Facebook is an amazing tool. It allows us to communicate at a moment’s notice and can unite us on a global level. But at the same time it can be a huge time-waster and FOMO-inducer. And a new study finds that it’s quite good for us to take days—or even weeks—where we aren’t checking our Facebook feeds. In fact, it may make us better at our jobs.
A new study from the Danish Happiness Research Institute surveyed 1,095 daily Facebook users. First they analyzed everyone’s usual Facebook behavior and found 94 percent visited Facebook as part of their daily routine (like so many of us do). The participants were then split into two groups: One was still allowed to access Facebook regularly while the other couldn’t use it anymore.
For some of us, not using Facebook for a week sounds like it would send us spiraling into a glass case of emotion, but the results were very much the opposite. After one week, the Facebook quitters felt more satisfied with their lives. Researchers found that 88 percent of those who were forced to give up Facebook felt “happy,” compared with 81 percent who were still getting all those Facebook alerts on their phone.
And that’s not all. The quitters were less angry, more enthusiastic about life, and were more social (it turns out people in real life are often more interesting than the ones on the screen). They also were less stressed and felt more productive. Levo’s Local Levo Manager Caroline Gray quit the social media platform a few months ago and said she definitely doesn’t miss it at all. “I got tired of staring at a screen all day. Going from work to then trolling Instagram on my phone to then looking at Facebook on my computer at home. I decided I wanted to start looking at the world around me rather than screens in my hand,” she said.
Interestingly, 55 percent of the group still using Facebook felt how so many of us do when looking at Facebook: STRESS. “Instead of focusing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have,” wrote the authors of the study.
This is not to say that Facebook is bad, but if you find that whenever you look at it, you walk away feeling unhappy, you may want to consider taking a brief hiatus. After all, it’s not like we’re telling you to quit Instagram. That’s just madness.
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Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images