Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Over The (Adobe) Bridge and back to Mexico

I'm reading a fascinating book right now, "Buddha's Brain," by Rick Hanson. The book is written by a psychologist who talks about how our brain benefits from contemplative practices, like mindfulness, or meditation, or brushing the dog. . . anything that activates our parasympathetic nervous system brings tremendous rewards in reducing stress and inducing a sense of happiness.

It turns out that mental activity has a greater direct influence over the autonomic nervous system (of which the parasympathetic nervous system is part), than any other system. When you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which you can do through mental activity, you can have "calming, soothing, healing ripples spread through your body, brain and mind."

And guess what! Most of the brain's mental activity is spent on nonverbal activities, such as processing mental pictures. All this is a fancy way of saying that imagery can be a powerful anchor for well-being. So if you're feeling stressed at work, imagining a peaceful scene. . . like in Mexico. . .can bring you all kinds of physical and emotional benefits!

So, fire up your Bridge program in Photoshop and head back to someplace wonderful, and bask in those neurotransmitters!

And what better way for me to do that than through a photo like this:

In March, while we were in Mexico, we went down into a cool cenote, and is was unbelievably peaceful and tranquil, even with bats flying overhead. And look at these two lovelies, Dianna and her soon-to-be sister-in-law, sweet, wonderful, Elizabeth:

I wasn't as brave as they were to climb down the rock to the water, but watching them splash and the play of light on the water was mesmerizing. . .

Photography in a cenote is a bit challenging. Flash would bounce against the water too much, but thanks to a greatly boosted ISO (6400), and noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw, a rock to use as a tripod, I could still use an f/5.6 setting, and 1/30 shutter speed.



7 comments:

Amanda said...

These are the neatest photos! I can see why it is relaxing to you. Was the water warm or cold? I always picture a snowy mountain scene when I need to relax.

Margaret said...

Great post! I love the ideas you talked about from the book. Definitely need to put that on my 'to read' list! :) Your pictures are amazing, too, especially in such a challenging lighting situation.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Oh I didn't know that second part. Although I've believed that stress and illness are related, I thought it was just one of my unproven beliefs. I didn't know that the mental activity/automatic nervous system thing was accepted or proven or anything.

Anyway, looks lovely! Have you read any Barbara Kingsolver? These pictures remind me of her most recent book - The Lacuna it's called.

Nicki said...

I'm admit it, I had to google this, it looks too cool. Personally, knowing what comes out of the mountain into the natural spring waters from where I grew up (uhm, snakes!) I would have to pass on dipping into unknown waters, but they do look most refreshing (and I've been to Chichén Itzá - in August no less -- so I know how good that water would feel).

pat said...

Oh goodness, that looks so refreshing. Great job with those lighting conditions!

Reds said...

Wow - scared of bats - but how wonderful to be able to swim there!! Great shots!!

Barb said...

Beautiful pictures. How nice that you can swim in there. Whenever I want to feel calm or go to sleep I imagine myself at one of my favorite spots on the beach of Florida and I also imagine a warm sun. It really works.