What a daily selfie does to your mood

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Sunday 25 September 2016 10:15
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Picture:(SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

All those snapchats could actually be making you happier.

A study published in the Psychology of Well-Being publication shows that taking selfies on a daily basis improves your happiness.

Psychologists at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) investigated ways technology can improve the happiness of university students, specifically how taking of photographs can relieve stress.

Seeing as nearly all college students carry around a mobile phone, Yu Chen, of UCI's department of Informatics, decided to draw upon a mobile phone's stress relieving functions.

In the study, 41 students took part (28 women and 13 men), completing a general questionnaire and informal interview about their happiness before the tests.

The participants were split into three groups. The first group took daily selfies, the second group took photos of things which made them happy, and the third took photos of something they thought would make somebody else happy.

During the four week long study, the participants recorded how they were feeling at three points in the day using a smart phone app.

The results, which included nearly 2,900 measurements, showed that all three groups experienced increased positive moods.

These 'increases' manifested themselves differently in each group.

For the selfie group it was a person's confidence and comfort that increased, and they noted their smiles changing to reflect this.

The group taking photos of things that made them happy recorded being more reflective and appreciative.

Finally, those photographing things to make others happy were calmer, and said they had a better connection with their families, which in turn relieved stress.

Senior author of the study and professor Gloria Mark spoke about this example of technology improving mental health rather than detracting from it.

You see a lot of reports in the media about the negative impacts of technology use, and we look very carefully at these issues here at UCI...But there have been expanded efforts over the past decade to study what's become known as 'positive computing,' and I think this study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users.

HT Science Daily

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