Selfies: Could they be unhealthy?

HOUSTON – Experts are looking at whether taking and sharing too many self-images is part of a bigger problem. Often, they say, people are posting to boost their mood or compare their lives to others.

“It ends up having to do something with our brain chemistry, I think, people are trying to treat their brain, stimulate positive chemistry,” said Dr. Scott Bea from Cleveland Clinic.

A recent study looked at a group of students and related their selfie taking behavior to six categories including: self-confidence, attention  seeking, mood modification, environmental enhancement, conformity and social competition.

Researchers say that looking at the changing landscape of technology might help gain a better understanding of how over-using technology can lead to addictive behaviors.  

Bea did not take part in the research, but says that selfie-taking only becomes a problem when it causes us to become too self-aware because focusing too much on ourselves tends to enhance  bad feelings and sometimes we will take measures to try to counteract those bad feelings and they’re not always healthy. For example, a close selfie distance is prompting an uptick in  plastic surgery.

“Stay away from your phone for periods of time; try  not to access it, so that you gain governance. When we’re getting involved with our emotional brain, it really overrides our pre-frontal  cortex. The part of our brain that helps make good decisions, plan, predict the  future, consequences of our behaviors,” Bea said.

Bea said we don’t have to cut out selfies altogether to have a healthy relationship with social media.  He says it’s OK to have some fun with it, but just don’t get swept away.