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Want to live happily ever after? Quit Facebook


Fitter. Happier. More Productive.

For as long as human beings have existed, we’ve searched for secrets and shortcuts that could lead to eternal happiness. Sadly, those secrets won’t be revealed here, but there is one thing you can do to ensure a happier life – quit Facebook.

That’s according to a study by the Happiness Research Institute, which is based in Copenhagen. The Danish capital is often ranked amongst the happiest cities in the world, so before we take to social media to rage about their findings, perhaps we should at least hear them out.

The researchers tested the effects of Facebook on a sample of 1,095 people living in Denmark: half of them carried on using the network as normal, while the other half quit Facebook entirely for a week. (No, we’re not sure how you split 1,095 people in half either, but let’s assume they have their ways.)

After the week was up, 88% of people who’d quit Facebook said they felt happy, compared with 81% who’d continued as before. That doesn’t seem so bad, until you learn that the trend also extended to other moods. For instance, 22% of the quitters felt sad compared to 34% of those that continued using Facebook, and the people who took a break also felt less worried, angry, lonely and depressed.

Facebook envy

There’s likely to be several reasons for this reaction, but the Happiness Research Institute zoned in one idea – envy.

The study found that half of Facebook users say they envy the experiences shared by their friends on the site, a third envy how happy others appear to be, and four in 10 envy others’ apparent success. So, they concluded, Facebook teaches us to focus on the things in life that other people have, rather than the things we need.

It’s funny, because if so many of us are having the same feelings of envy when we look at Facebook, then there’s probably nothing to be envious about. The study found that 61% of us tend to post our good sides on the social network, while 69% prefer to posts pictures of just the great things they experience. When you put it like that, it’s no wonder the reality is rarely satisfying.

So, who knows – maybe quitting Facebook won’t make any difference, perhaps we just need a little perspective. Taking a week’s break probably wouldn’t hurt, though.

Image: Bloomua /

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