Written by Emma Vetriano • Published 19th March 2013
For many people, Facebook has long been viewed as a means of catching up with friends, sharing photos and of course, indulging in the occasional spot of ‘Facebook stalking’… However, according to new research published this week, the person who we’re most keen to catch up with when we log on is actually… ourselves.
The study of 144 Facebook users, which was carried out by the University of Portsmouth, found that 90% of users log on when ‘feeling low’ to remember happier times, with three-quarters of people opting to scroll through old photos of themselves as a form of therapy.
These findings come less than a month after research was published which cited ‘Facebook envy’ as a source of depression. However, researchers in this most recent study found that users typically post positive pictures and status updates and looking back over these snaps and wall posts when upset or depressed reminds them of happier times.
It certainly sounds feasible… after a bad day at work, flicking through a (vetted) selection of photos of yourself drinking cocktails on the beach with your besties is enough to make anyone forget their Monday blues.
Portsmouth University psychologist Dr Clare Wilson said: ‘Facebook is marketed as a means of communicating 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. The pictures we often post are reminders of a positive past event. When in the grip of a negative mood, it is too easy to forget how good we often feel. Our positive posts can remind us of this.’
Scientists already know that reminiscent therapy is helpful for treating older people with memory loss.
Now the University of Portsmouth plan to extend their pilot study to confirm these findings, meaning Facebook could one day become a prescribed treatment for those suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
And who said procrastinating on Facebook wasn’t constructive…