Skip to main content

You are in the: Facebook Psychology article section      

How Checking Facebook Too Often ...Can Make You Unhappy

Are you addicted to facebook?
Do you keep checking Facebook but never feeling satisfied?
Is it possible that checking your Facebook is making you unhappy?

Before you answer let’s take a look at what it is that is driving you to check Facebook so often in the first place…

For most people the greatest amount of satisfaction they can receive when checking Facebook is a new notification or message to them. I must admit, I like this myself.

Now, let’s look at this point in relation to the psychology of addiction…

According to addiction psychology one of the most powerful forces that motivates repetitive behavior is having that behavior periodically but unexpectedly produce a reward. Now, since most people can never know in advance what types of notifications and information they will see on Facebook …they continually check back in hopes of the emotional high that a good update will provide.

Ok, but how can checking Facebook make you unhappy?

Have you ever listened to a song on Youtube so much one day …that eventually you got tired of it and couldn’t listen to it anymore that day?

Sure! We all have!

Now, after switching away from the video, did you consider going back again five minutes later and listen to it AGAIN …just to see how you felt? Of course not, you knew that you would feel bored (and probably irritated) if you listened to it again so soon, not more satisfied.

Now, let’s consider this analogy in relation to Facebook…

With Facebook however, no matter how many times you visit it …you still can’t escape the feeling that one more visit might result in more satisfaction.

We usually have an idea of what will satisfy us …and what won’t. For example, we will avoid doing something (like listening to a song on Youtube for the 21st time …when we got tired of it after the 20th time) that we are confident won’t satisfy us. However, Facebook is constantly presenting random information that may or may not engage and satisfy us. This is why we keep checking it.

Unfortunately the vast majority of the time we check we don’t find anything that fulfills us. When you are in the mood to see people’s reactions to the latest news …you might instead find that people are posting baby pictures. Or conversely, you may find that when you are in the mood to be cheered up …everybody is ranting about a particular current event that doesn’t interest you.

But you keep checking just in case the next update provides what you are looking for.

Constantly Checking Facebook Can Slowly Deflate Your Mood

Looking for something and not getting it (like we’ve just gone through) can deflate you …and bring your mood down over time.

With each update of your Facebook news feed you experience a moment of anticipation and hope that something worthwhile will arrive. This means that inevitably most times you check your news feed you end up feeling disappointed.

Ultimately, this disappointment can then lead right back to checking the top of your news feed and perpetuating a negative and unfulfilled feeling.