Vanity of vanities; all is vanity. Except for Facebook vanity, which, according to the circumspect results of a pilot study in the UK, could actually help improve your mood.
New research from the University of Portsmouth suggests that looking at pictures of yourself on Facebook might have a "self-soothing" effect. In other words, when you're feeling particularly awful that your greatest achievement in the last two decades has been beating the upside-down death levels of Ms. Pacman, you can log onto Facebook, fawn over pictures from your college years (when the world seemed brimming with possibilities) of you, surrounded by friends and enjoying delicious hamburgers during a Labor Day weekend barbecue, and actually feel (marginally) better.
This finding, according to study director Dr. Alice Good, contradicts previous research that suggests logging onto Facebook is more like a form of mental self-flagellation. Good cautions that the pilot study was very small — only 144 Facebook users were surveyed. However, almost 90 percent of those surveyed reported that they accessed the site to look at pictures on their own wall, and 75 percent reported that they were especially keen on staring at images of their faded glory when they were feeling low.
The results indicate we could use self-soothing as a form of treatment for low moods. We were very surprised by these findings, which contradict some recent reports. Although this was only a small study, we will go on to study larger groups to see if the results remain consistent.
According to the Telegraph, Scientists are already aware that reminiscent therapy helps people older people cope with memory problems. Good's study suggests that such therapy can be could also be an effective treatment for people suffering from depression or anxiety.
Image via Kati Neudert/ Shutterstock.