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3 Kinds of Selfie Takers Out There: Which Kind Are You?

3 Kinds of Selfie Takers Out There: Which Kind Are You?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

What kind of selfie do you usually snap? Is it one with an obscene amount of editing to look glamorous? Is it one of you and the family at dinner or out in some exotic location on vacation? Or is it a pic of you and a volunteer crew at a charity event? When you hashtag and share it, what does that selfie say about you? What is the message you are trying to send?

Before we have talked about the dangers of obsessive selfie taking, and I have personally related to how the ‘selfie society’ of today could be risky for those struggling with addiction or mental health concerns, presenting issues with narcissism or relating to depression when correlated an obsession with social media. So what kind of selfies contribute to these issues?

Well, that much might be said about all of them, depending on who you ask. The one question that might hit closer to home is- what kind of selfie taker are you?

Recent a group of BYU communications master’s students, feeling themselves surrounded by the selfie-saturated culture that is social media, decided to ask the question: what is the method to the selfie madness? This has proven to not just be a millennial problem, because your uncle and aunt do it, just like your bosses and teachers. Grandma might not be all that good at it, but she takes plenty of selfies anyway.

So why do people of all ages, cultures, genders and religions take and share selfies?

Are We All Narcissists?

Some people would say that ‘this generation’ is so self-absorbed, but again; it isn’t just one group. The answer, at least one we hear so often, is simply narcissism. But are we all narcissists?

Naaaaaaah, can’t be.

Actually, in a study recently published in Visual Communication Quarterly, those same five BYU student researchers took a closer look. In their data they show that individuals’ motives often range far past self-obsession. Sometimes our selfies are actually taken with purpose, whether we notice or not.

Steven Holiday, who completed his master’s in 2015 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, is one of the co-authors. Of this latest topic Holiday states,

“It’s important to recognize that not everyone is a narcissist,”

So to be clear on the idea of true narcissism and the connection we often misguidedly make to selfies, we should look at the definition. To refresh your memory:

  • Narcissism is defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) – is a condition that is estimated to affect only 1% of the population.

After analyzing survey results and interviews, researchers say they can identify three categories of selfie-takers:

  1. Communicators

These are individuals who take selfies primarily to engage with others for some reason. They don’t just do it for their face on a cause, but to draw followers into a conversation. One of the survey’s co-authors and current student Maureen “Mo” Elinzano states,

“They’re all about two-way communication,”

So it isn’t about the spotlight on them, it’s about shining to give others a reason to shine.

An example of this is when the election season came around and everyone, including celebrities, took an “I voted” selfie to plaster on Instagram. These photos aren’t (always) meant to brag about the individual, they are about calling others to action. People talk a lot about opinions on social media, so some people take a selfie as an opportunity to inspire action.

  1. Autobiographers

This type of selfie taker uses the art of the selfie as a tool to record key events in their lives. This autobiography isn’t necessarily to show off to their followers, but to try and preserve significant memories for themselves and their loved ones.

This group of selfie takers does also want others to see their photos and enjoy them, but they aren’t necessarily doing it for the feedback. They are cataloging their lives for their own benefit, not for the engagement that the Communicators are.

For example, plenty of people will have entire albums on Facebook dedicated to specific trips or events. They don’t (always) organize these specifically for likes as much as they do for their trips down memory lane.

  1. Self-publicists

This infamous category is the one everyone typically assumes a selfie taker falls into, but it is actually the smallest of the three groups. These are the ones who are closely linked to more narcissistic characteristics.

The coauthor Harper Anderson states the self-publicists “are the people who love documenting their entire lives,”

Harper Anderson, who is also now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, went on to say that in recording and sharing their entire lives, these selfie takers are hoping to present their narrative in a trendy and desirable light.

Think the Kardashians. Without any real sustenance, these selfies are just for the sake of “look at me everyone” without actually having a connection to a cause.

The Collage

Personally, I present the idea of a collage style world where sometimes we blur these lines a bit. Some people may read these three types and say “I do all of these” and I get that. Perhaps we are all likely to have varied traits, but perhaps we can admit that one of these styles is our dominant selfie taking self. In this event, we can more closely examine if we are impacting our mental health; maybe even that of others.

Holiday went on to describe that identifying and categorizing the three groups is valuable in part because-

“…it’s a different kind of photography than we’ve ever experienced before…I can go on Facebook or Instagram and see that people have a desire to participate in a conversation. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves and get some kind of return on that expression.”

Another co-author Matt Lewis states

“…years from now, our society’s visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies. To find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general.”

Our world isn’t just one picture at a time. Every moment is a collage of events happens simultaneously. We exchange the currency of our stories through an ever-expanding network of social media sites and while at times we may seem obsessive or impulsive, at least we are trying to use our new tools to connect.

It may seem strange, but I do think that regardless of whether you’re climbing a mountain in Africa, raising awareness for people struggling somewhere, or simply showing off your new hair-cut, we all have something to offer.

We all have something worth sharing.

Take that selfie. Post it. Let the “double tap” fall where it may.

The selfie is like a socially accepted addiction, and while mental health has been a close conversation to it, we hope that we can continue to learn from our compulsions and be able to help others. Mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse frequently co-exist. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Lighten Up Already: How Not to Take Life So Seriously

Lighten Up Already: How Not to Take Life So Seriously

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

By Cheryl Steinberg

It’s easy to get caught up in daily life and lose perspective. There are many different takes on the meaning of life and everyone is entitled to their own interpretation. However, here are some tips to letting go of the stress and insecurities we sometimes feel when we start thinking it’s us against the world.

It’s my belief that levity is the spice of life. Sometimes, you gotta laugh to keep from crying. So, lighten up already! Here’s how not to take life so seriously.

  1. Everything is ridiculous

I’ll explain. Look around you. As much as there are serious and even bad things that are happening (i.e. violence, war, inequality), the world is full of ridiculous people who go around hating others because they hate themselves, taking themselves too seriously (i.e. taking numerous selfies and waiting for the ‘likes’ to roll in), watching stupid TV shows, and in the end, we all die. Death doesn’t discriminate. The world is a ridiculous place. Don’t take it so seriously.

  1. Don’t take sh!t personally

Cliché, I know, and easier said than done. But, as you get older and wiser, you’ll realize that all the stuff that you used to worry about: how you look or what someone thinks about you – is simply a waste of energy. You’ll realize how foolish and even torturous you were to yourself and for no good reason. As a very popular Disney movie advises: Let it go.

  1. Money doesn’t buy happiness

OK, well having some money can make you happy in the sense that you aren’t worrying about having enough money for groceries after you’ve paid your bills (welcome to the working poor!) because well, you’re not anxious about covering your basic needs. But, what studies have found is that people’s sense of happiness increases as their pay increases – but only up to a certain point ($75,000/year to be specific – which I would be more than happy to take home annually). After that, your degree of happiness actually begins to decline.

What’s most important is what you’re spending your money on. If it’s the newest gadgets and clothes, then your feelings of happiness are fleeting. Spending money on experiences is where it’s at. Going on vacation with family or good friends, for example, leaves you with an experience as well as memories that last a lifetime.

  1. Worrying changes nothing

Now, it’s impossible to go through life without a care in the world and it’s probably even a bit dangerous – if you’re not concerned about your health or welfare for example. But, you shouldn’t let worrying occupy your mind. It’s pointless. This is a good time to invoke #1 on this list and find a way to laugh about your troubles. You might be surprised at how much this can help. Besides lightening your mood, you might just find a creative solution to whatever your problem(s) is.

  1. Everybody is going to die (yes, even you)

Did you know that if you make it to the age of 90 years old, you will have lived less than 800,000 hours, and a third of that is spent sleeping?! Don’t waste your waking hours getting all worked up about life. Focus on the present and take advantage of what you have.

  1. You’re a very small thing in a very big universe

Now, this isn’t to say that you – or anybody else – are insignificant. But, keeping a perspective on just how infinite this world is and on just how little time and (space) you will occupy on Earth should help you to remember to practice numbers 1, 4, and 5 (really, all of the things on this list).

Substance abuse and drug addiction is no laughing matter; it’s a life-or-death disease that requires intervention and treatment. And while coping with your own or a loved one’s addiction may be made easier with some healthy doses of humor, it’s important to reach out for help. We are available 24/7 to take your call and help you figure things out. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135.

The Tragedy of Selfies and Thinspiration

The Tragedy of Selfies and Thinspiration

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

The ‘Selfie’ is an expression of this generation in many ways, both humorous yet frightening. The Selfie itself is being considered in some circles as its own brand of addiction, and could be considered a personality disorder trait, or some kind of compulsive obsession. The same has been said about eating disorders, and I think no one would argue that both are obsessions can be tragic and devastating, so how strong is their connection?

Selfies may seem like a harmless example of how much our culture has changed, or it may seem like another symptom indicative of narcissism. But the obsession among young people in our modern society with capturing and posting self-portraits to social media is reportedly creating a very real rise in eating disorders according to some experts, and that is a truly terrifying truth.

Ask the Experts

Dr. Alex Yellowlees is a psychiatrist at The Priory Group, which is one of the United Kingdom’s biggest eating disorder treatment providers. Dr Yellowlees has practiced at the Priory Hospital Glasgow for the last 11 years, and says young people today are more vulnerable to the pressures to be thin due to a rising trend of people posting photos of their weight loss ( and often starvation) “progress” online through formats like Facebook or Instagram.

The Priory Group has seen a few indications of this growing concern with eating disorders in the past year, such as:

  • 15% increase in adult patients seeking treatment for eating disorders in the last year.
  • The number of middle-aged patients with eating disorders has nearly doubled in a year.

Dr. Yellowlees believes people’s growing instinct and urge to take and share photos ‘selfies’ is making a fairly large contribution to the increase. He stated,

“Some people will take repeated pictures of themselves at various stages of their illness, and send them to others. They want to keep a record of their illness and see for themselves, as it were, the progress they think they are making towards anorexia, but they will also transmit the images to other sufferers on occasions.”

So people taking photos of themselves through various stages of trying to look thinner through unhealthy means can progressively become part of the compulsive selfie obsession, and with theories about things like Facebook depression and addiction to social media, it seems like a perfect storm.

In addition to the mounting “selfie culture” that the world seems entangled in today, the evolution of technology has its part in feeding the rise in eating disorders. Things like smartphone apps which calculate calorie intake and encourage weight loss, or sites dedicated to “thinspiration” only magnify the harmful habits.

The Terror of “Thinspirtation”

These “thinspiration” sites are online forums where users encourage each other to starve and indulge in other unhealthy weight loss techniques to lose weight. These are often blogs that help serve as a visual and interactive platform for Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia (Pro-anorexia and Pro-Bulimia) communities of young tweens and teens. While work out tips and pictures of fit women are posted, so are the opposite: pictures of rib cages, clavicles and thigh gaps.  Even photos from the far end of the health spectrum – food dripping grease and obese people – are posted, with the goal being to instill ‘disgust’ in the viewer.

The users tend to post their current weight and goals, and use negative self-talk to inspire themselves and encourage each other’s behavior. Dr. Yellowlees states that many of these pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia sites are “definitely still active,” even with the combined efforts to ban them that have been implemented by social media sites and Internet providers. Yellowlee said,

“Eating disorders are like a form of ‘psychological malignancy’ and should be taken very seriously by society. This includes anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. The latter is more common as people get into adulthood and is linked to depression.”

During my research for this article, I investigated a few “Thinspiration” sites, and what I came across was troubling to say the least. Things like blogs about how to properly starve yourself, and comment segments where young people (particularly young women) pledged allegiance to the eating disorders they used to reach their desired weights.

One site even listed what it labeled as the “Thin Commandments” which included such appalling and tragic statements as “being thin is more important than being healthy” and “thou shalt not eat without feeling guilty.”

Visiting these sites, one of the typical center-pieces was a gallery of ‘selfies’ where young women in particular would post self-portraits dedicated to the progression and severity of their eating disorders. While I myself am a recovering ‘selfie-holic’, I’m troubled by how the ‘selfie culture’ seems to fuel this kind of self-deprecating and depressive behavior in so many young people.

While I do applaud people who set fitness goals and strive to make themselves feel better or possibly look different in healthy and positive ways, this is a sad and sickly side of that, in my opinion. Too many beautiful and amazing individuals obsess over their image by constantly sharing and comparing their appearance. It creates this vicious cycle of “take a picture– share it– hate it– hate yourself– hurt yourself– take more pictures (repeat)” and it is heartbreaking young people subject themselves to such harmful strategies. Self-worth determined by an unhealthy lie.

It’s like we as a society are reaching the point where the camera truly does take our souls, slowly but surely, and replaces it with vanity, doubt, envy or disgust until we lose the ability to love ourselves and in turn love others. How many people will starve themselves, just to feed into that selfie culture? How many today will pose for the camera, and tell the world to eat their heart out, so they don’t have to?

Disordered eating and compulsive behavioral issues can be as oppressive and life-threatening as drug addiction and alcoholism, and they can make those suffering just as isolated and helpless. But there are people out there committed to helping you recover from thes afflictions so you can see what a truly beautiful and amazing person you are. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

Facebook Wants to Stop You From Embarrassing Yourself

Facebook Wants to Stop You From Embarrassing Yourself

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

 By Cheryl Steinberg

Facebook is investing in research into software for artificial intelligence that can do anything from read your status updates to warn you when you’re about to post an embarrassing picture.

The social network’s top minds want to build software that can stop people from uploading drunk, or otherwise embarrassingly awkward, selfies.

Basically, Facebook wants to stop you from embarrassing yourself

Creepy? Yes. Helpful? Possibly. It just may save you from yourself.

Basically, in virtual-reality terms, it would be like having a personal assistant tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Uh, just a reminder, this is being posted publicly. Are you sure you want your boss or your mom to see this?”

This is more than just a simple suggestion. Yann LeCun, a researcher at New York University and a recognized “machine-learning guru,” now oversees the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab – a team of AI researchers with the internet social media giant that spans the country coast-to-coast, with offices in both California and New York.

Some – if not many – Facbookers, as well as outside observers, will probably find this use of AI where Facebook’s robots try to censor their content all too reminiscent a dystopian future, like those we’ve seen depicted in recent movies, such as The Hunger Games, Minority Report, Surrogates – to only name a few.

There’s a specific branch of AI research that enables these kinds of uses and features. Known as “deep learning,” it could lead to some really cool stuff. However, the plans that Facebook has for its usages is a touch “off.”

Yann LeCun, a pioneer of deep learning research and the head of Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research lab, recently told Wired, “Imagine that you had an intelligent digital assistant which would mediate your interaction with your friends and also with content on Facebook.”

LeCun has also suggested that Facebook could apply deep learning technology to Oculus Rift, an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display for virtual gaming. But, it kind of sounds like LeCun wants to apply deep learning technology to everything. “You need a machine to really understand content and understand people and be able to hold all that data,” LeCun said. “That is an AI-complete problem.”

I mean, do we really need – or want – a machine to be able to understand us? Where do we draw a line between technology enhancing life and eerily, realistically mimicking life?

The use of AI truly brings up deeply philosophical concerns. Steven Spielberg touched on this in the movie, A.I. Artificial Intelligence. What if artificial intelligence machines “decide” to revolt, leading to a world like that depicted in I, Robot?

But, even before going down that rabbit hole; basically-speaking, do we really want Facebook to censor us?

Too many drunk and embarrassing selfies on your Facebook, documenting your spiral out of control? Before social media and the smart phone, we mostly had to rely on witness accounts from friends and family about our blackouts, meltdowns, and basic hot-mess-iness. Nowadays, we don’t have to take their word for it; we can turn to our own photos – that we probably forgot we took and uploaded to for all to see. If you’re tired of this, or know someone who fits this description, help is available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We can help, day or night.

12 Things That Should Be on Your Bucket List

12 Things That Should Be on Your Bucket List

By Cheryl Steinberg

You might be surprised to find that none of the following 12 things that should be on your bucket list include extreme adventures such as sky-diving or bungee jumping. Instead, these are the things most commonly uttered on people’s death beds as the things they wish they had done more in their lifetime.

It’s said, you should always listen to your elders and – adding a recovery “twist” – take suggestions. People who are older (whether literally or figuratively – in that they have had more life experiences) can offer us great wisdom.

The following is a list of things that people at the end of their lives have shared as the things they wish they had done more in their lives.

12 Things That Should Be on Your Bucket List:

#1. Have the courage to live a life that’s true to YOU

This is the most common regret of all people at the end of their life. Most people had not honored as much as half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was because of their own choices – ones they made or hesitated to make.

Bottom line: don’t live the life that others expect of you to.

I know that, for me, I have often done things out of obligation, forgoing the things I wanted to do because I thought I needed to live up to someone else’s standards, or else put others’ needs ahead of my own.

#2. Not work so hard

It’s true, many of us have a strong sense of duty and this often translates into working long and hard hours, when we could be spending time with our loved ones. Don’t miss out on life’s special moments. Before you know it, the children have grown and your partner has grown distant. Working too much means that you’re going to miss out on the good parts of life, or else be too stressed to enjoy them

#3. Have the courage to express your feelings

If you’re in recovery, then you know the importance of not holding a grudge because that can lead to resentment and resentment, in turn, can lead to relapse.

Well, even for people who are not recovering addicts and alcoholics – normies – many realized that they had bottled up their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. This can lead to illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment that they carried. Remember, there truly is a mind-body-spirit connection.

#4. Stay in touch with my friends but be willing to let go of others

It’s easy – and common – to become so caught up in your own life, which results in the loss of truly “golden friendships.” Many people, at the end, have deep regrets about not giving the necessary time and effort that their friendships deserved in order to be sustained.

On the other hand, it’s important to let friendships naturally run their course. Sometimes people drift apart, and that’s OK. Forcing that connection could do more damage than good.

#5. Let yourself be happy

Also a very common one. Many people didn’t realize until the end that happiness is a choice. In retrospect, they admitted, they were stuck in old patterns and habits. They often sold themselves out to the comfort of familiarity. They also realized that they let the fear of change keep them from growing and allowed that fear to convince them that they were content with the way things were.

#6. Don’t miss out on opportunities

Such as the chance to go see your favorite musicians. After all, you never know when your favorite band might break up. It’s certainly good to be smart with your spending but, money spent on experience rather than on material things is often what brings us more happiness.

#7. Wear sunscreen

OK, so as a ginger, I might be standing on my soapbox a little but, it’s true, sun damage adds up over the years, causing wrinkles and discoloration and worse – cancer.

#8. Make physical fitness a priority

And eat right, too. As the saying goes, “You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health.” As you get older you’ll realize how important it is to take care of your body.

#9. Don’t let yourself be defined by others

Gender roles and cultural expectations are purely made up. Define yourself; don’t let society do it for you. Do what you love and do it unapologetically.

#10. Quit your job if you hate it

It’s true, you need to be able to afford food and rent but, you can’t force yourself to be miserable every day.

#11. Don’t be self-absorbed

In the era of the selfie, it seems more and more people think the world revolves around them, alone. There is more to the world than just you and eventually you’ll realize that. Get involves with your community.

#12. Stop caring too much about what other people think

This is something that I have really begun to embrace and, let me tell you, it’s liberating! When you’re older, you’ll realize that the opinions of others actually don’t have anything to do with your true happiness. So stop wasting your energy on things that don’t matter.

Life is too short to be miserable. If you’re out there struggling with alcohol or other drugs, that’s no way to live. It’s not too late to make a change for the better and start living life to its fullest. Many people let the fear of change and the fear of the unknown hold them back. But, there’s a better way and recovery is possible. Don’t regret it before it’s too late. Call an Addiction Specialist toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 today.

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