Wednesday, August 1

Photos Which Act As A Pick-Me-Up

Yosemite National Park

I've been going through loads and loads of old photos of holidays and places we have visited over the last twenty-five years. This brought back floods of memories - good memories.

I noticed that doing this - there was a reason - made me feel quite buoyant and uplifted. It's true that there were a few photos of family and friends who have now passed on which made me sad - but the times associated to the pictures were all positive. They were of happy occasions.

The photo at the top of the post is of the Yosemite National Park, USA. We did a tour in a hire car of the west coast, a while back, taking in San Francisco, Yosemite, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Monterey, Las Vegas, Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, Palm Springs and lots of places in between.

Wonderful memories, but so were pictures of places quite nearby to where we live. When we first got together Karin and I went to West Bay on England's south coast - camping in a tent. We didn't have much money but had lots of laughs.

One night we walked from our tent to the local pub for a few drinks. It wasn't over filled with people but had a nice atmosphere. This youngish woman came over, sat opposite us and struck up a bizarre conversation. She kept staring at me and after a while said she felt she had to sing Amazing Grace to me! Would it be okay?

I don't think it mattered to her what my reply would be as she started to sing anyway. It was one of those surreal moments that will never be forgotten. She sang Amazing Grace in full, with quite a pleasant voice, then said 'thank you' and walked away, never to be seen by us again.

But what I'm eventually getting around to saying is that photos can be a natural pick-me-up or tonic.

A study was carried out by researchers at the University of Southampton. They found that the nostalgia of looking through photos, of happy times,  increases self-regard, social bonds and positivity.

Other research at UK's Open University had similar findings. They found that listening to music and such things as eating chocolate left moods unchanged. Alcohol and watching television altered moods slightly, but only by one per cent. But looking at photos from the persons own albums made people feel more than 11 per cent better.

Dr Peter Nash said of the findings, "Looking through photos has a far more beneficial effect than many traditional ways of unwinding."

So there you go. Feeling a bit down or in a bad mood? Then reach for your photo albums.

Other Posts on 67 Not Out:
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The Reality That Probably Isn't Actually There

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  1. Beautiful photo. Interesting about the research. I find myself uplifted, too, when I look through old photos. Amazing Grace? Wow, Mike. Surreal, for sure.

    1. The Amazing Grace incident is something that often comes to mind when Karin and I think of the past. I've never understood the reason why it happened - perhaps it will come to me one day.

  2. This is exactly where I'm at right now...feeling a constant need for photos, images...kind of reminds me of a movie I once saw where they would sit in front of images of nature that didn't exist anymore...maybe 2001 Space Odyssey?

    1. Maybe we look at images to remind ourselves of what is relevant today and what is important. They stir something deep inside - as per the movie you mentioned did.

  3. That photo is wonderful. I can imagine it as a puzzle; 500 pieces or more would best me now days! However it did pick-me-up... as well as 'hearing in my head,' the tune, "Amazing Grace".

    Have been going through family photos recently for a surprise 60th birthday for my brother. How ironic is that?

  4. @Dixie
    Re: "I can imagine it as a puzzle; 500 pieces or more..."

    I find looking back at old photos very much like looking at puzzle pieces of my life.
    It is sometimes amazing what you see in them with the power of hindsight.
    Look at them again in another ten years and you are bound to see more things in your life that you missed first time round,or took for granted.
    It's no wonder looking back at old photos can be therapeutic,because they are still relevant to the ongoing journey in some way,with the past triggering memories that give bearings to your future.
    This is where the value of old memories help you.
    The past can point the way forward.

    1. I think you are right Darren. The photos nudge the mind into remembering things we may well have forgotten otherwise. These are often relevant to today (and tomorrow).

      I've been through so many photos that it's been almost like a meditation at times.

  5. @Karen
    "kind of reminds me of a movie I once saw...".

    Movies can have the same effect on us as old photos.That's probably why Hollywood keeps remaking them.

    Mike,remember that post on "Bambi and Me"?
    Well,I ended up buying the book "Bambi and Me"
    by Michel Tremblay,which was about his childhood memories of seeing various movies,including "Bambi"
    (which the book's title is named after)
    and how they shaped his life.
    I haven't finished it yet,but it is interesting.
    Although the chapter on Bambi,which the book title is based on is one of the smallest chapters I have ever read in a book.It is so small that I will reproduce the whole chapter below -

    " Bambi
    Did you cry as much as much as I did at the death of Bambi's mother?
    Personally,I never got over it. "

    That's the whole chapter,believe it or not?

    But old movies can store memories just like old photos,and It is amazing how each viewing of a favourite old film will bring something new and perhaps more relevant to our current life.
    Maybe they are more like sliding puzzle pieces where memories from the can unlock something relevant to the present and hence our future?

  6. I've never been a collector of movies. I've a friend who has rows of DVDs but now I realise it's time to review some films I saw long ago. Even Bambi - with a handkerchief at the ready.

    1. Just realised my last sentence seems a bit pervy!