I Feel Good! Why Happy Images are Good For you
It’s no secret that pictures kick-start emotions within us. Perhaps what is not so well known is that images can also help us heal, change our moods and perceptions, calm us, or stimulate happiness. Gazing at pleasant images causes a release of chemicals like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which help us cope with pain and lift us out of apathy and depression.
Did you also know that looking at a photograph of a favourite pet can release the same chemicals within us as when we’re looking at photos of our human loved ones? Surrounding ourselves with happy and calm images has a direct impact in raising our personal wellbeing and health.
Neuroscientists like Esther Sternberg M.D. have long known the power a calming view has in promoting health. Biophilic architects understand the wellbeing aspects of introducing natural elements inside of our homes to create connection between man and nature. So it stands to reason that gazing at photographs of sunrises, calm seas and lush forests also raise our potential for greater happiness.
Thousands of artists over hundreds of years have explored ways to express inner angst as a way of producing emotive creative moments. This process has often been considered an expected rite of passage – that to live through that “dark night of a soul” is to be rendered a genuine artist. While this action of self-discovery and expression can be a necessary part of the creative odyssey, there also comes a time and place when an artist craves peace, inner calm, and self-healing as they evolve their soul and emotional maturity. And so, too, do the recipients, the observers, and beneficiaries of an artist’s positive phase.
During my own personal exploration of self-expression through creativity, I’ve tried my hand at dance, musical comedies, singing, songwriting, piano, painting, writing, graphic and interior design, and photography. As a spiritual traveller, I’ve searched for wellbeing and self-acceptance through valuable tools such as meditation, mindfulness, energy healings, intuitive guidance, and the pursuit of connecting with a higher altruistic love.
The only purpose this background information serves is to help you understand that all of the above-mentioned paths have brought me to the culmination of where I presently find myself – revelling in my current expression as a “feelgood” photographer. The seasons of creativity and spirituality have prepared me for the harvest of my mission – to encourage happiness and peace, to be uplifting, to unite, and generate harmony through my craft. My days of singing out inner storms, or writing about gut-wrenching times of torment have had their say and their day. If, in the eyes of some critics, that renders me less of an artist, then so be it. I'll take feeling good any time.
I always encourage everyone to get out and watch the sunrise, travel to country towns, have a night on the town, to breathe in nature, watch a meerkat, or hug a pet or a tree, because it sets those happiness hormones raging. And that’s the exact reason I love photographing anything which makes me smile.
What a waste of a life if we couldn't find anything to be happy about when the world is full of amazing miracles. I mean, just look at those loveable faces below! Get out into life, take photos even if they're just on your phone, print them off, hang them on the wall, and enjoy the fruits of your creativity.