It seems like as time moves on in our lives, our society gets quicker and it seems like everyone is racing against the clock. With the increase of technology the rate of anxiety among the average person has risen. More children and adults are being diagnosed with panic attacks. We all suffer from anxiety at some level or degree. We all deal with stress and it's literally impossible to avoid. It's in the grocery stores, parking lots, roads and can even be seen within the public transportation system. Some people even write about the rise of the gated communities. This has something to do with the anxiety around not feeling safe even in the home.
So, we all deal with stress and anxiety differently. I think we would all agree we all just want to live peaceful, happy and meaningful lives . However, this all depends on how we handle the stressful situations that we can not control or avoid. Many of us find our work to be very stressful. For many, unfortunately our careers have become merely a pay cheque and a way to survive financially. However, in the corporate world expressing your true feelings can be a road to disaster. So, we learn to play the survival game and bottle things up inside.
More people are looking for ways to find anxiety releasing activities in their daily lives. Mediation and yoga are becoming more common among our culture. Sports and other forms of recreation are proven to be socially acceptable and beneficial to our physical nature to handle stress and emotional bonding. The rise of endorphins helps us deal with our stress. A lot of people simply switch careers and look for work more emotionally satisfying with less stress. And of course many people turn to alternative ways of healing. There are many different forms of therapy today other than the psychotherapy where talking to someone is helpful in finding coping mechanism to deal with anxiety.
The expressive arts are a tool for dealing with stress. Journal writing is very common and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress. Music, visual arts, photography, movement and dance are also excellent resources for calming and helping people cope with everyday life issues. These expressive arts are considered therapeutic and helpful but without a trained guided therapist such as an art therapist. Without this self disciplines training the arts will not have the same effect for those who suffer from a higher level of anxiety and are looking for therapy. In extreme cases with anxiety may be biological and medication is necessary and most likely a better fit. This all depends on the individual and the situation.
Anxiety takes on many forms and is different for each individual. It can be difficult to understand another level of anxiety and can trigger our own anxiety hearing about our friends problems. I have noticed this with conversations among friends when it comes to finances. For the mild cases of anxiety ridden people, sometimes a "time out" is helpful. Find a place you like to go, or explore your neighbourhoods until you find a place that you enjoy. I take pleasure in history, arts and architecture, so I discovered the historic Distillery District which also has many artist studios, galleries and theatres which inspires me and gives me hope. The anxiety level decreases when I feel these other emotions and learn to let go. This is the true challenge with anxiety. Learning to let go to that which we can not control, and be present in the moment, and hopeful for our future.
The creative arts all hold an expressive quality that is considered therapeutic. The process itself can be a very profound form of individual expression. The exploration of interests with photos can explain a lot about an individuals character and state of mind. The objective is to take the camera and not filter your image ideas. Following your instincts in the moment. You may need to do an transitional exercise first to get your mind set ready. Photo-therapy is one of the highly effective expressive arts therapies and is a great tool for those with verbal communication challenges. It's easy and to begin and you just click and question later. Photography can be a powerful tool for story telling and the process can shift our perceptions of how we see the world we live in. It can open doors to further dialogue and understanding.
On the other hand having a goal in mind with the camera in hand can also be another form of narrative therapy. The end result has more of a focus. The objective is to think about the message, or story, you want to convey. Photo contests are the perfect source for goal setting for photographers of all levels. They can give you a subject to start with and you can take it from there. The actual reality of show casing your art work to the public is a great therapeutic step forward. It is a vulnerable act and can also lead to self empowerment. It's another form of communication in which you may feel heard and seen. The artist/photographer may also be surprised with the impact on the viewers and their responses.
The contests have a lot to teach both amateur and professional photographers.There are nine challenges on the Lenzr photo contest website this month and the competitions end on march 25th when the top ten user ranked images are judged. The best photo in each contest is selected as the winner. Each Lenzr Contest is a unique photography opportunity. There are photo contest involving reflections from subjects onto a water source, and unlikely unions with miss-matched subjects. There are more challenging photo submissions of people performing at home in front of an audience to beautiful factories, and people dancing.
The chance to exhibit your art work on the internet for the public to see may seem really intimidating. However, taking risks and sharing your photography visions can have plenty of rewards. Included in the emotional rewards are the monetary with prizes available to win. Who doesn't like to be acknowledged for their excellent and creative work? The Lenzr photo challenges have prizes from Olympus STYLUS TOUGH-8800 an underwater camera to Apple iPads and large animal skin rugs and patio furniture.
The art of photography is a great self reflective tool. It can help us explore our world and understand various perceptions. The camera can help us view life situation differently. Thus altering the reality that lay within our minds, which sometimes may block us from where we might want to be. Life is full and beauty and chaos and is sometimes overlapped. Photography can help us tell our story of pain and joy. And by sharing and exhibiting these stories and expressions with the world, we can open the doors to a greater sense of awareness.