Three Time-Saving Hacks for Finding Happiness and Relaxation

Three things that seem to be in high demand and short supply these days are time, happiness, and relaxation.  Today I’m going to show you how to find them in some surprising places from some unexpected sources.  It’s funny how easily they could be had but how elusive they are until we get a few hints.

The Surprising Sources for Happiness

Something we all have (and sometimes have too much of!) is pictures.  They’re on phones, cameras, computers, and social media.  I believe this leads to an all too common way of thinking about pictures:  big deal.  But pictures and memories are a much bigger deal than we think.

In fact, pictures have been shown to increase happiness!  Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” says pictures make us happy for many reasons, including:

  • They help us remember people, places, and activities we love.
  • Pictures help us remember happy times from the past, which makes us happier in the present.
  • A photo can sometimes replace a thing we love.  (Think about something that was broken or old or impractical to keep–a photo lets it live forever with you.)
  • Taking photos increases creativity.

Dr. Peter Naish did a study on how viewing photographs lifts your mood when compared to other common ways to do so like eating or drinking.  Looking at photos increased mood by 11%, whereas eating, drinking, watching TV/movies, or listening to music increased mood only 1%.  He found, too, that looking at pictures even helped people relax more!  After viewing photos, people reported a 22% increase in relaxation!  (Incidentally, drinking wine came in at 14% and eating chocolate came in at 8%.)

And it’s more than just pictures–it’s what’s behind them.  In the mid-1990s, Dr. Marshall Duke from Emory University took a close look at the American family.  Dr. Duke’s wife, Sara, had noticed something about the children she worked with:  the ones who knew a lot about their families did better when challenges arose.  So Dr. Duke and a colleague, Dr. Robyn Fivush, decided to further examine this theory.  Through their “Do You Know?” study, they found that kids who were connected to their families by knowing family stories were more resilient and had higher self-esteem.  They also had a greater sense of control over their own lives, even in the face of crisis.

The Trick to Tapping Into Happiness, Relaxation, and Strength

The only trick to using photos and memories and family stories for increased happiness, relaxation, connection, resilience, and strength is that you have to have a way to access them.  If I sit back and try to remember family stories, none come to mind all that quickly (especially when I need them).  When I brainstorm (either alone or with others) and then write them down, I have a place to go to when I need my family stories.  Same goes for pictures.  If they’re unorganized or in too many places, they’re just overwhelming–they’re not useful for happiness, relaxation, or strength.  But if I put them into a book or scrap page and write my memories with them, they’re there the instant I need a lift.

Many people don’t do much with their photos these days because of overwhelm and too little time.  There’s also a pervading false notion that you have to be a scrapbooker in order to do something with your photos.  I’ve been a memory-keeper, preserving my photos and memories and stories, for as long as I can remember.  Since 2005, I’ve been helping other people do the same.  So today I’ll share with you the best time hacks I know of for making time for your photos and memories so you can get all the fabulous side-effects of memory-keeping.

First, if disorganized and cluttered photos makes getting started difficult, there are several photo organization tools and resources (including a video) right there at that link.

My Three Favorite Time Hacks to Make Memory-Keeping Doable

One requirement for memory-keeping is time.  That’s true of everything, right?  Learning something, helping someone, Christmas shopping, reading, cooking.  Everything requires time.  Because of busy schedules as well as the pervading sense of busy-ness in our culture, it’s more important than ever to make time for something as important as our photos and memories.  I have a whole collection of ideas and time management helps from experts at that link, but one of my favorite ways to “find” time for memory-keeping is called a Digi-Crop.  I’ve been doing this for years and years.  Here’s what a Digi-Crop is and how it can help you:

Another great time-saver hack for getting memory-keeping done is to ask for help!  If you’re writing a family story, the fabulous gals at can help!  If you’re trying to get some photos and memories preserved in books or scrap pages, check out Scrapbooking For Hire.   Scrapbooking For Hire can be anything you want it to be, from basic tips on where to even start to helping you with photo organization or the actual creating of digital books or scrap pages.  Sometimes you just need ideas and directions, and sometimes you need a partner.

My number one favorite memory-keeping time hack is this video, How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Photos.  There is some important information at the beginning about why digital photos aren’t exactly everything they’re cracked up to be.  There are some strategies at the beginning of the video, too, for how to stop overwhelm (such as just picking your favorite photos to preserve).  (Skip the technical difficulty from 27:11-34:05.)  This video is about strategies, for sure, but the yearbook and the premise behind it, in my opinion, is the best solution I’ve ever seen.

There’s No Time Like THIS Time

Pictures seem to be one of the easiest things to put off.  They pile up on cameras and phones, and before you know it, you’re swimming in them.  But memories fade far faster than we think they will, and digital photos left in digital form are always at the mercy of technology.  If you’re serious about increasing your own happiness, relaxation, strength, and well-being, there’s no time like this time.  Why on earth would you wait?  Take advantage of the hacks I’ve shared, or contact me with your specific needs and questions.  I can direct you to a lot of free resources and helps and guides, and I can be your Scrapbooking For Hire if you need a memory-keeping partner, too.

Whatever you do, #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs


Jennifer Wise

consultant at Heritage Makers
I'm Jennifer, and I'm passionate about connections.I enjoy helping people discover the very real benefits of preserving stories, photos, and memories because of the impact they have on children, families, and individuals. I blog weekly at sharing tips, ideas, solutions, and inspiration, and I'm over at, too. Learn more about me at the "About" tab.

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6 thoughts on “Three Time-Saving Hacks for Finding Happiness and Relaxation

  1. I love this, thanks so much for sharing! It’s good to be reminded of how important pictures are. You’ve got me thinking that I should start a memory keeper for our house (going from ugly fixer-upper to cute & remodeled!)…it would be so much fun to be able to look back at those pictures later on! 🙂 #heartandsoullinkup

    • Thanks so much, Shannon! Oh, yes–taking before and after pictures is really fun, and it’s also really satisfying to see what all your work has done. I love doing that. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • It really is a simple way to get done what we kind of always mean to do. 😉 I’d LOVE to have you join one. The next one will be in the new year, so hopefully you will be all settled in your new house by then. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  2. So much good information and ideas here! I’ve noticed the little boost I feel when I get new family pictures up on the wall, now I just need to get to the ones I’ve been putting off! Thanks! #heartandsoullinkup