Our children are growing right before our eyes and we don’t want to lose this time. We want to revisit it, savour it and feel secure knowing that our memories are safe. Isn’t that why we take family photographs? Well, yes. But there are also many other benefits to family photography including its ability to increase your family’s positive wellbeing. And who doesn’t need a bit of that right now?
Technology has been helping us get through this nightmare of a pandemic. Can you imagine how much more difficult it would be without our screens? Screens for homeschooling, screens for working, screens for Zooming, screens for watching TV on. But what about mobile screens for viewing your massive back catalogue of family photos on? No, I didn’t think so.
When Kirsty Prankerd was on maternity leave, she spotted a gap in the market for personalised keepsakes. She now runs the gift company Write From The Heart and believes that having your memories out on display – rather than hidden behind a screen – can make a world of difference to your outlook.
“When you can see photos of your loved ones at your leisure rather than having to go search for them, it’s much more likely to improve your mood.
“Plus, with so many of us actively trying to reduce our screen time, especially since the pandemic, having printed versions of your favourite photos you can display in your home is a great way to help yourself take a digital detox.”
While we have access to our own digital photos, our children most likely have no access to them at all.
To prevent your children from missing out on the benefits of seeing themselves in their family’s photos, Kirsty’s advice is to display them in communal areas. Hang them in the kitchen and lounge, as well as the bedrooms to make sure everyone spends each day surrounded by love.
When times are as grim as they are now, adding a few family photographs to your walls can be an easy way to inject a little happiness into our lives. They can distract us from our thoughts with reminders of moments to be grateful for.
And while they can make us smile momentarily, the real benefits they offer last far longer, as Psychologist Caroline Lafarge explains.
“Being able to reframe what’s going on and take some distance is really important for your resilience,” she says.
“In difficult times, like lockdown, being able to look to another time when your family was engaged and well helps you to reframe your experience. This is really important for your resilience and wellbeing.”
Psychologists often spend a lot of time looking at what’s wrong with people but some concentrate on what works well. Psychologist Martin Seligman – a leading researcher in the field of positive psychology – has defined five elements that contribute to wellbeing. They are positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement.
Feed your wellbeing
“If you look at research into resilience and wellbeing there are a few things that are really important,” says Caroline. “One is positive emotion which you can get when you look at your family pictures.
“It makes you feel good. Seeing your children is fulfilling. You also feel connected with others and get a sense of meaning as well, and purpose.
“Engagement comes from doing things you love, work you love or a task you love. But it could be your sense of engagement is derived from your family as well.
“From a theoretical perspective – all those aspects that photography may trigger – positive emotion, engagement, relationship, meaning and accomplishment – feed into your sense of wellbeing and resilience.”
For Kirsty and her customers, family is the most important thing and it’s why her company has performed well during the pandemic.
“Seeing photos of your nearest and dearest everyday motivates you to get through periods where you might be struggling. But it can also remind you of the great memories behind the picture.
“They can remind you of how lucky you are to have the support system you do have. And this can ease your daily stressors and show you how blessed you truly are.”