Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 20th January 2024

Beat The Blues - The Emotional Benefits Of Reviewing Your Photos

Photo by Rirri on Unsplash
Photo by Rirri on Unsplash
The start of a new year can be overwhelming. There are constant expectations for the year ahead, reminders to ‘make it the best one yet’, or ‘be the best version of ourselves’.

The most important part of planning for the year ahead isn’t the drastic lifestyle changes you promise you’re going to make, or the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions you’ll set - but the process of reflecting on the year that has passed.

Many Brits now take the opportunity to go through their photos and reflect on life’s big and little moments at this time of year.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
For most, it’s a practice of self-care and mindfulness, looking back on what’s been achieved, and helping prioritise for the year ahead. For others, a chance to look at precious memories made, photos of loved ones; from little ones to furry friends and all those in between.

CEWE, the photo printing company, conducted research to delve deeper into Brits photography and printing habits to understand the emotions associated with looking back at photographs, and how it can help us to reflect on the year that has passed.

Reasons to reflect

For the majority of people, their fondest memories of childhood will have been heavily influenced by the photographs they’ve been shown over the years. Without photographs, it would be difficult to remember those special memories and events to the level of detail that you may today.

But why do we typically wait years to look back on these photos?

Over half of those surveyed believe surrounding themselves with printed photographs improves their mood (50%), with 69 percent of people feeling joyful when looking at printed photos and 74 percent believing there is an emotional benefit.

Yet as part of the survey, CEWE discovered that 56 percent have actually lost access to or accidentally deleted digital photos, resulting in the loss of significant memories.

Head of Photo Culture at CEWE, Dale Orton, commented:
“Research shows that the nation finds looking back and reminiscing on their favourite images more relaxing than meditating and listening to podcasts, so it’s no surprise that they choose to do so at this time of year. The new year can be overwhelming with all the talk of resolutions and lifestyle changes, instead, taking some time to move at a slower pace and appreciating what’s happened over the past year can help us to move into the new year with clarity.

“Many people use this time to reminisce on all the moments from the past year that made them smile. From birthdays and Christmas, to new experiences such as holidays, weddings and days out – each year that goes by is filled with memorable occasions.”

The emotional benefits

69% of Brits feel looking back on their printed photographs bring them more joy than their digital photos. The act of flipping through a photo album, or a photo book is special - there’s an element of nostalgia that scrolling through your phone cannot replicate.

When it comes to the most beneficial way to view your photos, CEWE looked to Chartered Psychologist, Dr Denise Taylor for perspective:
"Physically holding a photo engages more senses, enhancing the emotional connection.

“It’s a totally different perspective to view something printed, rather than to scroll through our phone. The picture is bigger, the image is sharper, the detail clearer. For that reason, we have a deeper emotional connection to a printed image.

“A printed photo of a loved family member or to mark a special occasion can take us back to the moment, to recall the happy times and to trigger the many memories associated with it.’’

The best ways to look back

The act of gathering photos can be therapeutic, not just for looking back but also to help you to appreciate all of the wonderful memories you’ve made with the people that you love, reminding you that you have these special connections.

Behavioural Psychologist, Jo Hemmings said:
“Having ‘real’ photos in our home, provides regular psychological positive reinforcement by reminding us of ‘social bond enhancement’ – essentially what and who are important to us!”

Having these images stored in a photo book, wall calendar or as part of a photo gallery can help you to feel connected and loved on a daily basis as you pass by the photographs and are reminded of the beautiful memories you cherish and relationships you have.

For more information about CEWE visit: