Live in the moment this summer

Car selfies, gym selfies, bathroom selfies… We live in a world filled with selfie-takers, and you’re probably one of them. Chances are you’ve snapped one or two today already. Guilty?

Statistics show that over one million selfies are taken worldwide each day! And, with the festive season right on our doorstep, this number is likely to skyrocket. After all, if you didn’t take a selfie, it didn’t happen… right?

If you subscribe to this popular social media mantra, you may be robbing yourself of some beautiful memories instead of creating them.

Research shows that when you take photos of everything, you don’t really engage in the moment or with your thoughts and feelings at the time. You remove yourself from the present and as a result, you remember less about what you captured. Despite the thousands of photos, it’s as if the experience never happened.

The memories don’t seem as memorable anymore, and that is a real, tangible loss.

These days, photos aren’t about making memories. As soon as you put the camera to your face, the focus is no longer on the moment itself, but more about striking the perfect pose, bragging, and getting the most likes.

While there’s nothing wrong with taking the occasional selfie over the holidays, you don’t need to snap and post everything for the world to see. Enjoying your experiences, spending time with your loved ones, and making real memories are more important than capturing every meal or outfit.

Studies show that putting the camera away can improve your self-image, enhance relationships, and better your mental health. In fact, a study by the Ohio State University found that men who posted more pictures of themselves online scored higher in measures of narcissism, and even more frighteningly; a lack of empathy.

The tide against selfies may be turning. Hot tourist spots like Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong, and museums in China have recently banned selfie sticks.

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If you’re itching to take a selfie, stop and think before you snap. Look at your surroundings. Take a minute and truly appreciate what is in front of you. Don’t cheapen it by documenting it. You can’t always appreciate something fully from behind a camera lens.

And what happens after the picture has been posted and you don’t get as many likes as you imagined? What if no-one comments on your picture? What if no-one compliments your outfit or your holiday destination?

This is the minefield that selfie obsessives can land in, if not careful. Relying on others’ for validation through a posed image is no way to enjoy an experience.

Learn to live in the moment. If you miss a photo opportunity, don’t beat yourself up about it. If it’s worthwhile for you to remember, you don’t need to capture it. Keep in mind: sometimes the best memories are made not in pictures, but in your heart.

Selfie etiquette:

  • Be respectful of your surroundings. Sombre occasions and venues are not the places for sticking out your tongue in a selfie.
  • How many face selfies do you really need? Flooding your social media with a face picture every few hours is just a boring way of fishing for compliments. Be more creative with your pictures.
  • Say bye to the duck-face: forever. It’s been done. It’s over. Let it go.
  • Go easy on the suggestive posing (unless you’re comfortable with your half naked body being on the Internet forever). Think of future employers who may search you out before an interview.
  • Get silly; it’s endearing. The point of selfies is to show yourself in a natural way. So, dare to go bare on the make-up, and less than perfect hair.