Monday, May 14, 2018 by Michelle Simmons
Here’s another reason to get off of Facebook: A temporary social media detox can be good for your health. Deleting your Facebook app can reduce your stress, according to a study by researchers from the University of Queensland.
In the study, the research team looked at the effects of a short-term break from Facebook on a person’s well-being. They recruited 138 active Facebook users. The participants were divided into two groups: One group was tasked to stop using Facebook for five days, while the other group was asked to use Facebook as they normally would. Their saliva samples were also taken at the beginning and at the end of the study in order to measure the changes in their levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Additionally, they completed questionnaires about their Facebook activity and measures of stress and well-being.
Results revealed that taking a break from Facebook resulted in lower cortisol levels after just five days. However, the participants’ own ratings of stress did not change, probably because they were not aware that their stress levels had gone down. They also reported lower feelings of well-being.
“People said they felt more unsatisfied with their life, and were looking forward to resuming their Facebook activity,” said Eric Vanman, lead researcher of the study.
He added that the participants felt less content with their lives due to being disconnected from their Facebook friends. This may be the reason why they reported lower levels of well-being.
“We don’t think that this is necessarily unique to Facebook, as people’s stress levels will probably reduce anytime they take a break from their favorite social media platforms,” Vanman said.
Taking a break from Facebook, or from social media in general, can be a good way to escape the overload of information. However, it also disconnects users from their friends. (Related: Social media mind games: Psychologist reveals Facebook’s manipulation tactics to keep you hooked (and what you can do about it).)
The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Social Psychology. The study stems from Vanman’s own experience of taking regular breaks from Facebook.
A 2015 study from the Happiness Research Institute suggested that quitting Facebook increases people’s happiness. In the study, more than 1,000 Danish volunteers participated. Half of them continued using Facebook as normal, while the other half took a break from using Facebook for a week. Results revealed that 88 percent of the participants who quit the social media site for a week felt “happy,” in comparison to the 81 percent of those who still used Facebook on a regular basis.
In addition, those who took a break from Facebook also reported feeling more enthusiastic, less lonely, less worried, and more decisive. They also spent more time seeing family and friends in person. Moreover, they found it easier to concentrate.
“Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have,” the researchers wrote.
Quitting Facebook can be hard, especially if it has become a part of your daily life. So, here are some ways on how to stop using the world’s largest social network:
Read more news stories and studies on how taking a Facebook detox can improve your mental health at Mind.news.