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Your Instagram Addiction Is Actually Making You Happier

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At this point, we're pretty used to hearing about all the ways social media is ruining our lives. Several studies have come out in support of the #digitaldetox, finding that the more time you spend scrolling through your news feed, the sadder you are. (How Bad Are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Mental Health?)

But there may be one social media habit that actually makes you happier IRL, according to the latest research. Researchers at University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business performed nine experiments in the lab and in the field to analyze how constantly whipping out your phone to snap Instagram-worthy shots actually impacts your enjoyment of the experience.

In one experiment, they sent two groups of participants on a double decker bus tour of Philadelphia. One group was told to simply enjoy the ride and take in the sights, while the other was given digital cameras and told to snap pics along the way. Surprisingly, the group that took photos actually reported enjoying the tour more than the group who was free of digital devices. In another experiment, one group of participants was instructed to take food photos while they ate lunch and those who left the table with some Instagram-worthy snaps reported enjoying their meals more than those who ate phone-free. (Psst... Here's The Science Behind Your Social Media Addiction.)

In the findings, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers concluded that taking photos of an experience actually makes you enjoy it more, not less. Consider this the justification for constantly posting to your Instagram!

According to the researchers, the physical act of taking photos makes us look at the world a little differently and a little more intentionally—contrary to the belief that constantly having your phone out to take pics takes you out of the moment.

And even if you are committed to your digital detox, you can get the same enjoyment enhancing effects by taking mental snaps and being intentional about noticing all the Instagram-worthy moments, say the researchers. Of course, if you want your social media profiles to benefit too, you'll have to actually whip out your iPhone.

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