#ProjectHappy: Does Quitting Facebook Really Make You Happier?

We chatted to four readers who've ditched Facebook to find out if quitting the site really does make you happier, and the answers were pretty definitive.

two girls using phones

Got a Facebook addiction? Us too, but if recent research  is to be believed, you’ll be much happier if you stop scrolling your news feed and log out. Researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that the ‘book can lead to symptoms of depression.

It’s all down to how you’re using it, Margaret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, explains. “Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives. However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship – things that cause envy among users – use of the site can lead to feelings of depression.”

So, will quitting the site really make you happier? We asked four readers who’ve gone cold turkey from Facebook to find out.

It was tough to begin with, but after two weeks I had no desire to use it at all.

Katie, 28

I quit Facebook during a horrible, earth-shattering breakup cos I couldn’t resist the urge to snoop on my ex. Even when I managed to whip up some self control, I was being bombarded with photos and updates which were NOT welcome.

It was tough to begin with, but after two weeks I had no desire to use it at all, and that’s when I really noticed a change. I had more time to actually enjoy my life and I didn’t feel the need to always be ‘on’ and active. There’s a lot to be said for the effect life comparisons have on your mood too, cos once I stopped being active on Facebook, I stopped having moments of crushing life envy.

I managed to stay off Facebook for a year and a half, but now that I’m using it again I find myself falling into all sorts of time warps, scrolling through the profiles of people I hardly even know at times, and that’s not good.

When I noticed I was spending hours scrolling through my news feed every day, I knew it was time to quit.

Michaela, 24

Facebook was taking up far too much of my time, and when I noticed I was spending hours scrolling through my news feed every day, I knew it was time to quit. It wasn’t easy though; nosiness got the better of me, and as I work as a hairdresser I was bombarded by messages from clients wanting to make an appointment.

In the end, I only lasted four days, but I did notice an improvement in my mood. I felt like I wasn’t constantly wasting my time, and there wasn’t the same pressure to always keep in touch with everyone. It was like a weight lifted of my shoulders when I didn’t have it, but I wouldn’t give it up for good.

I was fed up reading the same moany posts day in day out, and it was draining my normally positive outlook.

Sarah, 27

Quitting Facebook was a lightbulb moment for me, and I’ve never looked back. I was fed up reading the same moany posts day in day out, and it was draining my normally positive outlook. I’m also not afraid to admit that I’d started to feel envious and resentful of other people’s seemingly wonderful lives. Once I quit, my mood changed for the better. I started to care less about what people thought and to spend more time focusing on my real friends and family.

I’ve since deactivated my account, but I couldn’t figure out how to delete it – it’s like Facebook don’t want to let anyone go! Who knows, I may decide to go back at some point, but at the moment I’m happy to use other forms of social media. As for Facebook, I don’t miss it, and I’m much happier now that I no longer feel the need to keep up with the Joneses.

My other half complained that I spend too much time on my phone and tablet and not enough time in real life.

Marta, 20

The sense of freedom I felt when I gave up Facebook was unreal. I Initially gave it up for Lent, after my other half complained that I spend too much time on my phone and tablet and not enough time in real life. Within a few days I noticed how much more active my life was. I had more interest in doing things other than sitting about playing with my phone all day, and I wasn’t worried about missing out on funny posts or photos on Facebook.

Quitting the site made me realise that the only people who really matter are the ones who see me daily. I’m back on the site now, but I’m seriously considering quitting for good.

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