Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Taking it offline: A week away from Facebook can increase happiness, study reveals

social media facebook happiness.jpg

We’ve been hearing a lot about the pitfalls of social media of late, but now, science has confirmed it: staying away from the ‘reality distorting’ Facebook is likely to increase your happiness.

A study conducted by researchers in Denmark has revealed that even as little as a week away from the social networking site could increase life satisfaction and significantly reduce stress.

Scientists from the Danish Happiness Research Institute divided a group of 1,095 daily Facebook users, aged from 16-76, into two groups, where one group was given access to the site and the other switched-off completely for a week.

“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!),” Meik Wiking, CEO of the Institute, tells The Guardian. “This makes the Facebook world, where everyone’s showing their best side, seem even more distortedly bright by contrast, so we wanted to see what happened when users took a break.”

facebook

Participants who abstained from Facebook for a week reported increased happiness and reduced stress

Prior and following the experiment, participants were asked to rate their “life satisfaction” out of 10, and commented on how active their social lives were, how good they felt their concentration was and if they compared themselves to others. 

The resulting report, The Facebook Experiment: Does social media affect the quality of our lives? revealed that 55% of the group who abstained from the site reported feeling less stressed after the week was over. Additionally, 88% of the group described themselves as ‘happy’, compared with 81% of the other group.

Those who abstained from Facebook also reported higher life appreciation, richer social lives and fewer difficulties in concentration, than those who continued to check their newsfeeds.

Sophie Anne Dornoy, 35, says in the report that, prior to the study, she was checking Facebook every morning the second she woke up, but that after a few days abstaining, she noticed:

“My to-do list was getting done faster than normal as I spent my time more productively. I also felt a sort of calmness from not being confronted by Facebook all the time.”

“It felt good to know that the world doesn’t end without Facebook and that people are still able to reach you,” she says.

friends

Fun can still be had away from social media

Another participant, Stine Chen, 26, says that:

“My flatmates and I had to chat instead of just checking Facebook.” 

Wiking says that the results reveal (as we all suspected), that comparing ourselves to others on social media leads to increased dissatisfaction.

“Facebook distorts our perception of reality and of what other people’s lives really look like,” he tells The Local.

“We take in to 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.”

Wiking doesn't deny that Facebook has its positive benefits, but believes that the site “Shouldn’t be used as the background for evaluating our lives.”

The Danish scientists are hoping to find participants to take part in a yearlong break from the site, “but we’d have to see how many volunteers we get for that,” Wiking tells The Guardian

Related

leoniedog.jpg

'Why I quit Facebook, and you should too'

Lucy063_rt.jpg

“It’s time for some truth on social media”

hipster barbie.JPG

'My work here is done.' Hipster Barbie parody account quits Instagram

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 16.54.49.png

New York Bridal Week's most unexpected new wedding trends

ThinkstockPhotos-477409532.jpg

What is 'phubbing' and how is it ruining our romantic relationships?

rexfeatures_5224500d.jpg

“It's pathetic” Why Cate Blanchett can't stand social media

ThinkstockPhotos-483062488.jpg

The 10 jobs with the best work-life balance

kate winslet.jpg

Kate Winslet shares her tips for disconnecting from technology

essena o'neill.JPG

Instagram star quits social media saying it's 'not real life'

Comments

More

“How Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington gave my generation a voice"

The musician leaves a lasting legacy

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

The grossly sexist ads we can’t believe exist in the 21st century

From a Co-op egg to that deeply offensive Protein World poster

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

How your Love Island obsession is wreaking havoc with your health

Experts have genuinely issued a warning…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Boots won’t cut morning-after pill price because we can’t be trusted

Cheaper emergency contraception? Unprotected sex party at ours, everyone!

by Amy Swales
21 Jul 2017

Did Japan’s First Lady pretend not to speak English to ignore Trump?

Akie Abe, we salute you.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Jul 2017

This 'Beer For Her' has managed to offend everyone on Twitter

Apparently womankind can only ever drink from pink receptacles

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

This Instagram account is aiming to break the miscarriage taboo

Women are coming together to share their stories of loss

by Megan Murray
21 Jul 2017

Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who salary revealed after gender pay gap row

And it may surprise you…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Jul 2017

Quiz: which famous duo are you and your work wife?

It’s time to find out, once and for all, who you and your work wife really are…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017

You’ve been making your tea wrong this whole time, reveal tea experts

Wait, what?

by Jasmine Andersson
20 Jul 2017