If you've ever suspected that Facebook brings you down, know that your feelings are much more than a hunch. There are plenty of studies showing that social media decreases life satisfaction and increases envy and loneliness.
But if researchers have piled up evidence that social media isn't all that great for your mood, there's one thing that up to now they haven't tested -- what happens to your happiness levels when you quit?
Happier, less stressed, and more social
Now there is such a study and the results will bolster the case of those who argue less time scrolling through your feeds (or no time at all) will probably boost your mental health. The research is the work of researchers at Copenhagen's Happiness Research Institute (yes, apparently there is such a place). To determine the effects of Facebook on mood, the team asked 1,095 Danish Facebook users to quit the site for a week.
The results? "Those on a break from the social network felt 55% less stressed," reports the UK's Guardian newspaper. Furthermore, "the group not on Facebook enjoyed life more, was less angry, and more enthusiastic. The group also saw an increase in their social activity and their satisfaction with their social life," Quartz adds.
Why Facebook is a bummer
What explains the significant boost in well being people apparently got from going cold turkey on the social network? "Facebook is a constant bombardment of everyone else's great news, but many of us look out of the window and see grey skies and rain (especially in Denmark!). This makes the Facebook world, where everyone's showing their best side, seem even more distortedly bright by contrast," Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, told the Guardian.
But just because there's a strong case for cutting Facebook (and the envy it induces) out of your life, doesn't make quitting easy. Giving up the daily habit of checking your feed can be challenging, according to several study participants who spoke to the Guardian. Stine Chen, for instance, told the paper that, "Facebook's been a huge part of life since I was a teenager and lots of social activities are organized around it." But she also claimed to be happy with the results of her efforts. "My flatmates and I had to chat instead of just checking Facebook," she said.
The researchers now plan to study the effects of a longer sabbatical from the site.
Are these findings enough to make you consider giving up Facebook?