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Why You Should Take a Facebook Break

Why You Should Take a Facebook Break

In the movie The Social Network, a fictional depiction of the founding of Facebook, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker, played by Justin Timberlake, remarks, “We lived on farms, we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the Internet!”

Turns out, living on Facebook isn’t as healthy as living on a farm—not by a long shot. Two studies found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the more symptoms of depression they had. Researchers discovered the reason for this was that people who were Facebook fans and fanatics spent more time comparing themselves to others—and worrying that they came up short.

But now a new study shows that you can reverse the emotional damage done by all that time on social media: Just take a break. Researchers divided study participants into two groups. The first kept up its usual Facebook activity, while people in the second quit Facebook for a week. After that time, people who had been heavy Facebook users and then stopped reported a better overall sense of well-being and life satisfaction—and folks with “Facebook envy” were especially rewarded with a better mental outlook.  

If you find yourself on social media frequently, especially if you cannot imagine an hour without checking it out, take a break. Deactivate or delete the app from your phone. Taking a week to enjoy the countryside, meet face to face with a friend (or friends) or to read a good book can do wonders for your self-confidence and happiness.

Medically reviewed in November 2018.

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