Do you check your Facebook page as soon as you wake up in the morning? Feel upset if you post something on Facebook and no one likes it?
If this sounds familiar then it may be time you took a break from social media. According to a new study, doing so can make you a much happier person.
Researchers at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, conducted an experiment using 1,095 participants to determine the correlation between their happiness and social media usage.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups, 94 percent of whom visited Facebook daily before the study and 78 percent of whom used Facebook for more than 30 minutes daily. While one group was asked to continue using Facebook as they normally would, the other was asked to stay off it for a week — and the results were surprising.
After a week the participants were asked to evaluate their “life satisfaction” out of a score of 10, which was then compared to the original score they gave before they began the study. What researchers found was that those who had continued to use social media as before had little increase in their happiness, which produced a score of 7.75, up slightly from 7.67; while those who had stopped using Facebook increased from a score of 7.56 to 8.12. Researchers also noticed an increase in the participants’ social activity and overall satisfaction with their social life.
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On the last day of the study the Happiness Research Institute asked both groups what moods they had experienced that day and people who had taken a break from Facebook that day reportedly felt “happier and were less sad and lonely.”
According to The Independent, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking, told The Local that one such reason for these results could be that “Facebook distorts our perception of reality and of what other people’s lives really look like.”
He continued, “We take into account how we’re doing in life through comparisons to everyone else, and since most people only post positive things on Facebook, that gives us a very biased perception of reality.
“If we are constantly exposed to great news, we risk evaluating our own lives as less good.”