Story and Photos by Steve Moeller
Five Simple Things You Can Do to Optimize Your Results
Like many creative people, I love workshops, attending them, designing them, and leading them. Over the past 15 years, I‘ve participated in scientific conferences, training workshops, and transformational adventures with Amazonian shamans. My research and personal experiences convinced me that nature photography workshops can be fantastic vehicles for personal growth and lasting positive change!
Positivity—The Key to Breakthroughs
Nature photography workshops can be enormously fun events with many “positive experiences.” Challenging our artistic skills puts us in a deeply engaging and rewarding state of flow. Expanding our knowledge and skills evokes feelings of competence and self esteem. Sharing and interacting with likeminded “seekers” generates feelings of connection and belonging. And, of course, just being in beautiful places, especially during the magic hours, evokes awe, enchantment and aesthetic pleasure.
Experiencing positive emotions changes the way we think and behave. Barbara Fredrickson, a leading research psychologist, has shown that positive emotions make us more open to new ideas, novel behaviors, and innovative ways of thinking. Although fleeting, momentary positive emotions can foster long-term benefits. The knowledge and skills you gain, friendships you build, frames of reference you learn, self-knowledge, killer photographs, and memories will stay with you forever.
Positive emotions evoke positive states that range from mild calm to ecstatic, transcendent, spiritual epiphanies. The higher your positivity, the stronger and more lasting the impact of your experience. So, the key to making a workshop a life-transforming event is to maximize your positive emotions (and minimize your negative ones.)
Start with a Natural High
Humans evolved in nature. That’s why we feel so good in natural environments. They relax us, elevate our mood, and loosen us up. Being in forests, parks, and other natural spaces, especially green ones, reduces our blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormones. Mother nature restores our ability to focus our attention and enhances our working memory, which makes us smarter. A one-hour stroll in the woods increases our cognitive abilities by about twenty percent.
Interacting with nature also unleashes our creativity. In one study, participants who immersed themselves in nature for four days increased their problem solving abilities by fifty percent!
In addition to the natural high you’ll get from nature, you can boost your positivity to make your experience even more fun, memorable, and transformational.
Five Simple Strategies to Foster Breakthroughs
You are almost guaranteed to have a fantastic time, if you just show up and follow the leader. But if you want to optimize your experience before, during, and after the workshop, do these five simple things.
- Commit to Positive Change
Breakthroughs start the moment you commit to them. Knowing that you are going to make this an exceptional event will trigger positive anticipation. That will focus your mind and release energy to plan, prepare, and imagine how to receive the most positivity from your workshop experience. Commitment can turn a three-day workshop into six months of excited, zestful preparation and anticipation. You could easily be halfway to your goal before the workshop even starts.
- Clarify the Changes You Are Seeking
How can you get what you want, if you don’t know what it is? Before you decide which workshop to attend, answer this question; “What has to happen for me to feel that this was a breakthrough experience?” Once you know what outcome you are seeking, you can research the different workshops and leaders to find the best one for your breakthrough. Clearly defining what you want also alerts your subconscious mind to be on the lookout for ways to get it.
- Focus on the Positive
Scientists have discovered that only about 10% of our emotional state is determined by our circumstances. The vast majority of how we feel at any given moment depends more on our attitude, values, beliefs, and expectations than on what actually happens. So, consciously decide to make the event super positive, no matter what happens. Savor the positive experiences with all of your senses and express your gratitude for them. Reframe, laugh about, and create stories about the “not so good” things that happen. And remember to celebrate your breakdowns. Breakthroughs are almost always preceded by breakdowns.
- Share and Help Others
We are hardwired to enjoy socializing with, learning from, and helping other people. So share your goals and ask the other participants about their goals. That will enable you to support and help each other. Verbally expressing your intentions will give them more power and weight, and sharing your knowledge will deepen your own understanding. You can learn a lot from your peers. They often play a key roll in your personal and artistic growth.
- Listen to Your Inner Guides
Ask yourself, “What cues, signs, or results will indicate that the breakthrough I am seeking is happening?” Then listen, look, and feel the subtle signals, emotions, and comments from others that indicate you are growing, learning, and changing in meaningful ways. Positive emotions not only feel good in the moment, they alert us to opportunities for acquiring new resources and making positive changes in our lives. Following them will lead you on an upward spiral of personal growth towards your happiest, most fulfilled, and creative self.
Nature photography workshops can be so much more than a fun vacation. They can soothe your stress, recharges your brain, enhance your creativity, and heal your soul. With a little effort, they can trigger positive transformations that make you a better artist and a happier person.
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Steve Moeller is an author, workshop leader, photographer and marketing consultant for entrepreneurs. He applies his expertise in consumer behavior, neuro-marketing and motivational psychology to create better products and more effective marketing strategies. He is the author of Effort-Less Marketing for Financial Advisors, and Endorphinomics: The Science of Human Flourishing. Both have earned five stars on Amazon.com. Contact Steve at Steve@endorphinzone.com or go to www.SteveMoeller.com.