Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to announce that over 1 billion users had visited the social network in a single day. It was both a terrifying and an incredibly impressive statistic, but it raises an important question—is our mounting dependence on scrolling through timelines and news feeds every time we have a free moment actually making us sad?
It’s probably a question you’ve asked yourself at some point: What would it be like if I deactivated my Facebook account for a week? As one study shows, you might find yourself less stressed out and more happy.
The Happiness Research Institute (which, yes, is a real think tank in Copenhagen), conducted a study with 1,095 Facebook users in Denmark to see how the social network might be affecting their mood. According to Quartz, the researchers first discovered that over 94 percent of the participants visited Facebook on a daily basis.
They then split the subjects into two groups—one group continued their daily routine of checking Facebook regularly, while the other group was asked to remove Facebook from their lives entirely.
After one week, the groups reconvened, and the Happiness Research Institute found that 88 percent of the Facebook quitters said they felt “happy,” while only 81 percent of Facebook users felt the same. The Facebook users were also significantly more stressed out than the individuals who took a break, with 54 percent of that group saying they were “worried” to 41 percent of the break group.
Now, admittedly, this isn’t the most scientific study ever produced. The answers were self-reported, and presumably the participants would have known what the researchers were looking for, possibly determining their answers regarding how they felt. Still, I can offer my own anecdotal evidence and say that when I worked up the willpower to deactivate my Facebook account for a month in 2012, I was noticeably more relaxed.
I think the Happiness Research Institute might be on to something.