The unexpected ways that photos make us happier

Because social media is such a big part of our lives, many of us document pretty much everything we do and share it virtually with our followers. This has often been written off as narcissistic (and we've even been coined the "selfie generation"), but studies show that capturing and displaying photos is actually good for your health. Here's why...

Improves self-esteem
A Snapchat study at the University of California suggests that taking Snapchats of yourself, things that make you happy and things that you believe will make others happy improves your mood. They also found that taking pictures of yourself smiling makes you feel more confident and comfortable with yourself. Participants got a mood and confidence boost, too, when people responded to their Snapchats.

Helps us recall good memories
Whether you're looking at pics on your phone or looking at the photos displayed around your room, it's more than likely that none of them are pictures of times in which you were experiencing negative emotions. Why? We don’t want to share those times with others or save them to look back on. Therefore, we mostly capture times we were happy. This is probably a good thing, too. Humans find it more difficult to recall good memories than bad memories. So our tendency to stockpile photographs allows us to pull ourselves away from negative thoughts and emotions and instead look back on the times that made us smile.

Improves honesty
Social media also makes us more truthful. Be honest: We've all gotten the urge to lie to someone about where we are or who we're with for one reason or another. However, if you post a picture on Instagram or a video on your Snapchat story, there's always something to falsify your tall tale.

Appreciation for what you have
At the end of the day, many people like to look at their own stories and posts. This isn't just to check who's seen or liked them, but to also reflect on the journey they've taken over the last 24 hours. Whether it was a big life event, a normal trip to the movies with friends or something silly that they thought would make people laugh, reflecting on these moments allows us appreciate them even after they have passed.

Do you think your photos improve your happiness? How? Let us know in the comments!

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by Maddie Smith | 3/31/2018