If you smile enough, and see yourself doing it, and share it with friends and family, you may actually make yourself happier, at least according to researchers at the University of California at Irvine reporting in the journal Psychology of Well-Being. The team tracked 41 college students' moods for a week before they downloaded a survey app on their smartphone and were divvied into three groups: those asked to take a selfie every day, those asked to take a daily photo of something that normally makes them happy, and those asked to take a daily photo of something they thought someone else would enjoy and send it to that person. By the end of the month everyone reported improved moods. The researchers were tracking a broad range of mood measures—2,897 in all, ranging from comfortable to reflective and appreciative—that the students documented throughout the month, reports Mother Jones.
Specifically, they found that the selfie takers became more confident, the people who photographed objects that made them happy became more appreciative, and the people who took photos for others became calmer and more connected. The overall results did not surprise the team, the lead researcher tells Live Science, though "we were surprised to find that participants who took photos that made other people happy and sent the photos became significantly calmer." One possibility: feeling more connected to others has been shown to increase calmness. Either way, snap away—so long as you do it in moderation, as the Daily Lounge reported last year. (Selfies can also be fatal.)