Developing Neuroplasticity through Photography
Hello again! I am back to continue my series on Rewiring for Creativity. From this point on, you can find a new blog post from me every other Wednesday. I received feedback from readers that my posts were a little lengthy, so I thought it would be more helpful to spread the content over two entries per month instead of packing it all into one monthly post. That way you still get the information, but have more space to process it. I hope you check in on Wednesdays throughout the month to see what’s new.
Earlier on in the series, I discussed the creative and neuroplastic benefits of doodling, as well as offered some examples on how music and dance supported my creative pursuits and rewiring journey. Next on my list, as referenced by the infographic in my first post of the series, is photography! 📷
In my life as a visual artist, photography was not anything particularly new for me, and was fortunately an area of my work process that I maintained as more fun or playful. For my artistic process prior to creating a painting or work of art, I would go through a stage of exploration and gathering inspiration by taking photos—usually in nature as that was a great source of inspiration for my art (and also for my healing journey!)
It trained my eye to look at things more creatively and allowed me a means to take in, observe, process, and appreciate my surroundings. It was a tangible exercise in mindfulness that was also timeless as I could then refer back to a photograph and recall the experience as needed. I believe that photography is a tool that supports memory development and can be a mood elevating experience. 🙂
I learned about photography in a more technical sense in high school and in college. At that time, digital photography was not a thing, so my experience was rooted in film photography, an art form that is less common now. Fortunately cellular devices, tablets, and computers are equipped with their own cameras nowadays, making photography more user-friendly and accessible in my opinion to those who may not have a more technical background. I feel like the technical background is not of great importance to the practicality or use of photography. 📷
However, as a means of providing myself with an opportunity to engage my prefrontal cortex and to help resolve any insecurities about my ability with digital photography, last year I signed up for virtual classes through a website called CourseHorse. I took an intro to digital photography course that covered the basics and served to adapt the knowledge I knew from film photography to the medium of digital photography. I also eventually took a course in Creative Photography, a class that encouraged more out-of-the-box thinking and play. That class was also made available through CourseHorse and was facilitated by the Capital Photography Center, which offers more opportunities to learn and explore photography.
If you follow the Brain Gardening™ website, Instagram, or Facebook pages, earlier this month I discussed how birding was of benefit to my healing journey and supported mindfulness. I often paired photography with my outings to find birds, as it helped me implement what I was learning in the classes. Here are some photos I took from such outings. You can see more examples over on the Brain Gardening™ blog. 🧠🌱
If you'd like to give photography a try as a mood elevation or creative activity, a practice of mindfulness, or a means of learning a new skill, I would like to offer the following prompts as potential starting points to help support you in that practice.
Signs of spring
Your happy place
A sentimental object
Tell a story through a photo
Capture a pattern or texture
Convey a feeling through color
Play with perspective or scale
Feel free to ignore these suggestions and come up with your own! If you feel inclined to share your explorations, please consider joining the Rewiring your Wellness Facebook group. I will be moderating that community for the next four months and would love to connect there and offer support for your wellness journey or creative pursuits! 🎨
Next blog topic: I will share more on photography and how I reconnected to a childhood joy through explorations in macro photography.
Alina is a multidisciplinary artist who used brain retraining coupled with creative pursuits to recover from a lifetime of chronic illness. Her healing journey has inspired her to create Brain Gardening™, an online resource featuring resilience tools that are rooted in science and cultivated through the arts.
Brain Gardening™ takes neuroplasticity research and presents it through a designer lens using simple language and interactive materials, while reflecting the deep insight of Alina's personal experience navigating the journey herself. Through this platform for healing, Alina will be creating and curating evidence-based resources for cultivating wellness through neuroplasticity that can be incorporated into an existing self-care practice or serve as an introduction to neural retraining techniques.
Subscribe to the mailing list at Brain Gardening™ to stay informed as new offerings emerge.
If you're on Instagram, follow @braingardening where you can find Alina's "Mindful Moments in Nature" every Monday and "Ask Alina" on Tuesdays where you can submit your own brain retraining questions for answers on her Wednesday IGTV series.