Science says Facebook’s bumming you out, so here are 4 quick fixes

Managing a multitude of social media accounts can be a terribly stressful, mind-numbingly boring, and ultimately unsatisfying endeavor, and quite recently, has been found to cause a bad case of the boo-hoos, especially for young users. A Facebook study shows that the more teens spend time on the social networking site, the more they become Debbie Downers with higher levels of unhappiness.

82 individuals of a certain age range that had access to a Facebook account as well as a touchscreen smartphone were invited to participate. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire inquiring about their motivation for using the social networking site. They were then sent text messages five times a day over the course of two weeks to keep track of their mood as they used the site. Results of the study show that whatever the participants’ reasons were for using Facebook, at the end of the day, most of them ended up feeling worse. “We measured lots and lots of other personality and behavioral dimensions, like, for example, frequency of Facebook use,” said Ethan Kross, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study. “But none of the factors that we assessed influenced the results. The more you used Facebook, the more your mood dropped.”

It’s not easy being a teenager. Not to worry though! Hope is not completely lost. Study or no study, it’s true that if there’s a will (i.e. the desire to stop feeling like a loser), there’s a way to unload the anvil-like burden Facebook has figuratively bestowed upon you… and the first and most important step is this: Get real.

1. Just bite the bullet and remove your ex as your Facebook friend already

Yeah yeah, you had a pretty amicable breakup and you promised to remain friends. But c’mon, admit it… you probably dedicate a small portion of your dwindling Facebook time stalking your former beau and keeping tabs on their day-to-day activities. Don’t even bother lying about it – it’s been scientifically studied and proven that pining for your ex can do more harm than good, and it’s also common sense: It’s a huge road block to moving on. If you can’t quite bring yourself to delete them entirely, at least make sure you no longer get updates from this person in your feed. 

2. Green does not look good on you: Get over your Facebook envy and resentment

You already know that your friend just spent her summer vacationing in the Caribbean with her well-off parents – you’ve seen the notification of her photo album upload on Facebook. Do yourself a favor and skip the post – it’s hard to be happy for someone if you can’t stop comparing your lives to theirs (or wishing you were in their shoes). In fact, if there are a group of Facebook users whose good times and easy life are bumming you out on the regular, just funnel them into the Acquaintances list or mark that you only want to see the most important stories from them. 

3. Ask yourself this question: Are Facebook birthday greetings really indicative of true friendship?

The answer is no, so you don’t have to worry your little head over the fact that your friends have more friends than you. Of the thousand-or-so contacts I have on Facebook, only a handful are friends who actually know my birthday without having to be reminded by the social network. Just because you see your classmate’s Timeline be riddled by a crapload of HBDs (seriously… if they’re taking time to greet, they should at least type out the words) it doesn’t make them better than you. No good can come from comparing amounts of likes and comments – they’re mostly bandwagoneers, anyway..

4. Don’t bother checking out your friends’ friends list.

Like I said earlier, most of those contacts are merely fluff. Explore Facebook’s List options and only check out the feed comprised of the people that really matter the most to you. You totally have the freedom to create a “posts too many selfies” list or a “too many passive-aggressive status updates” list. Your friends don’t have to know you’re minimizing their noise on Facebook. You really don’t want the added drama, anyway.

If self constraint is unbearable and you still find yourself unable to resist being somber over something you saw on Facebook, take a quick break from it and explore other online avenues. Or better yet, rest your tired thumbs and weary heads and log off. It’s been said many times but it remains very, very true: There is life outside Facebook.

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