Facebook could be good for your health, with a new study finding that viewing old pictures and posts on the social site can help lift users’ moods.
According to figures collated by Dr Alice Good of the University of Portsmouth, 90 per cent of 114 Facebook users questioned admitted to looking at past Facebook postings and images of themselves on the site when feeling low as a digitally enhanced pick-me-up.
Contradicting previous claims that following Facebook activity can be detrimental to mental health, Dr Good has suggested that looking back as old Facebook pictures is one of the easiest ways to boost your mood and can act as a “self-soothing” remedy.
“We were very surprised by these findings, which contradict some recent reports,” Portsmouth University’s Dr Good said. “Although this was only a small study, we will go on to study larger groups to see if the results remain consistent.”
Backing up the original claims, Dr Clare Wilson, also of Portsmouth University added: “Although this is a pilot study, these findings are fascinating. Facebook is marketed as a means of communication with others. Yet this research shows we are more likely to use it to connect with our past selves, perhaps when our present selves need reassuring.”
Suggesting that viewing old Facebook pictures could be used as self-soothing treatment to calm those with existing mental health problems, Dr Good has claimed that such practises could help anyone in a low mood. “The results indicate we could use self-soothing as a form of treatment for low moods she said.”
With 94 per cent of those questioned admitting that access via Facebook on their smartphones, the study has found that such self-soothing practises could be carried at any time. A hefty 86 per cent of those completing the study revealed they accessed Facebook on a daily basis.
“The pictures we often post are reminder of a positive past event,” Dr Wilson said. “When in the grips of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel. Our positive posts can remind us of this.”
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