Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Reducing Anxiety

"After a storm comes calm" - Matthew Henry

I love photographing the sky; clouds on sunny or stormy days, sunrises and sunsets, sun rays beaming through clouds, lightening if I am lucky enough to capture it with my camera, the shape and form of clouds, and the rainbows that appear after a storm. Photographing these heavenly scenes always brings me to a sense of wonder and awe. Sometimes clouds just float gently by and sometimes they appear to build and thus create some cold windy rainstorms. But it always clears up eventually.

When we experience anxious worrisome thoughts, they can build up inside of us and create a stormy feeling within. Photographing sky scenes reminds me of this and a metaphor I once learned about worries being like clouds floating through the sky. We all experience anxiety some time in our lives; it's natural. However, anxiety can cause problems for many people. One strategy to help reduce anxiety is to use that cloud metaphor when anxious thoughts pop into our minds. When a cloud comes into our vision, we take notice of it and we may watch it float away. We don't usually stay stuck watching one particular cloud. But when worry thoughts occur, we can get stuck on the thought, and that thought leads to another worry to another and another, until there is that storm built up within and we lose sleep and experience headaches and other physical symptoms. It might help to just notice the worry thought and then let it go, as you notice a cloud and it floats away in the sky. Easier said than done, you might say. This is just one strategy for dealing with anxiety and there are others. It might not help everyone but it is helpful for some. For anyone who experiences anxiety, I would recommend speaking with a counsellor or therapist.

If you are looking for enhanced wellness, this may be worth a try or even just considering how, like a stormy sky, change happens all the time and storms do pass. With photography of scenic skies, that sense of wonder and awe that comes, at least for me, can be exhilarating or quite soothing and almost spiritual in a way. As well, it is a wonderful self-care activity and can provide a bit of distraction from other stressful thoughts, if even for a few minutes.  It is the mindful practice of photography and letting worry thoughts be noticed but then then float away that helps to get to that state of calmness.