It is no secret that most of us are very dependent on our smartphones and social media. In fact, the average person checks their phone 85 times a day, and we spend up to two hours each day on social media sites like Facebook.
However, as bad as that might sound, new research suggests that all of our selfie-obsessed behavior online might actually be good for us! A recently published study found that taking a photo every day and posting it online actually had benefits for a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Yep, turns out selfies could be good for your mood … but why?
Lead researchers Dr. Liz Brewster of Lancaster University and Dr. Andrew Cox of the University of Shef found that when people post photos online every day, it helps to inspire self-care as well as create opportunities for connection with other people. It also helps to store those memories, so that you can later look back at the picture and reminisce with your loved ones.
Taking photos of yourself requires you to pay attention to how you look, which could make you more aware of the fact that you haven’t been getting enough sleep or that your skin is breaking out due to stress. Sure, taking lots of selfies might seem a bit narcissistic, but it could also be a helpful reminder that you need to take care of yourself and prioritize exercise, rest and nutrition.
Taking photos can also help you to “re-frame” your focus and look at the world in a new light. Participants in the study adopted a “digital daily practice” of posting one photo online per day, and one participant had this to say about the exercise of photo-taking: “Photography has been quite good for me over the years because I think it forces me to look at the world again.”
Another said, “It’s really good to be able to take that five minutes every day to do something slightly creative, which I enjoy doing and I think is good for well-being. It’s positive in that it gives me something to look for.”
The researchers found that taking a daily photo has “multi-faceted benefits for improving well-being” and that having a digital daily practice could yield surprising and far-reaching benefits for your mental health. So, go ahead — say cheese! Selfies aren’t selfish: They’re self-care.