A study conducted in Denmark in 2015 looked at more than 1,000 Facebook users over the course of a week. People who continued to use the site reported low levels of life satisfaction compared to people who did not use the site for a week, largely due to feelings of envy that occur when we compare our lives to others.
Fortunately, the study identified a solution to this problem: simply logging off the site.
“The participants who took a one-week break from Facebook reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and a significantly improved emotional life,” reports the study.
The effects of taking a break vary for different Facebook users — the effect was greatest in heavy users, users who passively use Facebook (those that browse rather than post their own content), and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.
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“These findings indicate that it might not be necessary to quit Facebook for good to increase one’s well-being — instead an adjustment of one’s behavior on Facebook could potentially cause a change,” concludes the study. “To make things clear, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one’s well-being. And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections (or specific friends) on Facebook causing this envy. And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behavior.”
So if you ever find yourself going down a Facebook rabbit hole and stalking your ex’s new girlfriend’s mom, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you’re doing yourself more harm than good and log off for a few days!