A new study from the University of California, Irvine, found taking selfies and sharing photos with your friends can boost your happiness. So if you loathe ’em it is time to make a change and start loving ’em.
Participants in the study were randomly assigned to take one of three different photos over a three-week period to help the researchers determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact your mood.
Participants either took a daily selfie while they were smiling, an image of something that made them happy, or a pic of something they thought would make a friend happy – which they then had to send to that mate. Think: texting your foodie friend your morning smoothie bowl.
The participants’ moods were recorded during the first “control” week and then during the three-week study. Researchers collected nearly 2900 mood measurements and found all three groups experienced increased positive moods.
"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," said the study’s lead author Yu Chen. One of the upsides of the selfies was that some participants reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smiling photos over time.
But if you feel awks about selfies, don’t stress – you don’t have to be in the pic to get wellbeing benefits. For example, the participants taking photos of objects that made them happy became more reflective and appreciative. Plus those who sent pics to their pals became calmer and felt the connection with their friends and family helped ease their stress. The take-away: don’t be afraid to clog up your camera roll.