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


“Why I opted out of reconstruction after my double mastectomy”

Breast cancer survivor Jeanne Paul says many don’t understand her choice

by Amy Swales
21 Aug 2017

Carpool Karaoke gets a Game of Thrones makeover

The Starks are in town

by Amy Swales
21 Aug 2017

How the solar eclipse could completely transform your life

An astrologer tells us how to tap into the ‘magical powers’ of tonight’s eclipse

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

Lidl is selling £3.33 bottles of prosecco – but there’s a catch

Bring on the bubbles

by Megan Murray
21 Aug 2017

Singer stops concert to expertly shame man for sexual assault

“It is not your f**king body and you do not f**king grab at someone!”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Aug 2017

Why that Game of Thrones infertility storyline is so very important

This article contains spoilers, obviously

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

“I’m child-free, not childless – why the difference matters”

One writer on how our language shames women who choose not to procreate

21 Aug 2017

High school boys support female students against sexist dress code

And this is how it’s done

by Megan Murray
21 Aug 2017

Why people are posting cat photos in response to the Barcelona attacks

There’s a reason behind the influx of felines online

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017