Wellbeing

It’s Confirmed: Quitting Facebook Will Make You Happier

Facebook is so intrinsically part of our everyday vernacular, it’s hard to even imagine life without it. But have you ever stopped to think about what it’s doing to our mental wellbeing?

A new study has found that quitting Facebook leads to higher levels of wellbeing, but this isn’t news to us. Not really, anyway. We’re probably all acutely aware of how our dependence on smartphones promotes elevated levels of stress, depression and distraction. While we know it to be true, we’ve all managed to scroll past that and dismiss the reality – that we might just be hopelessly and devastatingly addicted to our phones.

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For real though.

Facebook is probably the worst culprit of this mental distress. Whether it’s interacting with people or dealing with the very real effects of FOMO, giving up Facebook is a loaded and complicated move that has real implications for our social life. But it might just be what we need to feel better.

‘The Facebook Experiment’ is a study compiled by Danish researcher Morten Tromholt. Tromholt recruited 1095 participants (via Facebook, fittingly) who were randomly assigned into two groups. The ‘treatment’ group were instructed not to use Facebook for one week – it was recommended that they uninstall the app from their phones if they had it too (because we all know the temptation and muscle memory is real). At the same time, the control group continued to use the social media site normally.

After a week, 87% of the treatment group successfully avoided using Facebook (the remaining 13% caved, but no judgement here, this sounds hard). For those that made it, they reported significantly higher life satisfaction and positive thoughts than the control group.

Though the difference wasn’t all that significant (only 0.37 difference between the two groups on a scale from 1 to 10), it does say something about the role social media sites like Facebook are playing in our day-to-day lives. As Tromholt concluded: “We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being?” Well according to the study, the answer is no.

We’ve spoken before about smartphone anxiety, and it’s important to note our dependence on our devices and social media isn’t only fixed by a (dreaded) digital detox. Instead, it’s more about figuring out what this dependence is doing to us, and figuring out a healthy balance between being completely obsessed and quitting it altogether.

Smartphones are serious attention grabbers, and they make it hard for us to be completely alone with our own thoughts – so maybe let’s make it our mission these holidays to switch off for a little while. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

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Or, you know, you could take drastic action.

[h/t NY Mag]


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.