Taking a break from Facebook won’t just cure FOMO, it might be good for your mental health. That’s right — a new study has found that quitting Facebook for even a few days will result in a drop in the stress hormone cortisol. Put another way, there’s now scientific proof that quitting Facebook will reduce your stress levels. If you’ve been using the social media platform often and are feeling tense, you could be having a physiological response to Facebook.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, and published in the Journal of Social Psychology, involved 138 active Facebook users. Sixty of the participants gave up the site for five days, while the remaining 78 were told to keep using the social media network as usual. The scientists then surveyed every participant’s overall well-being, testing for satisfaction, mood, and loneliness. They also swabbed saliva for cortisol, the stress hormone.
Turns out, Facebook really is as much of a bummer as we thought, and we should probably all just quit Facebook right now.
“People have long reported in other research that Facebook can make them feel bad about themselves or that it stresses them. Many people quit Facebook permanently because of it. Others take ‘Facebook vacations,’ in which they either deactivate or quit Facebook for a few days, weeks, or even months,” Eric Vanman, the lead psychologist in the study, told PsyPost.
The researchers did find that some of the people who quit Facebook felt somewhat dissatisfied with their lives, since they felt like they were missing out on something, and were happy when they were able to get back on FB. Still, cortisol was down in that group overall.
So there you have it. If you were planning to go on a technology detox (or want to join the #DeleteFacebook movement), this might just be another sign that quitting Facebook is an act of self-care.