For many of us, January is a time to reset our resolve. We make lists of unrealistic goals and resolutions that we likely won’t keep up past March—eat more greens, increase gym frequency, master calligraphy, start bullet journaling.
But some resolutions are more worthwhile than others—calligraphy, in all likelihood, can wait. If you’ve marked down “spend less time on Facebook” as one of your goals, you may just want to stick with that one. According to a study out of the University of Copenhagen, people who kicked the King of Social to the curb for one week saw an increase in their overall life satisfaction as well as their positive emotions. How’s that for motivation?
Nearly 2,000 Danish participants with an average age of 34 were rounded up for the study, each claiming to spend about one hour per day on Facebook. First they completed a 15-minute survey to determine their current well-being and emotions, and then were assigned to one of two groups: one that would use Facebook as normal, and the other that would ditch it for the next seven days. Straight, digital, cold turkey.
Participants who were banished from the social sharing site were encouraged to delete their accounts… you know, so as not to “accidentally” login. For us, anyhow, it’s habitual: wake up, turn off iPhone alarm, click little blue and white “F” icon, see what 500 of our friends were up to overnight. And it sounds like some of the participants were the same—13 per cent of them fessed up to finding their way onto Facebook during the experiment, even though they were asked not to.
Those who saw the greatest improvement in their mental health from going seven days Facebook-free were the reported “heavy users,” whether they were active (posting and commenting lots) or passive (just looking, or lurking). Those who admitted to often being envious while scrolling the social media also saw a more marked improvement.
The study builds on previous research that also suggests Facebook use may increase depressive symptoms.
So, while we’re still not ready to quit our Facebook accounts for good (we really do love staying in touch with all our friends on the platform), this news does have us considering a small break. Let’s call it a vacation. Because who doesn’t want a vacation?