Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

This social media platform boosts your emotional well-being as much as marriage

istock woman working in sunshine.jpg

There are plenty of studies which seemingly prove that getting married, or having a baby, instils us with an enormous sense of well-being and satisfaction with our lives.

Aka the "smug married couples” that Bridget Jones so often shakes her head over.

However, according to a new study, using one of the world’s most popular social media platforms can have the exact same effect.

That’s right; personal interaction on Facebook can seriously boost our emotional well-being, although receiving mere ‘likes’ doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

Instead, it’s all about those moments when the people we know and care about write personalised posts or comments on our photos and newsfeed.

Read more: It's time to expand your emotional language with these beautiful phrases

Speaking with Eurekalert, Moira Burke – a research scientist specialising in human-computer interaction – explained that the comments don’t even have to be long, they just have to be tailored to suit the person reading them.

“We're not talking about anything that's particularly labour-intensive,” she said. “This can be a comment that's just a sentence or two.

“The important thing is that someone such as a close friend takes the time to personalize it. The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives."

". The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives"

". The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives"

Burke and her team of researchers analysed 1,910 Facebook users from 91 countries, asking each of them to fill in a survey at the end of each month.

After analysing their responses, alongside their Facebook behaviour, Burke discovered that online interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression. 

In fact, her team learned that just 60 comments from close friends per month can have as much of a positive effect on our psychological well-being as major life events, which suggests that, if you’re feeling down, you should get thee hence to social media.

Which is a bit of a surprise, considering how many articles there are about the benefits of digital detoxes, the rampant misogyny present on social media platforms, and the rise of online braggarts.

And let’s not forget that a recent study by University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross last year found a direct correlation between time spent on the social media site and feelings of dissatisfaction, loneliness and isolation.

However Burke has a theory to explain why so many unhappy people are on social media – and it sort of makes sense.

Read more: The 10 simple steps to a happier lifestyle

“People who are feeling down may indeed spend more time on social media,” she explained, “but they choose to do so because they've learned it makes them feel better.

“They're reminded of the people they care about in their lives.”

“They're reminded of the people they care about in their lives.”

“They're reminded of the people they care about in their lives.”

The results of the experiment suggest that, when it comes to cheering ourselves up, there’s nothing better than spending time with those we love most.

And that's the same even if we have to settle for a digital, rather than an organic, version of our best friend.

Read the full report at eurekalert.org.

Images: iStock


bullet journal isntagram stress anxiety mindfullness.JPG

Could starting a bullet journal ease your anxiety?

Devil Wears Prada Miranda Priestly.jpg

Dislike your colleagues? It might be ruining your relationship


How to truly disconnect and leave work at the workplace


The curse of night-time anxiety


Breathe yourself calm with this one simple gif

bouldering climbing.jpg

Find out how to light up your fitness mojo with our video guide


The greatest quotes from Harry Potter books for all moments in life

office stunt creativity.jpg

The five ways your office might be stunting your creativity


How to live Nordicly


What is perspecticide and could it be happening in your relationship?

This form of coercive control is incredibly damaging

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017

5 of the best indulgent baking books

Take a moment for yourself and make yourself some sweet baked goodness

16 Oct 2017

Here’s why your NHS doctor may ask you about your sexuality

The new directive will start in 2019

by Susan Devaney
16 Oct 2017

UK police investigate 5 sexual assault claims against Harvey Weinstein

Including one brought by Hollyoaks actress Lysette Anthony

by Moya Crockett
16 Oct 2017

#WomenBoycottTwitter: Here’s why women are refusing to tweet today

How will women going silent help their cause?

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Oct 2017

Lucy Mangan on why it's OK to feel vulnerable in these dark times

It’s reasonable to feel shaken by horrific news stories – we just mustn’t let them change us permanently

by Lucy Mangan
12 Oct 2017

Here’s what to do if your work space is driving you to distraction

Do you function better amid the chatter of colleagues?

12 Oct 2017

7 female characters from 90s horror films to channel this Halloween

Here's all the inspiration you need for all Hallow's Eve

by Susan Devaney
12 Oct 2017