The TRUTH About Facebook (NEW RESEARCH!)

A new paper has just been published in The Journal of Social Psychology which investigated whether abstaining from Facebook reduces stress and subjective well-being.

The researchers divided 138 active Facebook users, aged 18 to 40 years, into two groups. Participants were each paid $20 Australian Dollars, which amounts to about $15.50 US Dollars, for participation in this study.

One group was instructed to give up Facebook for five days, while the other group was instructed to continue their Facebook use as normal. Measures of stress, well-being and salivary cortisol were recorded before and after the test period.

It was discovered that taking a 5-day break from Facebook led to lowered cortisol and improved stress levels, despite a concurrent lowered satisfaction with life.

The latter sounds like a withdrawal symptom to me, which implies some sort of addiction. So, I assume it would pass with time. Unfortunately, this study was too short in duration to confirm or deny my assumption.

Remember, people got by just fine before social media was ever invented — and you can too.

It should be noted that the cortisol levels did not differ between the two groups at baseline, so the drop in cortisol in the group that refrained from Facebook is noteworthy.

And research has demonstrated that higher cortisol levels suppress testosterone secretion by direct action on the testes.

Ergo, Facebook is no doubt playing some role in the ‘pussification’ of men today.

And that ‘pussification’ can also affect your social behavior. One study using 193 male and female participants found that individuals who trended toward maintaining existing relationships over seeking out new relationships had higher testosterone and lower cortisol levels than those who engaged in the opposite behavior.

In other words, even your social networking behavior can speak to your hormone profile. Basically, people who seek to “collect friends” on social media, rather than nurture existing relationships, might suffer from lower-testosterone and higher-cortisol levels.

And this has been documented among young Facebook users, aged 12 to 17. Where higher cortisol levels were positively associated with gaining more Facebook friends, and negatively associated with actual interaction with said friends.

Worse yet, that’s an age when teens are going through changes in their bodies, and how they think, feel, and socialize. In other words, they’re developing.

Social media use has also been connected with mental health issues such as depression, lowered self-esteem, and addiction.

Furthermore, high cortisol and high stress can lead to a myriad other health problems such as anxiety, depression, headaches, heart disease, memory loss, concentration problems, indigestion, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and Cushing’s Syndrome, which itself can lead to can lead to rapid weight gain, bruising, muscle weakness, diabetes, etc.

My advice is to limit your Facebook and even other social media use, or nix it altogether. The former is my advice to those who rely on social media for networking purposes rather than just casual social relations.

In other words, do what you gotta do, and get the hell off… like your balls and gains depend on it… literally. That is pretty much how I treat Facebook, and what few social media platforms I am actually on.

And certainly kids and teens should be restricted from its use, in my opinion. Especially given the data!

Anyway, let me know what you all think in the comments below.

REFERENCES

The burden of online friends: the effects of giving up Facebook on stress and well-being https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2018.1453467

Acute suppression of circulating testosterone levels by cortisol in men. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6348068/

Cortisol and testosterone associations with social network dynamics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26836773

Facebook behaviors associated with diurnal cortisol in adolescents: Is befriending stressful? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26519778

Adolescence (15-17 years old) | Child Development | NCBDDD | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/adolescence2.html

Online Social Networking and Mental Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183915/

Cortisol: What It Does & How To Regulate Cortisol Levels – WebMD https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol#1-4

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