For the next few weeks, your Facebook News Feed will be peppered with political debates, holiday photos, and engagement announcements. One way to remedy the stress is to take a break from social media.
That's according to a recently released study called "The Facebook Experiment," which reported that people who took a week off from Facebook found improvements in their mental health. They felt more emotionally positive, and experienced an increase in life satisfaction overall.
A randomly selected group of nearly 1,100 people participated in the study, conducted by Morten Tromholt of the department of sociology at the University of Copenhagen. Participants were divided into two groups: The treatment group put a moratorium on all Facebook use for one week, and the control group continued to use the social network as usual. Before and after the study, both groups were asked to evaluate different aspects of their lives, including mood, ability to concentrate, level of worry, and level of satisfaction with their social life.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that a week free from social media improved the treatment group's lives on all fronts. They reported increased levels of in-person social activities and a boost in life satisfaction. It also made them more productive, with the control group reporting a much lower ability to concentrate.
Those who stayed on Facebook were 55 percent more likely to feel stressed, and those taking a break from it were 18 percent more likely to feel present in the moment. The treatment group was also less likely to report that they felt like they wasted their time that week.
That said, if you're looking for a way to press reset on your happiness, the upcoming holidays might be the perfect time to log out of Facebook--for a week, at least--and focus on the more important things.