Monday, February 19, 2018

Developing Mindfulness via Photography




If you were to think about teaching both mindfulness and gratitude to students, photography might not be the first method that comes to mind. But mindfulness is, at its core, a state of open awareness and attention—and to feel gratitude, we first have to truly notice the good things in life.

Looked at that way, it’s easier to see how photography could be used as a tool in classrooms to promote mindfulness and gratitude—and the benefits they both have been shown to bring to young people. As French photojournalist Marc Riboud said, “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”

The Center for Healthy Minds (CHM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has long been studying the teaching of mindfulness in elementary school classrooms. Over the past few years—with a grant from The John Templeton Foundation in partnership with the Greater Good Science Center—they developed and tested a five-week mindful photography curriculum.

... “Mindfulness is all about knowing your emotions and staying calm, and photography can really keep you calm and keep you focused,” said one student. Another stated that mindful photography “helps you stay calm and happy and helps you notice what you are grateful for.” Or, as another put it, “We got to take pictures of people and stuff that we cared about.” (When CHM looked at the content of the fifth-graders’ photos, the two categories of subjects that appeared the most were peers and nature). One student’s response was simple but profound: “It shows me that the world is colorful.”

---The above is excerpted from How Photography Can Help Cultivate Mindfulness and Gratitude

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