Smile and take a selfie, and you’ll feel your confidence grow, study suggests

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Taking selfies might be joked about and mocked endlessly, but a recent study shows that these images have effects that go far beyond just sharing your face with the world — they can actually make you happy.

According to a recent journal titled “Psychology of Well-Being,” a team of researchers found that taking daily self portraits can help increase a person’s overall mood and fight off the feeling of stress and loneliness.

Admittedly, the sample size and study length are small, consisting of just 41 college students over the course of three weeks. So view the information with some skepticism. Nonetheless, the findings are intriguing.

Each of the 41 subjects were randomly assigned to take one of three images on given days. — a smiling selfie, a photo of something that made them happy, or a photo that was supposed to make someone else happy, which they were to send to that individual. Along the way, subjects were asked to record their moods three times a day using a dedicated survey app.

Results showed that of all three groups, the individuals who were directed to take selfies of themselves smiling ended up becoming more “confident and comfortable” over time. Those who captured an image of something they liked became “more reflective and appreciative” as time went on. The group who captured and shared a photo of something they thought would make someone else happy said they felt more calm and at ease, which the researchers attributed to the better connections being made due to sending the photo.

This particular study was just one of many that seek to better understand how technology plays a role in affecting our moods and behavior on a day-to-day basis. In speaking to Yahoo about the results, Yu Chen, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral scholar in UCI’s Department of Informatics, said, “In short, just smile, take a selfie for yourself, and appreciate your smiles in the photo. That is your unique beauty.”

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