Could selfie taking be linked to happiness?

By Sanya Arora

Selfie lovers, rejoice!

Just joined the gym? Click a selfie while on the treadmill and tell the world about it! Celebrating a friend’s birthday? Snap a “groupie” and post it on Facebook! Bought a new lipstick? Take a selfie and upload it on Instagram! You don’t need an excuse to take a selfie, and now you have all the more reasons to do it- science has shown that taking more selfies can actually make you happier!

“Selfie”, a self-photograph taken with a camera or phone held in the hand or with a selfie stick, was named word of the year in 2013 by the Oxford dictionary. Ever since, social media around over the world has been flooded with people of all ages posting their selfies!

According to a study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, regularly taking selfies can have a positive effect on you.

The study was conducted on 41 college students (28 female and 13 male). Participants were made to download a survey app on their smartphones and document their moods during the first week of the study. They used a different app to take photos and recorded their emotional state over the following three weeks.

The study used three types of photos to determine how smiling, reflecting and giving affect other people’s moods. The first kind was a selfie which had to be taken every day while smiling. The second image was something that made the photographer happy. And the last was a photo of something the picture-taker believed would bring happiness to another person (which was then sent to him/her). The students were randomly allocated to take pictures of one kind.

After collecting almost 2,900 mood measurements during the study, it was found that participants in all three groups experienced increased positive moods. Some students in the selfie group reported becoming more comfortable and confident with their smiling pictures over time.

Commenting on the research, Yu Chen from University of California said “Our research showed that practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it.”

In a different study, conducted on 130 female students, researchers found that women often take selfies to boost their self-esteem. This is because supportive messages left by other uses lets them see themselves in better light.

However, it is extremely important to be careful while clicking selfies- last year, more people died worldwide while taking selfies than from shark attacks. Always be alert!

Photo credit: Bezalel Ben-Chalm

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