A photograph to make you smile & a Coca-Cola selfie stick giveaway! #ChooseHappiness

I admit it - I love taking selfies. Not the kind like the one I saw on the news the oner day with some weirdo taking a selfie with a nasty car accident behind him in the picture or the pouty mirror poses but the sort of blurry happy (sometimes drunken) snaps of friends and family members having a wonderful time together.

I have shared quite a few on my timeline over the years, generally featuring wonky expressions, smeared makeup and badly cropped groups. They make me smile and remind me of how happy I felt at the time they were taken.

It's interesting isn't it to explore how images can make you feel?

Take a look at the photograph below – a classic shot of a couple on holiday, brilliantly photo-bombed by a squirrel.  Chances are it just made you smile. You wouldn’t be alone, as this image came top in a new poll to find the happiest photograph, with 71% of people unable to resist smiling at it.
#ChooseHappiness picture of squirrel

The survey was carried out by Coca-Cola-their mission was to identify snaps that provoke an instant happy response. 

 In a poll of 2,015 adults, this photograph - taken by a couple on holiday in Canada in 2009 – made more people smile than any other. The squirrel saw off stiff competition from photographs of beautiful landscapes, silly human antics, babies, dogs, cats and over 10 other types of animal, including social media sensation and ‘world’s happiest animal’ – the quokka.  

Other smile-inducing images making the top 10 included a gorgeous grinning baby in a pink hat, a smiling snowy owl and a curious giraffe, which all evoked smiles from seven out of 10 people, followed by a cute dog lying asleep on the grass, which had a smile score of 69%*.

To celebrate its #ChooseHappiness campaign, Coca-Cola worked with renowned picture agency Getty Images on the research.  Asked to click on photographs that made them smile, people were found to be more likely to smile at an image of a cat than at a shot of a dog. Images featuring babies made less people smile than those featuring animals. 

So why is the squirrel shot so successful at evoking a happy response?  It seems the image is layered with at least five psychological factors that have been proven to have a positive effect on the viewer.

The Photograph’s ‘Happy Anatomy’

Psychologist Dr Simon Moore breaks down the ‘happy anatomy’ of the squirrel image:

Dr Moore adds: “The unexpected element in this shot, and our response to it, may help to explain why photo-bombing has become such a popular trend – it results in an unexpected emotional experience. Sudden ‘nice’ surprises are good as psychologically we feel we got more than we were expecting.”

So what are the top tips for taking ‘happy snaps’?  Dr Moore advises: “The results of this poll suggest that the key ingredients for capturing pictures that make people smile are actually very simple.  Start with a cute – preferably baby – animal, add a beautiful, natural backdrop, a grin or two, and a (nice) surprise and you won’t go too far wrong. 

Dr Moore observes: “The research results are fascinating as they suggest we are very influenced by our instincts and that deep-rooted systems still play a significant role in how we react emotionally to things around us. It makes me smile as a psychologist to think that whoever you are, for a fleeting moment, a cheeky squirrel can make so many of us respond in the same way.”

Bobby Brittain, Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Great Britain said: "The findings suggest that it’s often small things - like a cute animal or unexpected photo-bomb - that make us feel happy. Our Choose Happiness campaign is all about inspiring people to appreciate the little things that raise a smile. That's why we’re encouraging people to capture whatever makes them happy this summer and giving away up to one million selfie sticks.”

I had a quick play with one of the sticks - and here is my first ever selfie taken with a stick! Think maybe I should have put some make-up on!

Oddly I never fancied owning a selfie stick but now I can see how addictive they are - you can get some great shots! My daughter has run off with mine and all the pictures are on her iPod which never leaves her person so can't share them right now....

Anyway -check out CocaCola packaging for a chance to win one of your own - or enter here in my easy to enter  competition! Good luck!

Coca-Cola selfie stick giveaway #ChooseHappiness

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