Quit Scrolling Through Facebook If You Want to Feel Happier

 

stressed woman on laptopJust because you have hundreds of Facebook friends who are livin' the dream doesn't mean you're happy. In fact, a new study shows that when it comes to feeling better about ourselves, it might be time we all sign off from social media.

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Depending on how you feel about Facebook, you're probably now either twitching with outrage or erupting with applause. Either way, here's the gist.

A new study from the Happiness Research Institute in Denmark (which we are assuming is the best workplace EVER) found that cutting back on social media like Facebook makes us happier about life, while decreasing feelings of loneliness, depression, and anger.

Yes, that's right. Just because you have a kajillion "friends" on Facebook does not mean that you a.) are happy, or b.) have REAL friendships.

But we digress.

For the study, just over 1,000 typical Facebook users were asked to go cold turkey on social media for a week. Those who did felt significantly better about themselves and their lives. In contrast, 55 percent of people who were still "liking" and updating and bearing witness to the stream of good news uploaded by their friends admitted to being stressed.

Human beings are social creatures. We crave connection, and doing so has vast physical and emotional health benefits. So, what gives?

More from The Stir: 10 Brutally Honest Reasons Your Facebook Friends Hate You

It's actually not surprising at all, says Hillary Goldsher, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, California.

"Social media has the unique ability to create an arena where people naturally and involuntarily compare themselves to each other," she tells The Stir. "People are able to post the very best images of themselves both literally and metaphorically."

We find ourselves spending hours scrolling through these seemingly perfect uploads because they "only capture the best of us," Goldsher explains, "and don't offer any insight into the very human issues and problems and worries and stressors that we all have."

Okay, so we need a little escapism. But unfortunately, filling our heads with unrealistic ideas of other people's lives -- and dare we say, not living our own? -- has a nasty consequence. We start feeling "less than," Goldsher says, and unwittingly expose ourselves to "many, many moments throughout the day of comparing ourselves to others."

Which can be kinda depressing. And anxiety-provoking: Why didn't my husband take me to Costa Rica for our wedding anniversary? Why can't I bake a birthday cake that looks like a life-sized Minion? Damn, I wish my house was THAT clean.

Therefore, cutting back on Facebook use is a pretty smart move, Goldsher says. And when you DO break down and sign in to the social notwork (see what we just did there?), you've got to understand that what you're seeing is "just a peek into one aspect of people's lives."

Perhaps fostering offline friendships with people who see us and support us through our worst days -- and allow us to do the same -- will be a wee bit more ... real.

 

Image via © marcogarrincha/iStock

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