Published: Fri, April 06, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Quitting Facebook can reduce stress

Quitting Facebook can reduce stress

Deleting your Facebook account will not only protect your data, it could also reduce your stress levels and risk of mental and physical disorders, scientists say.

The participants in Vanman's study, who were identified as "active" Facebook users, were only required to give up the social media for five days.

A University of Queensland research team led by Dr Eric Vanman of the School of Psychology, investigated the effects of a short break from Facebook on a person's stress and well-being. Whenever I would quit Facebook, I'd feel an immediate sense of relief that lasted for days.

Australian scientists conducted a small study - they made 138 for five days to abandon the social networks. Vanman and his colleagues measured salivary cortisol, perceived stress, and well-being, and asked each participant a series of questions regarding mood, loneliness, and life satisfaction and there was a significant difference between both the sub-groups. "Abstaining from Facebook was shown to reduce a person's level of the stress hormone cortisol, but people's own ratings of their stress did not change - perhaps because they weren't aware their stress had gone down", he said. While their stress levels went down, participants also reported having a lower level of "well-being", something researchers attributed to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Quitting Facebook can reduce stress
Quitting Facebook can reduce stress

"People said they felt more unsatisfied with their life, and were looking forward to resuming their Facebook activity", he said. All participants provided saliva samples at the start and end of the study in order for the researchers to measure any changes in their cortisol levels.

Vanman said there were a number of theories behind the mixed results. "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", Vanman told PsyPost.

"We don't know long it takes to get this reduction in cortisol or when it would start to increase again before someone made a decision to get back on Facebook", Vanman explained. "However, our initial findings here suggest that people should try to take breaks from Facebook whenever they feel like it's getting to be 'too much'".

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