Taking photos is so commonplace in today’s world that we’ve probably never stopped long enough to think about why we do it and why it brings us so much joy.
A photographic image has the power to unleash emotions, connect people, and bring back memories of why we took the photo in the first place. Photos connect us with our stories. Photos let us see things or times or people that are gone. Photos have been shown in studies to boost mood (in other words, make us happier) as well as increase relaxation and lower stress. And, photos are about even more than happiness, especially when they're connected to experiences.
Children who know their family stories have greater resiliency, higher self-esteem, and do better when faced with challenges. This is especially true with stories of those who have gone before, but it's also true of the story those children are living right now. A current “family history” is the vacation you took to the mountains last year or winning the Little League Championship last weekend. The photos and memories you record from events like these, and other everyday events, are your story!
We often have precious photos and meaningful memories, but they often don't make it off our phones or out of our heads. The best thing you can do with a photo or a memory is to preserve it.
I take pictures because I want to remember special moments. I want my boys to have the benefits of being the stars of their own storybooks. I want them to be able to sit down on the couch after a really hard day and be able to look back at happy times and get a little lost in better times for a few minutes. I want them to remember their story and share it with others.
I want that for myself, too. My pictures on my phone don’t tell the whole story. Putting those pictures on scrapbook pages or in digital albums, I can look through them, reminisce, and smile. Being able to journal some descriptions and memories of why those photos mean something, allows me some therapeutic time in my own head and heart which increases my gratitude and re-centers me. It gives me perspective and peace.
Understanding your why is the first step to memory keeping. Don’t allow those photographs to get stuck in your phone or on your hard drive. Get them in digital albums or on scrapbook pages to be enjoyed. Remember, memories are worth preserving.