Unplug For Better Mental Health: Deleting Facebook For Seniors

Social media is making everyone miserable. New research indicates that it may be bad for your health. Checking your Facebook page may increase the likelihood of depression and mental illness, and the dopamine hit your brain gets from likes and comments can become habit forming, leading to an addiction. The average user spends 700 minutes a month on the site. The more often they post, the lower their self-esteem is likely to be. Senior citizens are the second-largest demographic on the site, and their numbers are growing. Here is how to deactivate your Facebook account and get your life back.

The Soft Goodbye

Go into your account settings on Facebook. These are accessible at the down arrow at the top right of the page in your web browser. Select settings and choose general. Click “Manage Account,” then click “Deactivate your account.” Once you have completed the process, no one else can see your profile but old messages to your friends will still be visible to them. Your Facebook Messenger service will still be active, but if you want to remove it, the process is simple enough. If you want to reactivate later, you can sign back in to Facebook and revive your closed account.

The Final Approach

There is, however, a permanent way to delete your Facebook account. Be aware that this process takes time. You’ll need to contact Facebook and request removal, and the action can take up to 90 days.  Once complete, you will be unable to reactivate the account and everything you’ve added to the site will be gone. No one will see your profile, or be able to contact you. All your information, photos, posts and comments will eventually be purged from the site.

Advantages Of Quitting

People who leave Facebook report feeling happier and experiencing more satisfaction with their lives. They say they feel less stressed, less depressed and less lonely. Evidence indicates that no matter how good your life is, social media encourages you to compare yourself to others and inevitably, you’ll find your own life wanting.

Facebook also feeds into unpleasant personality traits and reinforces them. It encourages us to be more narcissistic and lowers our self-esteem. Many people mistake having a lot of friends online for the social support of friends in real life, but the degree of support cyberfriends can offer is by nature quite limited. Real friendships need occasional face-to-face contact to maintain them. Even if you’re a moderate user of social media, getting off Facebook will give you back many valuable minutes in each day. It’s common for users to spend an hour a day “farming” in Facebook games. If you spent that time in actual physical gardening you would be a good deal healthier. And you could grow some tasty foodstuffs.

When we get stressed, it’s natural to look for ways to make ourselves feel happier and more upbeat. But the danger lies in forming unhealthy habits and response patterns to stress, and not dealing with the root causes of the stressful situation. Facebook can become one of those unhealthy habits, leading users into a downward spiral. They feel bad, they look to their online friends to make them feel better, but then they need more and more cheering up. Over time, the situation becomes self-defeating. They feel worse and worse.  

It’s important not to self-medicate with addictive substances such as alcohol, drugs and even social media.  Instead, find a constructive way to deal with what is making you feel bad. Take up a craft or hobby. Enroll in a yoga class and learn to meditate and reduce your stress response. Those lost hours on social media can be channeled productively into dealing with your problems. Take up journaling. Start exercising. Replace empty cyber friendships with real human connection. Go see your friends and loved ones and spend time with them.

Image Courtesy Pexels