A new study has found quitting Facebook for a week will increase your happiness and wellbeing.
Facebook can be a convenient window into the lives of your friends over the Christmas period but a new study has found casually checking the social media platform too much can leave us feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with life.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen says their recent study suggests looking at our friends ‘perfect’ family photos or recent holiday snaps and status updates can cause feelings of envy. The study involved 1,000 participants with an average age of 34, who reported feeling negatively after logging in and checking their newsfeed. They were then split into two control groups with one group being asked to quit Facebook for a week while the other continued to check as usual.
Those that has stopped using Facebook for a week reported feeling increased life satisfaction and positive emotions than when accessing Facebook on a daily basis.
“Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day,” wrote author of the study, Morten Tromholt. “We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being? According to the present study, the answer is ‘no’. In fact, the predominant uses of Facebook – that is, as a means to communicate and gain information about others, as habitual pastime – are affecting our well-being negatively on several dimensions.”
Research into social networking sites and their impact on wellbeing is being closely monitored. Many warn of making unrealistic social comparisons when seeing other people’s seemingly perfect lives. Feelings of envy are created but what people don’t always consider is that what they are seeing is never the whole picture.
“To make things clear, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one’s wellbeing,” explained Tromholt. “And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections (or specific friends) on Facebook causing this envy. And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behaviour. Due to habits, practicalities … it may be difficult to change one’s way of using Facebook. If this is the case, one should consider quitting Facebook for good.”
Details of the study were published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.