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3 Ways Facebook Is Making Your Life Miserable

3 Ways Facebook Is Making Your Life Miserable

Five hundred million people log onto Facebook at least once a day. As the undisputed king of social networking, Facebook is where we share pictures, discuss news stories, and catch up with friends we haven’t seen since high school, but could it also be stealing our happiness?

A recent study from the University of Michigan investigated the impact of regular Facebook use on human well-being. The results showed that the more people used Facebook, the lower they rated their current mood and overall level of satisfaction with life.

The researchers “found that…the more frequently people used Facebook, the worse they felt immediately afterward. Additionally, the more they used Facebook over the course of two weeks, the less satisfied and happy they were with their lives as a whole.”

Well, that’s worthy of a big “dislike.” Here’s what the scientists say could be happening the more time we spend in the virtual world.

1. Facebook makes us jealous: The study found (as many have noted over the years) that most people only post “glowingly positive stuff” on Facebook. Too much time spent browsing everyone else’s highlight reel can make us feel crappy about our own lives.

2. Facebook makes us feel left out: Sure, we have lots of digital connections, but they can’t take us out to lunch or listen to us cry about a mean boss. When we spend time reading posts about other people doing fun stuff, we feel bad because they’re doing it without us.

3. Facebook makes us stalkers: A disturbing number of people spend most of their Facebook time searching for “exes, frenemies, people they don’t necessarily like, and people they can’t be with in real life,” explain the authors. Not surprisingly, this encourages us to dwell on past failures, and makes us feel unsatisfied.

The researchers arrived at these results by text messaging a group of 82 participants periodically over a 2 week period. Each text asked the participant to describe how they felt at that exact moment, and how satisfied they felt with their lives. The more people used Facebook at one time point, the worse they felt the next time they were text-messaged; the more they used Facebook over two-weeks, the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time. Admittedly, this is a small sample size, but if you’re anything like me, these results only reinforce something we’ve all noticed.

“People should be aware that Facebook can have these effects on you,” Oscar Ybarra, one of the additional authors of the University of Michigan study, told ABC News. “Awareness is important, and it’s also important to remember that Facebook is a public place where you get a very biased version of people’s lives.”

Related:
Those Annoying Couples on Facebook Really ARE That Happy

 

Read more: Depression, Health, Life, Mental Wellness, , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

207 comments

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9:52AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

I have to admit, that's not my Facebook experience. I've come to know (in a virtual way, of course), so many people I never could have met. They've definitely increased my knowledge about many things, helped me with questions I've had (animal illnesses, internet questions, etc) and truthfully, enriched my life.
Does Facebook still make me crazy in a few ways - of course. The drama dweebs and negative personalities, I just scroll on by.

4:27AM PST on Nov 13, 2013

I agree with carla... People on fb tend to be so irritating, compulsively counting 'likes' on the silly posts of their fake glorious lives and thinking that makes them better than others!
Post a pic that spreads awareness on animal rights and nobody gives a damn, post a pic of yourself with 3 tons of makeup with the title "on my way to the living room" and everyone worships ya

1:43PM PST on Nov 9, 2013

Easy... I don´t have facebook...
^..^

9:52AM PDT on Oct 20, 2013

I still am happy after using Facebook though :)

5:03PM PDT on Sep 5, 2013

For each of those statements above -- they could be truned to a positive -- for example jealous can be inspiration if the person is genuine. I found that for the time I was on facebook -- I was able to use facebook for good reasons --

and not for the negative and not for the evil reasons.

The only question -- is are there people who would do evil watching -- and that is outweighed by the good that facebook could bring -- possibly if -- there was some way to prevent those who would attempt to do evil.

4:46AM PDT on Sep 5, 2013

Noted

10:20AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

While I didn't feel sad or jealous when I was on FB, I did feel hugely irritated. I finally got fed up with the constant e mails to alert me to posts which turned out to be nothing more than what someone had for dinner or what their grand kid said or did. If you have something important to say, by all means; otherwise you may need to find better ways to validate yourself. Perhaps it is just me, but I don't think all of the mundane bits of my life are worth sharing with the world.

9:53AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

I so feel the pain of facebook users

9:47AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

oh well....I guess the FB ghost is here today and the rest is NOT going to be posted. SO--> suffice it to say that my suggestion would be to either watch what you put on FB or just don't join to begin with!! I learned a valuable lesson which just goes to prove the old saying is true that you're never too old to learn since I am now a senior, and I don't mean in high school either!! LOL

9:45AM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

....did it again!! Third time may be a charm! ........listed "friends only"

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