What about having a one-week break from Facebook? All for our well-being!

We’re living in the golden age of social media, and no doubt Facebook is a rare revolution in the history of communication. It connects the world in a wonderful way, and offers solutions to the complex problems of people from diverse shades of life. Facebook has become a part of our daily life, like food and sleep. So much is its influence on you and me. This is the reality. With more than two billion active users, the social media platform founded by one of the most disruptive entrepreneurs, Mark Zuckerberg, is now the most influential communication platform in the world. However, as a health professional I am always concerned about the impact of Facebook on human minds. A lot of research studies are going on in this subject in various parts of the world.

There is an intriguing point that comes to the fore in one of the recent studies, which may force you and me to have a break from FB for some time. The study conducted by University of Copenhagen states that Facebook is making most of us unhappy and dissatisfied. The study finds,

“Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day. We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being? According to the present study, the answer is no. In fact, the predominant uses of Facebook — that is, as a means to communicate, gain information about others, and as habitual pastime — are affecting our well-being negatively on several dimensions,’’

The study provides causal evidence that quitting Facebook leads to higher levels of both cognitive and affective well-being. The participants who took a one-week break from Facebook showed significantly higher levels of life satisfaction. More than satisfaction, the study states that they have an improved emotional life after the period. The study was conducted with 1,095 people in Denmark.

The study also showed that the gain of well-being varied in relation to how people use the social media platform. For heavy FB users, users who passively use Facebook, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook, the gain proved to be greatest.

“These findings indicate that it might not be necessary to quit Facebook for good to increase one’s well-being — instead an adjustment of one’s behavior on Facebook could potentially cause a change,’’ it observes.

We can put it simply like this, if one is a heavy Facebook user, one should use Facebook less to increase one’s well-being. And if one tends to feel envy when on Facebook, one should avoid browsing the sections (or specific friends) on Facebook causing this envy.

And if one uses Facebook passively, one should reduce this kind of behavior. Due to habits, practicalities, and potential ‘‘forecasting errors,’’ it may be difficult to change one’s way of using Facebook. If this is the case, one should consider quitting Facebook for good.

So, what about having a one-week break from Facebook!

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