Want to reduce stress in just five days? Quit Facebook, study finds

If you're looking for ways to eliminate stress from your life, there's a simple solution. Try quitting Facebook, a new report suggests.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia recently conducted a small study, published in the Journal of Social Science, to determine how the social media service affects mental health.

To do so, they examined 138 Facebook users. While about half remained active on the platform, the other half took a five-day break. The scientists then took saliva samples of all the participants to measure levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.

After analyzing the results, they found that those who temporarily stopped using Facebook saw a drop in cortisol levels. However, they also reported lower feelings of well-being.

Explore>> Related: Study: Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health

"People said they felt more unsatisfied with their life, and were looking forward to resuming their Facebook activity," said lead author Eric Vanman in a statement. They believe they'd yield the same results with other social media sites.

But why the mixed findings? The scientists think it could be a variety of reasons.

“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,” Vanman said.

He also suspected that those who left the site for a short while felt less content, because they had been cut off from their friends online.

Explore>> Related: Physical activity could improve your happiness, study says

"It seems that people take a break because they're too stressed, but return to Facebook whenever they feel unhappy because they have been cut off from their friends," Vanman explained. "It then becomes stressful again after a while, so they take another break. And so on."

About the Author