Facebook Can Make You Happy -- But Only If You Look at Photos of Yourself

Say What!? 9

I feel like I've seen a million articles on how using Facebook is making us all depressed and jealous and lonely. I mean, we've all heard how we can get addicted to posting status updates to help us deal with feelings of isolation, and there have been countless studies linking Facebook use to low self-esteem, envy, and overall misery.

Well, if you're tired of hearing how Facebook is making you into a bitter, unhappy person convinced that everyone's life is better than your own, great news! It turns out that all you have to do to get happy is look at your own Facebook profile. Paradoxically, the same braggy, look-at-my-awesome-lifestyle! bullshit updates that bum you out when they come from other people can actually boost your mood when it's your OWN braggy bullshit!

This is according to yet another study on the social effects of Facebook, anyway. (Who's funding all these studies, is what I want to know.) Researchers have determined that since users typically post positive pictures and status updates, looking back over those photos and posts when you're feeling low can cheer you up.

More from The Stir: Facebook’s Most Annoying Status Updates Revealed & Yours Could Be One of Them

(I guess that's assuming your posts aren't all of the passive-aggressive/Vaguebooking complaint variety. Although maybe those can be fun to re-read too?)

So basically, there was this whole big study on how looking at other peoples' Facebook posts and photos makes us sad and jealous, because we feel inferior in the face of all those uplifting messages and happy photos. But now they're saying that looking at our OWN posts is comfortingly nostalgic, and can particularly help people who are depressed.

Doesn't it seem like Facebook is the new coffee? It's good for you! Wait, it's bad for you! It's good in small amounts! It'll kill you stone cold dead! It's good if you use it in this one specific way! ANY AMOUNT IS BAD OH MY GOD. Etc.

A doctor from University of Portsmouth's School of Computing says that of the 144 users she studied, almost 90 per cent of users access the site to look at their own wall posts:

We were very surprised by these findings, which contradict some recent reports. The results indicate we could use self-soothing as a form of treatment for low moods. Although this was only a small study, we will go on to study larger groups to see if the results remain consistent.

A psychologist from the same university said,

Facebook is marketed as a means of communicating with others, but this research shows we are more likely to use it to connect with our past selves, perhaps when our present selves need reassuring. The pictures we often post are reminders of a positive past event. When in the grips of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel, and our positive posts can remind us of this.

In conclusion: BRAG ALL YOU WANT, Facebookers, because it's good for you. Science says so! (For now, anyway.) And the next time you're feeling crappy, maybe try taking a stroll down social media memory lane to see if that reminds you of better times.

Do you ever look at your own Facebook history? Do you enjoy seeing old photos and posts?

Image via CollegeDegrees360/Flickr

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ashjo85 ashjo85

I totally believe it. It's like thumbing through a scrapbook or a photo album. I work full-time, and I do it a lot. I'll go into my own photos and look through the ones of my kids, and old videos of them. Makes it a little easier being away from them all day.

KC McConnell

It's funny that I read this right after getting called fat and stupid on facebook....lol?....

Kasey Zimmerman

I love to FB stalk myself..lol

Stephanie Caldwell

Earlier today my husband and I were showing our 2.5 yr old old college photos of us on facebook from when we were dating, Definitely made me smile!

lalab... lalaboosh

I've been doing it since before facebook! Lol! I love looking at old pics of me with cute clothes, hair, and makeup and looking at my little newborn (now two years old!). I like to post some of the stuff I do in The Sims, too. Like my rainbow white zebra unicorn and ghost babies. It's good to appreciate yourself!

Krystal Froats

I learn about news I wouldn't otherwise see if not for FB and I keep in contact with more of my friends through FB. And FB posts make me LAUGH!!!!

Lita O'Cuillain

i live half way around the world from where I was born. Stayed in touch with old friends and family via FB. Sure I have my share of ^%$@ people/ friends onFB, but so does in the real life.


Yes, definitely love digging those old pics :)

Laura Palmer

You can't compare your life to someone else's highlight reel... just keep that in mind when you think some one's  life appears to be more fun that yours.

Sweet... Sweetest_Britt

I totally agree with this article. I love looking back at old pics/statuses! Especially during my pregnancy and when my kiddo finally came home! So fun : )

jessi... jessicasmom1

I do like the old photos .. 

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