Kim Kardashian may have found the key to happiness! Selfies! According to a recent study, those who take selfies are actually happier than those who don't. So stop criticizing all those people for posting their outfits of the day and pictures of their night out on the town and get snapping your own pictures. Using a mood tracking app and different picture assignments, a group of students were tracked over the period of one month to see how taking pictures would affect their overall moods and the results were impressive.
The study was focusing on the ability to promote positive well-being through smartphone technology and was published in the journal Psychology of Well-Being. It had a sample size of 41 students and tracked them for one month. They were interviewed and began tracking their moods for the first week, and then at the beginning of week two they were each given an assignment. One group was given the assignment to take a photo of something that made them happy each day, the second was to take a photo each day that would make someone else happy and send it to them and the last group was given the task of taking a daily selfie.
What the researchers found was that each group actually ended the month happier then they were before. The overall increase in mood included feeling more "mindful, reflective and appreciative" for those assigned to take personal photos and the people who sent the pictures to a friend or family member felt a lot more connected to that person and calmer overall.
The most significant finding was that the group of people who took the selfies were not only in a better mood but they actually came out of the experiment feeling more confident and developed a more natural smile in images. One participant explained:
"As days went on, I got more comfortable taking photos of myself. If you feel good about yourself, then [a] selfie would be a way to capture that."
Even though the sample size is pretty small it is nice to see researchers focusing on the positive effects of technology instead of just the negatives. You can complain all you want about people's constant selfies, but the fact is they are a pretty harmless way to get a little boost in self confidence and happiness. When Van Gogh paints a self portrait it's art, when a Millennial takes a selfie it's narcissistic? Why not take advantage of the technology we have!
The study even says that the selfies helped people manage stress! Who doesn't need help with that?
Those who took photos to make others happy became much less aroused. Qualitative results showed that those in the selfie group observed changes in their smile over time; the group taking photos to improve their own affect became more reflective and those taking photos for others found that connecting with family members and friends helped to relieve stress. -Promoting Positive Affect through Smartphone Photography, Yu Chen,Gloria Mark and Sanna Ali
So go forth and take unapologetic selfies!