In a 2008 installment of the comic strip Dilbert, the title character tells his doctor: "I'm addicted to the Internet because it's more interesting than people. Is there a pill you can give to everyone to make them more interesting?"
At home, he complains to Dogbert, "Doctors never want to treat the underlying problem."
While Dilbert's cure for Internet addiction might be off-target, looking for a solution isn't. A new study shows that you actually can see health benefits from taking a social media break for less than a week.
Researchers tracked over 100 "active" Facebook users for five days after they deactivated from the social media site and found that their levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropped significantly.
Chronic high levels of cortisol have been associated with inflammation, anxiety, and damage to the cardiovascular system.
This comes on the heels of a 2017 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology in which researchers reported that "the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being ... We found consistently that both liking others' content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health and life satisfaction."
So, should you deactivate Facebook?
We suggest that everyone should disconnect for one week, every month. Use that time to reflect on whether your social media experience is generally positive.
If it's not, consider making your account private, stop following feeds or people who irritate you, and limit time spent checking up on folks you don't know from personal contact.
Spend more time with friends in person.
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