Research says you'll be happier and healthier if you ditch Facebook

You don't have to do away with it entirely but you're better off limiting usage.

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A new paper in the journal Computers In Human Behavior confirms what you were probably thinking all along: less time on Facebook might lead to a healthier outlook on life.

Key findings — The team from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany found that by reducing their time on Facebook, users' "life satisfaction" as well as physical activity went up. Additionally, people were less likely to smoke and show depressive symptoms. They were also less likely to experience comparison-induced envy and lack of self-esteem.

"Less time spent on Facebook leads to more well-being and a healthier lifestyle," the study notes. We dig it.

The study, of course, has its nuances and small details worth keeping in mind, but it's a generally positive finding that could encourage people to limit their use of the social network. After all, better health and mental ease seem to be great incentives.

Methodology — According to researcher Julia Brailovskaia, the team recruited 286 participants who used Facebook for an average of 25 minutes daily. Researchers then divided the participants into two groups: a control group of 146 people and the remaining 140 who were asked to limit their Facebook time to 20 minutes. This entire approach had to be followed for two weeks.

The participants were studied before the experiment, then after the two-week mark, then after one month, and then finally three months in. Researchers used health questionnaires to assess their mental wellness.

Moral of the story — The nature of the study isn't unprecedented, of course. For years now, psychologists have been looking into the effects of social media and warned that being extremely online comes with some major risks. But it's still beneficial to get a scholarly confirmation like this one. While ditching Facebook entirely won't cure your life problems, reducing time on it could help you breathe a bit easier.