Feel better in a snap.
Taking a daily photo and posting it online can boost well-being, according to a recent study from the UK’s Lancaster University and University of Sheffield. This improvement in well-being comes from community interaction, self-care and “the potential for reminiscence,” the study authors wrote in the journal Health.
“Taking a photograph links with other offline activities, such as walking and observing, that encourage a mindful engagement with the world,” added researchers Liz Brewster and Andrew Cox.
The authors decided to look into photo-a-day as a “digital daily practice” — i.e., performing a daily task and sharing it with an online community of folks doing the same, as with a 365-day photo project or the National Novel Writing Month challenge — and see how people might use it to increase their well-being. (“Well-being” was broadly defined here as a “conceptual tool that highlights what is understood by the individual … in relation to their social context, experiences and functioning.”)
Using interviews, observations and descriptive statistics, the researchers studied eight participants ranging in age from about 20 to 60 — documenting what photos they took, the text they added and how they interacted with the photo-a-day website cohort over two months. Participants also gave a phone interview afterward.