Social media has the ability to make your life feel inadequate, with friends and family cherry picking the best parts of their lives and sharing them with the world, making your rainy Monday morning appear particularly dire. So what effect is this having on our mental wellbeing? Is it actually making us feel increasingly depressed?
Researchers at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen (yep, that does exist) decided to find out. They took a group of 1,095 Facebook users and split them into two groups. The first group were allowed to continue using the social network on a daily basis, while the other group were forced to go completely cold turkey, staying off the site for the duration of the experiment.
The results were incredibly revealing - after just 7 days 88% of the group that left Facebook said they felt "happy" as opposed to 81% in the group still using the site. They also felt less angry, less lonely, less depressed, more decisive, more enthusiastic, and enjoyed their lives more. Ditching Facebook also appeared to reduce stress levels by as much as 55%. They're some pretty strong results…
"People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends," reads the study. "Instead of focussing on what we actually need, we have an unfortunate tendency to focus on what other people have […] 5 out of 10 envy the #amazing experiences of others posted on Facebook. 1 out of 3 envy how #happy other people seem on Facebook. 4 out of 10 envy the apparent #success of others on Facebook." So there you have it, perhaps we should all give it a rest and focus on our real lives.