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Does taking more selfies make you happier?

Dec 2nd, 2016 by

Taking photos of one’s self is often thought to be addictive and unhealthy. But a recent report suggests it could actually improve your mood

Want to be happy? Lift your smartphone in the air, angle it to the best side of your face, and click – because selfies make you happy, according to a recent report. Google estimates that, in 2014, at least 93m selfies a day were posted on Android phones alone, and the Pew Research Center says more than 91% of teenagers have posted a self portrait online.

But the ubiquitous selfie irritates the hell out of anyone over 40 years of age and is more usually associated in the media with unhappy outcomes. Last year, more people died worldwide while taking selfies than from shark attacks – mostly from falling but also from being hit by vehicles and even gored by a bull. The selfie has also been linked to mental health problems. In 2014, a study from Ohio State University found that men who posted the most selfies on social media scored highest on questionnaires for narcissistic and psychopathic traits. An editorial by Dr Pankaj Shah in the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience also argued that taking selfies was addictive and that spending more than five minutes on a selfie or taking more than three to five a day may be “considered a disease”. So, when a hoax news report in 2014 claimed that Selfitis was a new mental health problem defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media”, many people believed it.

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