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Introduction to Mindography

Tommy July 15, 2020
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Section 1 – What is mindfulness?, our goal & methods, what is mindful photography?, some benefits of the practice, our senses, the attitude of gratitude and your simplified practice.

Welcome Aboard

Thank you very much. We are super grateful you have decided to do this Mindography Program. We have put our heart and soul into this and we hope you can benefit from the things we have learned on our journey.

Its a proven fact that people can sometimes find it a little difficult to invest in themselves and prioritise their own self care. Well done you for making that decision. 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.

” Always invest in yourself, because it pays the best interest ”

You are now part of a bigger purpose with this community. This is a community dedicated to supporting and encouraging each other to live life in the present moment, not dwelling on regrets of the past or worries of the future. Here we spend time expanding our minds, while also focusing on happiness in our lives through creative photography.

Enjoy every second of your journey and remember to support and encourage others in theirs.

What is Mindfulness? 

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“ Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally “ Jon Kabat Zinn

First penned by a man called Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970’s. Jon is an American professor of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. 

Similar practices to mindfulness have been seen, taught and spoken about throughout history by great philosophers and theologians. In our opinion they are all speaking about the same thing and in modern days we call it Mindfulness.

“Mindfulness helps you to concentrate on whatever you are doing, while making you fully aware of what you are thinking, how you are feeling and helps you not to let these things affect how you act” – Trevor O’Donoghue

Many people believe Mindfulness means Spirituality, but you can be a mindful person without being spiritual. One doesn’t necessarily mean the other. Mindfulness means you are paying attention to you and your surroundings in the present moment in a non judgmental way.

While experiencing moments of mindfulness, your mind and body are both at-ease, which can lead to many benefits, including reduced stress, improvements in your health and wellbeing, decreased feelings of depression and anxiety, increased happiness and positivity, decreased perceptions of pain and even improved healing.

This is a great video by MindfulNEWS , What is Mindfulness? With some simple answers.

Our Goal & Methods 

At Focus On Happiness we believe the most important things you can have in life is health, love, happiness pictures and memories. We value things like openness, creativity, positivity, support, empathy, well-being, happiness, inclusivity, connection, freedom and authenticity. Our mission is to enhance how people see and experience the world every day. We aim to empower members to cultivate more happiness and well-being in their lives, one photograph at a time.

Perma Theory of Happiness & Wellbeing 

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Focus On Happiness is build using The Perma Model of Well-being. Perma uses 5 important building blocks which can enable people to ‘’Flourish’’ in life. This theory was created by an American psychologist called Martin Seligman – Click Here to read some more about Martin and his views on the science behind happiness.

The 5 building blocks: –

  1. P – Positive Emotion = Feeling good
  2. E – Engagement = Being completely absorbed in activities
  3. R – Relationships = Being authentically connected to others
  4. M – Meaning = Purposeful existence
  5. A – Accomplishment = A sense of accomplishment and success

The PERMA model can help to increase people’s awareness. When a person is able to focus on the combination of all of PERMA’s elements at once, they will experience more happiness and well-being in their lives than people who have not managed to do so yet.

Check out this great article detailing a broader outline of The Perma Theory of Wellbeing – Click Here

What is Mindography or Mindful Photography?

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While many might think Mindful Photography is a new concept, it’s definitely not. It can also be known as Meditative or Contemplative Photography and is around in different forms since the mid 1800’s. 

Mindful Photography is a tool you can use to achieve a state of mindfulness while also aiding you in developing productive thought patterns in the process. We are all our own teachers in life. You will learn tools here and these tool will help you to learn and become more self aware through your own refections.

During mindful photography practice, you are experiencing a type of mental relaxation which calms your mind and allows you to think positive and productively. By consistently following the core features, you can start to integrate these traits into your life also. This can change the way you see and experience the world around you ‘’this is known as clear seeing’’.

Mindography is the happiness and wellbeing teaching we provide which uses methods of mindful photography along with a few other self improvement practices.

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Methods of Mindfulness Practice

There are two different methods of Mindfulness practices :- Formal & Informal.

The Formal Method is a certain length of time you set aside for yourself to practice one of the many different mindfulness styles.

There are various different styles out there and they all have their own methods and techniques. One common trait that they all share, is they are all guiding you towards similar states of mind and building better connections between different areas of your brain.

Some other types of practices include meditation, yoga, hiking, walking in nature, art, music, the list really is endless and there is something out there to suit everybody.

‘’One of the greatest benefits of mindful photography is that it can be used as a stand-alone practice and/or incorporated with many other mindfulness practices very easily’’

The Informal Method is very different. This is something you live. It is great for people who think they don’t have any time for practicing.

Informal mindfulness practice can be incorporated into your everyday tasks, without having to set aside any specific time. It can be built into your morning and evening routines, daily chores or life in general. I recommend that you learn and use the various tools we provide, in these everyday tasks to experience them fully. When doing these things you will be keeping your mind at ease.

Some examples of this include: –

Getting dressed, showering, brushing your teeth. cleaning the house, ironing, cooking, eating, driving, when stuck in traffic, walking to work, at work or collecting kids from school.

Choose a task and make a choice to complete it in a mindful way. Be aware of what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Take note of your emotions, thoughts and feelings in the environment around you.

By doing these things you enjoy these moments more, there is less rushing and stress. It helps you to create healthier relationships and it can also provide you with a break from a busy/stressful day which is flying past you, before you then return to it completely invigorated. The reason for the invigoration and extra energy is a result of something called ‘’Flow’’. We’ll explain this more in later sections.

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Mindography is used to help you integrate mindfulness into your life. What starts with a formal practice with your camera which you have set time aside for, can eventually lead to an informal practice or even a new lifestyle or mind-set.

Using photography to achieve Mindfulness is an extremely powerful tool. Visual Art activities have also been shown to have hugely positive effects on people’s health & well-being. Below is an outtake from a recent study by The Welsh NHS Confederation and a link to the full report.

‘’Access to arts opportunities and participation in the arts can dramatically improve health outcomes and well-being, counter inequalities and increase social engagement. As a supplement to medicine and care, the evidence suggests that engagement with the arts can improve a person’s physical and mental well-being. The benefits of arts activities are being seen beyond traditional settings, and their role in supporting communities and individuals who would otherwise be excluded is increasingly being recognised’’

This fantastic article helps explain the effectiveness of the arts in promoting and improving people’s health and well-being.  

View the full article here – Click Here

Benefits of Mindful Photography

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The list of benefits for the things we will be doing such as mindfulness, creative photography and being out in nature, are endless. With all the information I’m giving you, I’m sure you could still find lots more.

‘’ It’s now scientifically proven that our physical health can be directly linked to our mental state and vice versa. This puts us completely at the mercy of our biology. ‘’

The tools of Mindography are laid out, to reprogram your stress response. You are building better connections between different parts of your brain. This allows you to become aware, and it gives you the power to stay in control of how you are thinking, feeling and acting in your experiences.

Everyone can do this with a little practice. By doing this, it will link directly back to your physical health also.

Practical Benefits of Mindography

  • See the world around us in a very different way. ‘’Clear seeing’’
  • Clear our mind, so as we can see beauty & positivity where we normally may not.
  • Encourages us to live in the here and now and not with regrets of the past or worries of the future.
  • Helps us develop our creativity and imagination.
  • Expands our focus and attention span.
  • Enables us to let go of expectations, pressures or burdens.
  • Opens us up to unexpected possibilities.
  • Heightens our senses, clears our mind and encourages us to be more comfortable with ourselves.
  • Lets us leave plans and agendas fall away for a while.
  • Helps with acceptance – we learn to take what is there in front of us, accept it, good or bad and not focus on what we perceive it could or should be.
  • Helps us to let go of thoughts, of imperfection and self-criticism.
  • Helps us embrace new opportunities.
  • Gives us the opportunity to create happy memories through reminiscence.
  • Helps us to control, how our thoughts make us feel and the actions we take due to our emotions.
  • Helps us to respond and not react to stressful events.
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Benefits with Scientific Research

(Click the topic to find out and learn more)

Start Developing Habit’s Now

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For this introduction, we would like you to start developing the habit of being more mindful everyday, while also increasing awareness through your senses, both with and without your camera. 

Your Senses

Your five senses are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. These senses work together to gather information from your environment and experiences, which are then interpreted by your brain. It takes the information you have received and coverts it to language. Language is how we all view and understand the world. You ask yourself a question, give yourself an answer and this is how you develop meaning for everything you see and experience in your life.

The meaning you develop is usually influenced by previous experiences and past knowledge and can also be influenced by external factors, which are often outside of your control.

We all react almost instantly to the information we get. This quick response is something that we have evolved to do and it has been crucial for survival in our environment throughout the ages.

Each of our 5 senses uses its own system to receive the different information.

  1. Sight :- Light and colours are detected in the retina of our eyes.
  • Sound :- Hairs in our ear move in response to sound.
  • Smell :- Our nose detects different chemicals in the air and also different flavours in our food as air passes through our nasal cavity.
  • Taste :- Taste buds on the tongue react to the taste of our food. (There are five different tastes we can perceive. Sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami)
  • Touch :- Receptors on our skin detect things such as pressure, pain, temperature and vibrations.

Your senses connect you to your environment every single moment. It’s rare that your brain will make a decision based on the information from a single sense. Your five senses work together to create your reality. Your senses are feeling sensations constantly. You can choose to bring perceptual awareness to your senses like a spot light. By paying attention to your senses, you will be able to experience something new in your environment each and every time. You will be able to develop better situational awareness, it helps you to learn and understand your experiences more, aids you in developing better brain power and allows you to keep conscious control over your mind.

Our senses of sight and sound are our two most used senses. Those two along with our senses of touch and feeling is how we interact with each other every day. Using our senses in a productive manner is the very first stage in ensuring you understand what is going on in the experience you are having.

Mindography is an amazing tool to broaden awareness through your senses.

”Changing your language is how you change your life”

Photography is a Language

No matter where you are in the world these days, you’re likely to see people capturing what is going on around them with a camera or smartphone and then sharing their experiences online for the world to see. Pictures and images have become reflections of our experiences. They are messages and memories that people can understand across all languages, cultures and societies. Photography breaks down barriers and has now become the worlds number one universal language.

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

Simplified Mindography Practice

Mindography practice is about the experience and the process, rather than focusing on the finished product or picture. It’s about letting go of any expectations and being more aware through your senses. Exploring you and your surroundings and being curious about what you might see, rather than being closed minded and judgemental towards what you are seeing. Accepting your experiences for what they are and not what you believe they should or could be. Respect this process and allow it bring you to a flow state as you explore.

”Simply being yourself in the moment.”

Because of the amazing benefits of this practice, we would like you to get started straight away. You may not fully understand the process just yet. That will all come as you expand your knowledge with time and learning. All will be revealed as you go through this course. You will learn exactly how, why and what you are doing during your Mindful Photography Practice and after. The real benefits come from getting out there and doing the practice, so start developing that habit now. 

Below is the process you follow with your camera and your mind.

  1. Remove unnecessary distractions – ”Be fully absorbed into what you are doing”
  2. Use your camera in auto or semi auto – ”We would not like you to be thinking too much about camera settings”
  3. No looking back through pictures until after practice – ”Trust yourself”
  4. Use your senses – ‘’See, hear, smell, taste and feel what is around you as you walk’’
  5. Follow your intuition – ‘’If something feels right to you, we would like you to go with these moments’’
  6. Consider the shot – ‘’Pause and take a few moments here. Try to really see and capture your full experience in the picture’’
  7. Photograph your experience – ‘’Practice becoming comfortable in your experiences by pressing the shutter button, but only the once’’
  8. Repeat this process and find your flow ”Repeat the process over and over as you explore with your camera.

5 Senses Technique

(This is a Multi-Sensoriality Exercise)

Use this technique to start your practice, if your mind is wandering during your practice or at any stage that you would like to be little more mindful. This puts you into a mindful state of mind very quick and easy. All that you need to do is notice something that you are experiencing with each of your five senses.

  1. Notice five things that you can SEE. Look around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Try to look for things that you would normally not pay attention to.
  2. Notice four things you can HEAR. Take a moment to listen, and note four things that you hear in the background. This can be the tweet of a bird, the flow of a stream, or the sound of traffic on a nearby road.
  3. Notice three things that you can FEEL. Bring awareness to three things that you are currently feeling. Things like the texture of your clothes, the feeling of the breeze on your face, or the camera that is in your hand.
  4. Notice two things you can SMELL. Bring awareness to smells which your mind might usually filter out. If they are pleasant or unpleasant, just notice them. Is the breeze carrying the scent of flowers, or is there a smell of food from the restaurant you are walking past.
  5. Notice one thing you can TASTE. Focus on one thing that you can taste at this moment. You can take a sip of a drink, eat something or chew gum, but notice the current taste in your mouth. If you are not eating or drinking, you can open your mouth to the air and see if you can taste anything

‘’ This can be practiced anywhere and at any time. ’’

The Attitude of Gratitude

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Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for or to return kindness.

A story about Happiness & Gratitude by Rob Dial –

Gratitude is one of many positive emotions we can experience. Likened to magic by many. It is a simple, yet powerful resource that we can easily incorporate into our lives to help increase our overall happiness and appreciation for what we have.

Everybody has something to be grateful for in their life, no matter how big or small it may seem. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of this. We can remind ourselves by spending time reflecting and writing it down on a piece of paper or in a journal or by simply paying attention and savouring things you are grateful as you experience them.

Focusing on things you have in your life to be grateful for, is a much more productive mindset than focusing on things such as wants or desires, which often leave you unfulfilled and unsatisfied. This type of practice considerably boosts feelings of happiness.

For section 1, we would like to set an intention for you. Your intention is to photograph things which you are grateful for in your life. As you are taking the picture try to get in touch with the amazing feelings of gratitude you have for this moment.

If you are not sure where to start, then focus on the big things first, such as family, friends, home, work and what makes your life unique and special. Get a little broader as you get used to this type of practice. Try to see all the little things you have in your life to be grateful for every day. You may be surprised where this type of thinking may lead you.

There are things everywhere in our life to be grateful for…. ie… your tasty morning cup of coffee which prepares you for your day ahead, the energy filled lunch that is going to refuel your body midday, the clothes you are wearing which keep you cosy and warm, the refreshing running water from a tap, which keeps you hydrated and clean and even a previous experience that might have been unpleasant, but helped you to learn and grow as a person…..

At the end of your walk or day, we would also like you to reflect on the photos you have taken in a manner to develop gratitude. Look through your photos and pick out some of the ones which stand out to you. Then follow the process below to write what you were grateful for in the image and why you were grateful for it.

Follow this template below: –

”Try to get in touch with the feeling of gratitude as you write”

‘’ I am so happy and grateful for  ____________  because  ______________ ’’

Example :-

‘’ I am so happy and grateful for the home I am in because it keeps me safe and warm ’’

In section 2 of the course, you will be learning more about your mind. This gratitude exercise is laid out for you, to use both parts of your mind at the same time. You are using your Conscious Mind explaining what you are grateful for & Your Subconscious Mind explaining why you are grateful for it.

The Community 

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This community is reserved for people who want to be positive and supportive.

Photography is a journey. In Mindography, we celebrate all levels of camera ability. Mindography isn’t solely based around the pictures you take. Its about the benefits you receive from this whole experience. The learning, the photography, the me time, getting outside, experiencing life, the community, living in the now, being grateful, sharing and the support. We want you to make the most of the community we provide.

Feel free to post any pictures, experiences or motivation around Your Mindography Journey.

We will have monthly challenges, tips and trick along with much more going on inside. Enjoy the whole package and feel free to get started right now.

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Intentions & Activities Overview

Intention 1 Simplified Mindography Practice – Familiarise yourself with the steps of your simplified mindography practice – It is super easy to follow, once you know it. You will learn about the full practice in more detail as the course moves on, but for now keep these steps at the forefront of your mind.

Intention 2 – Develop an Attitude of Gratitude through Photography and Journaling – Incorporate this into your daily life as much as possible. Remember we are not trying to take amazing pictures each and every time. We are aiming to be more mindful of things and experiences in our life

Intention 3 – Contribute and Interact With The Community – We would really love if you would set yourself the intention to share and interact in the community as much as possible, but at least once a week as you make your way through this course.

Extra Credit :-

Practice The Five Senses Multi-Sensoriality Exercise – this is a great way to easily put yourself into a mindful state. It is part of your practice, but it also great to practice in your day to day life. Give it a try.

Explore some informal mindfulness practice in your everyday tasks – see the Methods of Mindfulness Practices for this – The Informal Method

Resource Overview

Videos – 

MindfulNEWS Video, What is Mindfulness – Click Here

A story about Happiness & Gratitude by Rob Dial – Click Here

5 Senses Technique Video – Click Here

Simplified Mindful Photography Practice – Click Here

Articles –

Martin Seligman Article – Click Here 

The Perma Theory of Wellbeing Article – Click Here

Arts, Health and Wellbeing Article – Click Here

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