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3 Things We Can Learn About Relationships From Professional Photographers

3 Things We Can Learn About Relationships From Professional Photographers

Like many professions, the things that can be learned or taught in a classroom are often not the most valuable skills a photographer will need to build the kind of career one needs to be able to support yourself on the proceeds from your art alone. Photographers frequently need to be dog whisperers, child psychology experts and a host of different kinds of therapists and counselors.

It’s easy to understand how this is true shooting family portraits; dogs just don’t understand the need to pee before you spend 20 minutes getting the two adults, two pre-teens, a toddler and an infant all perfectly posed; and that toddler – who loves posing momentarily for a random Facebook pic for mom – has no idea why she is being asked to sit still and smile again and again and again for a total stranger.  But what about the Bride on her wedding day who, when given some time to think about it while you are shooting her pre-wedding photos, suddenly decides that perhaps her soon-to-be groom sitting in a room just a few doors down is not actually “The One”? Or the High School Senior that suddenly blurts out that she’s 3 months pregnant in the middle of her senior photo shoot?

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Like hairstylists, photographers seem to have an interesting way of being made instant de-facto therapists by their clients. Perhaps it’s that photographers, like hairstylists, give people the one thing that deep down we might all want more than anything: to be seen. Not just glossed past visually, but really, truly seen as we are, and for who we are. With hairstylists, it might have something to do with actual physical space – it’s hard to imagine that anyone that close to us physically could not genuinely see us for who we are – and so we open up to them in ways we might not do with even our closest friends and family members.

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With photographers, the reasons may be somewhat different but the effect seems much the same. While a photographer might not invade a person’s physical space the way a hairstylist does, they do in fact quite literally shine a light and point a lens at people in such a way as to leave little doubt that they are genuinely seeing everything. But I think what really makes us open up to total strangers like photographers and hairstylists, is that unlike our friends and loved ones, we don’t feel judged by them. We feel evaluated by them, but somehow we know that when they evaluate it’s always for the purposes of helping us be better – which we know (or at least believe) they have the expertise to do. We almost never question our hairstylist’s desire to help us be beautiful or our photographer’s desire to look our very best in our photos.

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And maybe there are some life lesson in there for the rest of us. If people practically bend over backwards to open up to those they feel genuinely seen by and even more importantly accepted by, might that give us some key information that helps us in our own relationships? Here are a few things I think we can learn from photographers that might help us interact better from our fellow man:

1. Don’t make a suggestion…

…unless you genuinely have the skills necessary to help make an honest improvement.

2. Make sure the person you want to correct knows that they are genuinely seen and accepted

Before you try to help someone, let them know that what they’re already doing is good–and that you are trying to help them, not change them.

3. When you’re angry at someone or just not “feeling the love” – try and look at them the way a photographer would.

Try to create the very best possible light for them to stand in, and the best background for them to be shown against in a way that showcases and highlights their best features. Chances are good that when you choose to look at them that way, they will start to look better to you in a way that helps you “feel the love” once again.

Featured photo credit: epSos .de via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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