A week away from your favourite social media platforms improves your well-being and reduces depression and anxiety, a study finds.
The study published in CyberPsychology Behavior and Social Networks compared the effects of a week’s break from social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok on well-being, depression and anxiety with normal social media use.
The researchers enrolled 154 people with an average age of 29.6 years. They were divided into two groups. Some participants had to stop using social media for a week, while others continued as usual. The researchers monitored the participants’ social media use through apps that track screen time.
At the start of the study, participants completed a survey measuring their anxiety, depression, and well-being. After a week, they completed a follow-up questionnaire.
Improving mental health
The study found that a week-long break from social media led to significant improvements in well-being, depression and anxiety. The study results add to previous evidence that a short break from social media can have a positive effect on well-being and reduce depression.
“Many of our participants reported positive effects of not using social media, with better mood and less anxiety in general. This suggests that even a small break can have an impact. Of course, social media is part of life and for many people, it is an indispensable part of who they are and how they interact with others. But if you spend hours each week scrolling and you feel it’s negatively impacting you, it may be worth reducing your usage to see if it helps,” lead researcher Dr Jeff Lambert said in a press statement.
The researchers say they will conduct further studies to determine the clinical effects of taking a social media break.