A deep study has found that limiting your time on social media can greatly boost your emotional and physical wellbeing.
And to back this up, the research team from UC San Diego and Yale have some impressive data to share with you.
Holly Shakya, an assistant professor at UC San Diego, teamed up with Yale professor Nicholas Christakis to observe 5,208 people in a lengthy Gallup study. After receiving their permission, the researchers started monitoring these subjects’ Facebook use directly from Facebook instead of asking them specific questions about their use of it as people spend much more time on social media than they think they do. They checked the subjects’ emotional and physical condition, as well as their body mass, three times in the course of 2 years.
“Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being,” the team wrote in a Harvard Business Review article. “These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.”
A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel https://t.co/VYD9rrG4cR
— Harvard Business Review (@HarvardBiz) April 10, 2017
But what is it about Facebook that damages your emotional health so much?
Past studies have shown that social media creates a kind of fake peer pressure. And since most people avoid posting about negative or troubling experiences, Facebook creates a false environment where everyone seems to be doing much better and having much more fun in their life than you are.
As the researchers described it,
“Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison.”
But where does that leave the app’s ability to connect you to your loved ones and help you find people who you’ve long lost touch with?
There are plenty of studies that confirm having a social circle as well as an active social life results in stronger health and better chances for longevity. The team wanted to find out whether a virtual life and community could grant us the same benefits.
A two year study confirms the more you use Facebook, the worse you feel https://t.co/HQtR8RF8sh
— The Independent (@Independent) September 27, 2020
Unsurprisingly, they don’t! And to make things even worse, they have the opposite effect.
The team stressed that, in addition to needless self-comparison, too much use of social media platforms tends to eat up a lot of people’s time and can create a fake sense of closeness. By spending time on social media – closed out from the real world – you miss out on the benefit of true community, the researchers note. This also holds true if you are spending time with people, but you’re focused on checking your mobile phone to not miss out on your friends’ latest posts.
What all of this shows is that you must limit your use of Facebook and other social media as much as you can.
Also, try not to be too dependent on your phone, and don’t disappear into your screen while in social situations. If you do that, you are guaranteed to boost the quality of your life, as well as your mental and physical health!
Do you believe social media is doing us more harm than good? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it of value.