Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pinterest for a Pick-Me-Up

Like most people, I'm a visual person. I love a good story, but I understand pictures much faster, and I can easily get lost in images. Sitting on a bench at the museum in front of a favorite painting is a great, soul-filling time for me.

Did you know that there's an entire study, known as Art Therapy, that trains people to use the creative outlet of imagery (as well as music, dance and other fine arts) to help their patients heal and be well? Perhaps that's why an hour spent flipping through old photo albums feels so therapeutic. Whether the memories they invoke are good or unpleasant, allowing ourselves to think about them allows us to casually explore our own mental well-being. We share many images of Tracy here for just that reason. So that we can enjoy the visual memories, think about them, and find ourselves in a different state of mind.

Obviously, it's those happier thoughts that we like more, and there are plenty of places for us to go to enjoy pleasant imagery that lifts our spirits and makes us just feel a bit better. If you're stuck at home, though, with nothing but an internet connection to entertain yourself, avoid YouTube, and visit Pinterest instead.

See, Pinterest.com is a visual idea collector. You can swap images with people from all walks of life, and from around the world. Certainly women hold the lion's share of accounts on Pinterest, but there are plenty of men as well, and, even better, a huge number of parents. In addition to sharing DIY articles for how to create a rocket pack with some 2-liters, there are also thousands of images that don't need to be clicked on to enjoy. Pinterest is used by design and lifestyle professionals, like the editors of your favorite magazine, or the producers of your favorite morning talk show, to collect ideas and inspiration. Take a moment to search for the brands and people that you enjoy to see if they are pinning.

The trick to using Pinterest to help you find and capture joyful feelings is to resist the urge to click on the pictures (unless, of course, it's something you really want to read about!). Instead, locate a pinner or a board that you're really drawn to, and enjoy the imagery.

Here's what my Pinterest feed looks like as I write this:

As I sit back and browse the images, I see several that put me in mind of the beach at summer. I can zone out on that for a bit, ignoring the coating of snow out my window, and forgetting the dismal winter we've been having. I see a beautiful image of a girl with a giant crown of flowers, and I enjoy the colors and think of my own childhood. The image of a hallway with bookshelves reminds me of the color I picked to paint my craft room, and before I can start to stress out about all that's involved with that, I take a deep breath and scroll again.

Take a moment to visually travel Pinterest. If it leads you to warm, happy thoughts, linger on those for a bit. If you're reminded of something unpleasant, recognize those feelings (don't ignore them), but move on and find something else to linger on.

Remember to include people or companies in your following list that offer content that visually refreshes you, not just offers links and tricks and DIY's (though we like those too, for other great reasons). If you haven't already, please consider including Help Your Hero's boards in your following list. You'll be amazed at how beautiful images mixed into your Pinterest feed can enhance your mood after just a minute or two of browsing. And you don't even have to make a trip to the museum.


Director of User Experiences