Quitting This One Thing Could Make You Happier
Kremi Otashliyska / Getty
The thought of giving up social media might be laughable to some. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are so integrated into our lives it's difficult to imagine ourselves living without them. Even if we don't consider ourselves addicted to the platforms, we engage with them so often that cutting them out completely would be breaking a hard habit. Scrolling through our news feeds is second nature and we're constantly consuming content without consciously meaning to.
Still, you may have noticed some of your friends departing from certain platforms, and every time a celebrity makes an exit it makes the news. Most recently, Kendall Jenner, who owes much of her fame and success to her massive social media following, recently deleted her Instagram for a bit of a breather. When you realise you've lost whole hours thumbing through Facebook posts, you regularly lose yourself into Instagram black holes, and you step away from social media feeling significantly less satisfied, you might question whether a self-imposed break might be good for you. Scientists have been wondering the same thing, and recently published a study in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking that suggests everything you've suspected.
Danish researcher Morten Tromholt recruited just over a thousand participants via Facebook and randomly assigned them to two conditions. One group was instructed not to use Facebook for the duration of one week (only 87% successfully made it) and the other group were told to continue using the site as they pleased. The treatment group that abstained from Facebook use reported higher "life satisfaction" and more positive emotions than the control group, though Neuroskeptic, who highlighted this study, notes that these effects were relatively small (a difference of just 0.37 on a 1-10 scale), thus asserting that the study doesn't say all that much.
The fact that participants were not only self-selecting but also self-reporting certainly skews the data, and the premise of the study might even encourage a placebo effect among the treatment group. Still, if you're in need of that extra push to finally commit to a digital detox, this could be enough incentive to finally give it a go.