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A New Study Says Quitting Facebook Makes People Happier

Does going through your Facebook feed ever give you a sinking feeling that you aren’t having as much fun as everyone you know? Why are they so successful? Are they always on vacation? How do they all look good in bathing suits?

Would quitting Facebook make you happier than you are now? A new study says it would.

The Happiness Research Institute did a study where they recruited 1,095 daily Facebook users to measure the impact of the social network on happiness. The researchers documented their participants' usual Facebook behavior and found that 94% visited Facebook as part of a daily routine.

Here's what people's Facebook looked like: 

Then, they split the participants into two groups. One group was forced to quit Facebook cold turkey. The other was allowed to normal access and use of Facebook.

After one week, the group forced to quit Facebook reported feeling more satisfied with their lives. “Researchers found that 88% of those who were forced to give up Facebook felt “happy,” compared with 81% of those who were still on the site,” writes Aamna Mohdin in an article on Quartz.

The results in a nutshell: 

The group that gave up Facebook enjoyed life more, was less angry and more enthusiastic. “The group also saw an increase in their social activity and their satisfaction with their social life,” writes Mohdin.

The group that still regularly used Facebook was 55% more likely to feel stressed. “Researchers suggest that as Facebook highlights the best of everyone’s life, people on the site end up focusing on what other people have, which may explain why users felt less happy after regularly using the site,” writes Mohdin.

People who quit Facebook also said they found concentration easier. They also felt like they’d wasted less of their time.

The results of the study are based on self-reported answers. And while researchers found a link between happiness and quitting Facebook, it’s not proven to be a causal relationship. “Researchers hope to further investigate whether the positive feeling participants felt after quitting Facebook could last more than a week,” writes Mohdin.

images from The Happiness Research Institute report

Join The Conversation

  • Warren Whitlock's picture
    Nov 24 Posted 9 months ago Warren Whitlock

    I recently had a friend go through bankruptcy, divorce and loss of many business connections. He found me on Facebook and I was able to help him through it and brainstorm on what he would do coming out of this depression. Later, we met up when he was driving through town. The subject of Facebook came up and he said:

    "I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for Facebook"

    Without effort, I could tell you a dozen similar stories.

    I also have known people who get obsessed with sitting online, posting meme cards or that crap that's made for lonely people to share. Since I've not done a research study, I'd have to guess that there are possibly more of these in society, and thus Facebook. And that's my point. The platform reflects the population. The correlations reported are true.. the causation a fantasy.

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