connections.
- Gratitude increases well-being.
My wife and I have often told a pretty bleak story about the town in which we live. Common refrains include “There’s nothing to do here”; “It’s too conservative”; and “There’s nowhere good to eat.” Our kids have picked up on this. They share these sentiments with us and their friends as well and have taken it a step further. They have sometimes wondered aloud: “Why do we live somewhere so flat? Why not live where there are mountains, or at least an ocean?”
Most of our friends live outside our town, and we have been gifted with some great ones. Some of our dear friends live in the city, others live outside the state, and some even live in different countries.
One of the ways we’ve learned to connect with our friends is to share photos of our everyday lives. In particular, after recently spending a week with some dear friends from Scotland, we started trading photos back-and-forth as a quick way of staying in touch. After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
We enjoy these friends from Scotland, so much so that we’ve tried to convince them to visit us in our town. Of course, it’s hard to convince someone from another country to visit you in a town you portray so bleakly. So, as we’ve shared photos, we’ve started to make more of an effort to feature locations and happenings in our town we’re pleased with or even proud about.
Turning Perspective to Gratitude
As we do this, we’re slowly coming to a realization: Being intentional about sharing photos of the lovely and the meaningful in our town is turning our attention from what we don’t have to gratitude for what we do.
There’s a small body of research exploring the effects of taking photos on personal well-being. Studies find that taking photos of the good increases positive emotions such as gratitude and overall life satisfaction. When these photos are shared with others, it tends to build connections. Other research shows that the task of taking photos increases engagement in the positive aspects of a situation. Furthermore, feeling grateful is tightly linked with overall happiness.
Sharing photos of the lovely and meaningfulness of our town has helped us remember why we chose to live in this town in the first place. Very few towns the size of ours have the trails we do, giving us access to three beautiful rivers. There’s a charming vineyard on the outskirts of town that produces the area’s best wine and that features sangria and jazz every Sunday during the summer. We live on a quiet and safe street where we can sit at the end of a long day, kick up our feet, and enjoy each other’s company. In the winter, we have access to some of the region’s best winter adventures, such as skiing and snowshoeing. The list goes on and on.
Breaking Out of Pessimism
But, we couldn’t appreciate these good things until we started being intentional about taking and sharing photos with our friends. We needed an intentional activity to break us out of our pessimism.
So, you might join us in this practice. Think about someone you wish you were closer with, someone with whom you’d like to stay more connected. Start sending them a photo when you become aware of something positive and meaningful in your everyday life and see if you can get them to reciprocate. You very well might find this creates a new perspective in you as well.
McKee, L. G., Algoe, S. B., Faro, A. L., & O’Leary, J. L. (2020). What do daily reports add to the picture? Results from a photography intervention designed to increase positive emotion. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 15, 639-644.
Chen, Y., Mark, G. & Ali, S. (2016). Promoting positive affect through smartphone photography. Psychology of Well-Being, 6, 1-16.
Diehl, K., Zauberman, G., & Barasch, A. (2016). How taking photos increases the enjoyment of experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111, 119-140.
Wood, A. M., Froh, J. J., & Geraghty, A. W. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: A review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 890-905.