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Mindfullness, Photography and taking time to “Smell the Roses” (or the bush, as appropriate).

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As I was recently thinking about a new client who has a lot of stresses in their life, I got to thinking of this book – Capturing Mindfulness: A guide to becoming present through photography by Matthew Johnstone. *  On his website he say’s “It’s a book on how to create mindfulness through photography.”

I was also reminded of my “Refrigerator Quote” number 6, about “The Trouble Tree”.  Where the guy leaves his “Troubles” on the “Trouble Tree” before going into see his wife and family at the end of a difficult workday#.

It may be a case of stopping on the side of the road or at a park (on the way home) to spend a few minutes to “let go” of the workday. Alternatively, it may be a case of creating a “slideshow” of “relaxing” photos to have on your computer or phone and look at as a way to detach from the pressures of work.

On my websites and advertising brochures and postcards over the years, as well as the Life Resolutions Huntingdale Facebook page, a lot of the photo’s I’ve used to illustrate stories, or particular themes are one’s I’ve taken, (in more recent years, with my phone). 

For example the one about how sometimes clients need help “Seeing the wood for the trees” is one taken (as I remember) between Northam and Toodyay, when I used to go to offer my services up there in the country.

Similarly, the photo used to illustrate the idea of being “Up the Creek without a paddle” was taken a few years ago near the turnoff to Wundowie, on the way to Northam.

Also more “restful” photo’s include some taken on a Heart Foundation walk in Gosnells, when I used to have an office up there.

This had a number of examples of photos, like the one used to illustrate the idea of “Taking a Different path”, taken at Pioneer Park near the Gosnells Library.

Another that can be used to think about taking the time to “reflect” also taken in the same area.

Or this one can be an opportunity to think about spending time in a restful place.

This is one you may have seen either on my office wall, taken many years ago interstate, and also used to illustrate a postcard about “Positive Psychology” and used as the background to a quote from Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) Emperor of Rome.

”When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege
it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

I suppose the bottom line about this idea is that taking photographs and or using them to reflect on your time and relax can be a useful exercise. Having them close at hand, can be a reminder of more serene times.  You don’t even need to be a “great” photographer (whatever that is). I recall a client I saw (for a once-off session) when asked about what he liked to think of to help him relax? He said sitting and relaxing by the pool at home. My suggestion to him was to take a picture of his feet as he laid back on a lounge at home by the pool and to use it as the “wallpaper” on his phone and or computer. For others it may just be a sunset or scene of the sea.

*As a footnote, I often refer clients to Matthew Johnstone’s books and video’s. (Client’s will often take a photo of my copy of one or more of his books so they can find it in a bookshop. See his website for links, of look for his videos on

#Another footnote – Gail Kelly “The first CEO of one of Australia’s big four banks, listed by Forbes in 2010 as the eighth most powerful women in the world, and mother of four (including triplets), Gail is celebrated as one of our finest, most innovative thinkers on leadership and workplace culture.” (to quote the book cover) tells a similar story (at page 24) in the chapter “Choose to be Positive” in her book “Live Lead Learn: My stories of life and leadership”  which is in over 100 libraries across Australia.

– Author: Colin Longworth – Psychologist (B Psych ECowan, GradDipCounselMurdoch, Assoc. MAPS)


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