A social media break can be the key to improving your mental and physical health.
Researchers found that the use of social media can negatively impact your mental health. Several studies prove that social media users are at a higher risk of developing depression and loneliness.
Social Media Break – An observational study
A study examined the impact of a social media break on participants aging between 18 and 72. Initially, the participants reportedly spent 8 hours a week on social media. Those who took a break for one week showed improvements in their levels of anxiety and depression.
At the end of the study, many participants reported a positive experience, with lesser incidences of anxiety, improved mood, and better overall health. They also found themselves being more productive, social, and active.
Another study conducted in 2018, found a direct link between decreased social media usage and improved symptoms of depression and loneliness. Many social media users also affirmed that social media negatively impacts their happiness and self-image.
How social media affects your health?
Social media has penetrated into our lives like no other media. There is always something new on the feed, something engaging, something exciting, that keeps people hooked for hours at a stretch. It is true that social media has changed many lives and has motivated many people, but it has also created a dark cloud of poor self-image, anxiety, depression, FOMO, and loneliness.
Many studies have also found a link between increased use of social media to poorer sleep routines. A 2021 pilot study reported that students noticed a positive change in mood, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep when they took a social media break.
7 Health Benefits of Social Media Break
Here are 7 benefits of taking a break from social media
1. Find your Good Mood
People who spend more time on social media scrolling feeds often end up feeling empty, lonely, inadequate, depressed, and develop a low self-image. Also, comparing one’s life with the filtered life of social media can lead to dissatisfaction and resentment. This can also lead to stress, anxiety, and a feeling of unhappiness.
Several studies have found that taking a break from social media can improve your overall mood. Experts are now recommending social media detox to people who are active on social media and are reporting these mental health issues.
2. Break the cycle of Fear of Missing Out
The fear of missing out is a legit fear that makes people do things that they don’t even want to do. Whether it is attending late-night parties or going on office tours people do these things just to avoid FOMO. The same is with social media use!
Social media is engineered to be addictive, as addictive as cocaine. And the constant notifications just make it even harder to stay away. You can uninstall the app for a few days or put the notifications on silent to avoid distractions during the day.
3. Real connections help you live longer
This is scientifically proven that having face-to-face connections with people improves your well-being and longevity. Real conversations with real people boost feel-good hormones in your body. It is also found to be helpful in alleviating stress and boosting heart health.
Several studies have also linked real conversations with lower rates of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, better immunity, and greater empathy. Taking a break from social media can open that window of time and space to connect with real-world people.
4. You get all the time you need
One thing that everyone would agree without a second thought is that social media is time-consuming. You log in to your page for a short five-minute scroll and you end up wasting your precious hours watching random reels and memes. It also lowers your productivity and makes you feel sluggish.
Taking a break from social media will help you realize all the time you actually have. You can go for a walk or join the gym, spend time with your kids or hone a hobby. Researchers say that putting your social media scrolling on pause will help you regain at least 2 hours every day. This number is much higher for young teens and millennials.
5. The break that brings better sleep
Several studies have shown that high use of social media can cause sleep disturbances and difficulty falling asleep. Especially, screen exposure before bedtime can result in poor sleep, which is associated with a number of co-morbid health issues.
A 2021 study reported that limiting social media use for a week can result in improved sleep and prevent sleep problems. Getting sound sleep further results in better focus, improved performance, and less fatigue.
6. Beat your mental health issues
Several studies have linked the use of social media to several mental health issues. From increased stress to anxiety to depression, it is linked to poor mental health among individuals of all ages.
A 2018 study found that taking a week’s break from social media can result in reduced stress. Another study reported that the break can also help people suffering from anxiety, depression, and psychological distress. A 2018 study also reported that limiting the use of social media to 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and depression.
7. Live in the real world
The obsession with social media has snatched away the zest of life from many people. The urge to click a selfie at every place or capture everything on camera often makes people miss the real fun of enjoying the moment.
Putting the phone down and cherishing the moment can bring real joy to our otherwise mundane life. Whether it’s an event or a trip or anything you do, capturing it on your phone should be the last thing on your mind!
Social media has become an ingrained part of our lives. From being updated about the world to staying connected with our friends, a portion of our life is arrested by the web of social media. In many ways, social media has benefitted us, but as I always say too many of even the good things are bad. Developing an addiction to social media is a big problem.
As such going for a digital detox can be the best solution for your mental and physical health. Replace your urge of using social media with other healthy habits like going for a walk or talking to a friend. With a little mindfulness and conscious use, social media can be a healthy tool for learning, connecting, and expressing ourselves.