I’m sure you have all heard the popular expression, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Well, new research studies have come up with a new and improved version of the phrase that is more up to date with today’s times, ‘A selfie a day makes for a happier life’. That’s right, for a word that didn’t even exist a decade ago, ‘selfies’ have made their way into our everyday lives. Humans love telling stories, love connecting, and love the good feelings that come from ‘likes’, comments and emojis landing underneath our photos.
Now if only we could use these ‘selfies’ beyond entertainment purposes. If only they could somehow make us happier, more confident, and less stressed. In a groundbreaking new study, researchers from the University of California have found that regularly taking ‘selfies’ and sharing them with friends can help us feel happier, calmer and more connected to those around us.
That’s right, according to clinical psychologists, taking a daily photo of yourself could actually be making you a happier person without even realizing it. So next time you are looking for a quick pick-me-up, grab your smartphone, crack a smile and click!
In a recent educational study published in the Psychology of Well-Being journal, 41 college students were randomly assigned to capture one of three images each day: a smiling ‘selfie’, something that made them happy, or something they knew would make someone else happy (followed by sending it to them). After capturing the photographs, the students were then asked to assess their mood. The results were somewhat surprising. While all three images evoked positive feelings among their respective subjects, the ‘selfie’ group reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smile while having immediate spurts of happiness following the picture taking. One participant even reported noticing less stress on her face while another stated that even when their smiles were faked, their mood was still lifted. This is supported by research which has found that faking a smile and simply performing the action of a smile without the feeling behind it can trigger a physiological response, increasing feelings of happiness.
The group that took photos of objects that made them happy, reported feeling more reflective and appreciative, while the final group reported feeling calmer knowing they had the connection to family and friends.
These results show just how important all types of photography really are to our overall mental and emotional well being. However, to take a deeper look into the connection between photographs and happiness, here are some of the positive roles they can play on our emotions.
They help us remember the past.
When you are feeling down, one of the best ways to make yourself happy is to recall positive memories from the past. Because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they are a great way to prompt our minds into remembering the good.
Taking photos can act as a diary.
People are always searching for new ways to hold onto memories. A great idea is to make a ‘one sentence journal’. To do this, take photographs to record life’s little moments that are beautiful yet so easily forgotten. Even simple photos of everyday life can be just as important as those special occasions. Later on, it will be the smaller moments in life that become the most interesting; those moments that you would have otherwise forgotten.
Photography fosters creativity.