Self

Why People Who Take Pictures Of Everything Are Happier, Says Study

Photo: RB_Media / Shutterstock
woman behind camera

A 2016 study found that your friends who are constantly taking photographs might be whole lot happier than your friends living camera-free. 

In the study 2000 people were given cameras and asked to participate in different activities — some with the camera and some without.

After the study, they were asked how much fun they had during each activity. 

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It turns out, that the activities they were the happiest doing were also the ones where they took the most photographs. 

Selfies for science! 

Commenting on the results one researcher working on the study said, "We show that, relative to not taking photos, photography can heighten the enjoyment of positive experiences by increasing engagement.”

Presented this way, photos as the key to happiness make a lot of sense. 

*Pauses writing article to take many selfies to commemorate this beautiful moment.* 

And the fact that it's me saying this really means something.

I'll tell you why. 

When I was in high school I hated how obsessed everyone seemed to be with taking photos. 

It felt like I spent most of my senior prom posing for pictures, or waiting for someone to be done taking another picture. 

I was totally baffled. It's not that I didn't get the importance of building memories of life's special moments, but more that I worried that in being so obsessed with capturing them on film we miss those special moments when they are actually happening. 

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In spite of what this study might indicate, I still kind of feel this way. 

How else can I explain the hackles that rise on the back of my neck when I see a teenage tourist wrangling a selfie stick?

To me, people who take photographs obsessively and constantly are always going to miss out on the feeling of being in the moment.

But maybe that's just not true for them. Maybe the moment for them is more than the present one they exist in. Maybe for them "the moment" extends to the period of time long after it's over when they can look back at photographs and smile. 

That idea warms my belly. 

But I'm still skeptical. 

For some of the moments in my life that have meant the most to me, there were no cameras in sight. 

I don't think these experiences are less valuable because I didn't take photographs. If anything, they are more precious because the only proof those moments ever even happened exists within my mind. 

It was William Wordsworth who, when talking about memory, said "the inner eye, which is the bliss of all solitude." 

I do take more photographs now than I ever did growing up, but that's not exactly because I'm happier. It's because I have a smartphone. 

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I don't know that I buy this study 100%, but I do know that anything a person can do to help themselves be happier without hurting anyone else is a thing I can get behind. 

So click away, selfie-takers!

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a humor and lifestyle writer for Yourtango.com.

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