In 2016, snapping a selfie after voting for president is about as American as actually, well, voting.
It’s likely there will be a flood of election self-portraits in your social media feeds today. And it turns out those posters may be onto something: Selfies could be beneficial to your psychological well-being. And during a stressful time, every bit of happiness helps.
Below are just a few ways those “I Voted” snapshots can boost your mood:
Selfies in general make you happier.
Posting that election-day image on Instagram just feels good, at least according to science. Recent research published in the journal Psychology of Well-Being found that taking selfies and sharing the images with friends had a positive effect on psychological and emotional states.
You’re being proactive.
The levity of selfies aside, there’s a lot at stake today. By heading to the polls and voting, you’re being an active member of the country and partially relieving some of the election anxiety (research shows it’s a real thing!) that has been building up for the last year and a half.
“In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle,” the American Psychological Association advised last month.
By documenting your vote via a selfie, you’re immortalizing your participation and shouting to the world that you had a say in the democratic process.
Selfies could encourage your friends to vote.
That snapshot could mobilize your apathetic friends to head out and bubble in a ballot. As Drake Baer at Science of Us points out, research shows we’re compelled to vote when others do too:
Humans are social creatures. They’re also, according to the people that study democracies, social voters. So if you want your friends to vote — good idea, given the high stakes of this election — shout from every mountaintop and Facebook update that you’re voting.
The image is symbolic.
That post-ballot picture represents a great deal. For some, it’s to celebrate voting in a presidential race for the first time. For others, it’s tangible proof that they made a decision based on their values. It also means that this long, negative election is finally coming to a close.
Happy voting ― and selfie posting!