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Adapt in a new world

‘’The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.’’

Albert Einstein

As of June 2020….

Over 3.5 billion of us own a smartphone. That's over 45% of the world's population and a 10% increase on 2019

610 million of us own digital cameras.

3 billion of us are on some form of social media and there are over 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day.

The figures above tell us that taking, posting and sharing pictures of what is going on in our lives has become the new normal for a high percentage of people. Human beings have evolved to be social creatures. Social interaction is a basic human need we all have. We have survived and flourished on this planet through togetherness and communities. With resources like social media readily available to most, we are more connected today than we have ever been before. Even though this is the case, scientists still believe that the next big epidemic to have a drastic effect on all of our well-being, is the feelings of isolation and loneliness. We may be more connected, but the use of social media and smart devices have shown to have adverse effects on our mental health and well-being. In a world where they play an enormous part of our lives, it’s time we take responsibility for this and start putting these resources to use in new and more productive ways.

At Focus On Happiness we work to change perceptions and attitudes towards how we use technology and social media. We believe that if we make a choice to use these things in certain ways, they can also make us feel empowered and boost our self-esteem. We can become part of supportive groups, feel authentically connected and be challenged in more positive and productive ways. Studies show that as a supplement to medicine and care, participation in arts activities such as photography can dramatically improve and maintain both the physical and mental wellbeing of the people involved. This is one of the main reasons we created this community and program.

Online communities can be a fantastic resource for connection. They promote human interaction and keep us all connected with family and friends, at times when we cannot see them face to face. This is especially true as this recent pandemic continues to unfold. Like many things, we just need to be a little more aware of the good and bad aspects of social media, while also being mindful about how we can navigate through them, to choose the right platform for our needs.

The perceived pressures associated with creating and sharing those perfectly composed moments every single time, can sometimes become a distraction from what you could be experiencing and is not always authentic to who you really are. By letting go of that type of mindset and focusing on your full experience through mindful photography, it can help you create positive memories and capture authentic happy moments which you can relive each and every time you see the photograph.

We feel our community which is our stand-alone social media platform with learning resources, differs greatly from large scale public social networks, by being more purpose based, with a huge emphasis on positivity, openness, meaningful engagement and support. This allows authentic connections and relationships to be cultivated with more like minded members who may share similar interests to you and who you can show and receive support and encouragement from.

We have done a lot of reading and research on these topics over the past year and the following issues stood out to us in many of the articles.

Large Scale Public Social Media ​

The overuse of large scale Public Social Media Networks can result in poor self-esteem and self-worth issues for people, due to over comparing themselves to the picture-perfect life’s often portrayed by others.

As humans we all need interaction, communication and personal connections with others. The overuse of technology, smart devices and the habit of constantly checking our phones, can really affect how present we are in our interactions every day. It can also leave us with a feeling of loneliness or being left out, if we see friends or family sharing pictures of something, which we were not included in.

It is common for people who share a lot of their life on social media, to feel the associated pressures, to keep producing perfectly composed and captioned images. Aiming to get that perfect shot each and every time. This doesn’t always happen on the 1st go (or the 2nd,3rd,4th . . . ) and it can mean they may be missing out on all the great thing that are going on around them, because their heads are stuck in their phones.

Our instant access to information, people, online shopping, media and entertainment has shown to have hugely adverse effects on things such as focus, attention span and patience.

Focus On Happiness

In our community, more purpose-based sharing, support, honesty and openness is encouraged. Our Pictures of Life community, which has over 4,500 members to date proved these can be achieved in larger groups with a combined purpose.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted just how important this connection is for us all and how much we really need human interaction and relationships. At that time, many of us could only communicate with people online, having safe moderated spaces, which were full of like-minded members, helped people deal with these feelings of loneliness and isolation in a more productive manner.

When we talk about mindful photography, its often associated with being out and about in nature, but like all photography, it can also be practiced anywhere and at any time. It helps us to be more present in life and in tune with what’s going on around us. It makes us more comfortable in our experiences and also gives us the opportunity to capture fantastic memories. Photography isn’t just about those perfectly posed and edited images. It is about recording emotion and feelings in an image. Pictures don’t always need to be visually perfect to achieve this.

The core features of mindful photography practice with your camera, also provides you with ways to combat issues, such as low focus, attention span and patience in your everyday life.

People can sometimes find it a little difficult to invest time and money in themselves or prioritise their own self-care.

The figures above prove that so many of us already have all the physical recourses we need to make ourselves feel better. Devices such as phones and cameras to take pictures, computers and smart devices to share and interact, are readily available to almost everyone.

With some guidance, learning and practical knowledge, you can elevate what taking pictures and sharing them on social media can be, while also getting all the amazing benefits of mindful photography and the benefits of being in such a great and supportive online community.

Investing in yourself is one of the most important and empowering things you can do in your life. By doing so, you are enhancing your own life and as a consequence of that, you are also enhancing the lives of the people you meet and interact with every single day.