Remember before iPhone’s and selfie sticks when we would use our eyes and ears to forever burn an image in our memory? Remember when we would soak up the atmosphere which could never be recreated in a filtered photo posted on Instagram? Times have changed as we take photo after photo to capture what’s in front of us. But are we really seeing it all? Or are we clicking to find a perfect photo for likes and comments?
We yearn for adventure, to create memories and see sights so magical we wonder if they are real (yes, they are). But are we jeopardising that magic held by the incredible sights on our island when we reach for our phone, stretch out our arm and make sure our hair is just so as we hold our gaze in front of the most beautiful scenery Ireland has to offer? Or are we cheating ourselves from really capturing the moment in our hearts and minds? There is a lot to be said for looking at our world through our eyes and not a lens.
Living in the Moment
Believe it or not, a new term has morphed out of our need to constantly take selfies – “Selfitis.” It’s a term coined out of the cultural phenomenon of capturing every moment for social media with a high probability of altering the photograph to be more appealing. If you take or post more than three selfies a day you’re verging on selfitis territory. While we may be chasing likes or alternatively genuinely wishing to share the wonder of the world we’re in, viewing the world through a lens has a negative effect. Our view, understanding and appreciation of what is around us becomes limited, and we simply can not soak up everything around us. Living in the moment has a much greater benefit on us than a veiled attempt at sharing that moment.
In the same way, being mindful of our surroundings, taking in the sights and deeply appreciating the nature around us has a strong and positive effect on our mental health. Using our five senses to take a snapshot of the moment in our memory has a profound influence on our mind, our personality, and our appreciation of the moment. Added to that, being mindful greatly reduces depression, anxiety, and stress. Next time you reach for your phone to take a selfie beside a perfectly still lake, pause. Listen to the birds, and the gentle lap of the water on the shoreline. Feel the breeze on your neck, taste the cooling night air, smell the grass, and the wildflowers and use your eyes to take that forever snapshot.
Incredibly taking selfies has resulted in more injuries, and even deaths, than you would ever imagine. From being unaware of wild animals, to tripping over rocks, or falling off bikes, selfies should come with a warning when we take on a new adventure. It seems we are risk takers in pursuit of the perfect photograph, even if it means danger to us or those around us.
The reasoning behind these dangers is due to our selective attention. As we focus on our phone, we become unaware of our surroundings. The world becomes somewhat distorted through the lens and puts us at risk of injury through falls or other dangers. Safety must come first. In fact some popular trails have designated selective selfie spots where visitors can take the perfect selfie without risk. Stay safe and be conscious of your surroundings when perfecting that photo.
Being surrounded by rolling hills, moody mountains, shimmering lakes, and vast scenery is not something to be taken for granted. We are in a privileged position in Ireland to have so much on our doorstep, but it is not always a given. We live hectic lives which often mean we miss what is right in front of us but someday we may not have a view of the Dublin mountains from our office or be in a position to take the scenic route to work. Be grateful and appreciate the world we live in because she is mighty and beautiful and crying out for us to see her.
You might also like to read our post on the benefits of nature