Do you feel like you’re constantly checking your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds? Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by the constant influx of information? If so, it might be time for a social media break. A new study from the University of Bath (UK) has found that taking a week-long break from social media has a positive impact on mental health. Participants in the study felt better after taking a break from social media, and were less depressed and anxious.
The impact of Social Media on our Mental Health
Social media has changed the way we live and communicate.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are three of the most popular social media platforms. Together they have a user base of almost 4 billion people.
TikTok has also experienced an exponential increase in users during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These platforms have become a fixture in our lives. However we are now starting to feel the mental health impact of the always-on, always-perfect, and carefully-curated stream of consciousness and photos.
The result has been a tsunami of mental health issues, particularly in teens and young adults.
Research has shown that spending time on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter can lead to feelings of envy, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Even more worrying is the link to conditions such as eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
The findings of the study
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, it might be time for a break. The study conducted by the University of Bath found that participants who took a week-long break from social media felt less anxious, less depressed, and had a more positive outlook on life.
The randomized controlled study included 154 participants aged in their twenties and thirties. It assessed the impact of not using the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for one week.
Participants were encouraged to increase their chances of successfully staying off the social media platforms by signing out of the relevant social media sites on their phone and on their laptops. They were also advised to delete the relevant social media apps from their phones and to turn their phone off whenever possible. In cases where doing this was not possible, it was suggested that they download and install an app blocker.
The results were irrefutable. At the end of the study, participants who had taken a social media break reported feeling happier, less anxious, and less depressed. In addition, they felt more connected to the people around them and had a more positive outlook on life.
Time for a mental health break from social media
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media, it might be time for a break. Your exhausted brain will thank you for it.