Want to Improve your Mental and General Health? A Simple One-Week-Long Break From Social Media Can Improve Your Health
A simple one-week-long break from social media can improve your health a new study suggests...
A new study has been released in which researchers asked individuals to cease using social media for one week. They urged the participants to do so by enticing them with a possible result of improvements in their well-being, depression, and anxiety.
The University of Bath researchers evaluated the mental health benefits of the week-long social media cleanse and for some, this meant freeing up nearly nine hours of their week. Their findings suggest that just one week of no social media would improve an individual’s overall level of well-being and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
The results were published on May 6th, 2022, in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking.
154 random individuals aged 18 to 72 were asked to participate and were offered to be entered into some sort of intervention group or just stop social media for a week. The control group for the research continued to scroll as normal. Those participating reported nearly 8 hours per week on social media at the start and one week later those who took the break garnered unmatched benefits.
“Scrolling social media is so ubiquitous that many of us do it almost without thinking from the moment we wake up to when we close our eyes at night. We know that social media usage is huge and that there are increasing concerns about its mental health effects, so with this study, we wanted to see whether simply asking people to take a week’s break could yield mental health benefits.
Many of our participants reported positive effects from being off social media with improved mood and less anxiety overall. This suggests that even just a small break can have an impact. Of course, social media is a part of life and for many people, it’s an indispensable part of who they are and how they interact with others. But if you are spending hours each week scrolling and you feel it is negatively impacting you, it could be worth cutting down on your usage to see if it helps.”
Dr. Jeff Lambert, lead researcher at Bath’s Department for Health, explained.
There may be future additions to the findings as the researchers will be attempting to do follow-ups with those who took more than a week to see if the benefits persistsed. In the United Kingdom (where the study was held) the number of adults using social media increased from 45% in 2011 to 71% in 2021. Among 16 to 44-year-olds, as many as 97% of us use social media and scrolling is the most frequent online activity we perform.
“Taking a One-Week Break from Social Media Improves Well-Being, Depression, and Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial” by Jeffrey Lambert, George Barnstable, Eleanor Minter, Jemima Cooper and Desmond McEwan, 10 May 2022, Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking.