Social media. It is, in all likelihood, the reason you are reading this article. Whether Tiktok, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other app, you are statistically very likely to be on it quite a bit. And as you probably know, there is a lot of research out there that says social media is rewiring our brains in unfortunate ways. But it turns out, the opposite is also true. Taking time away from social media is really good for us.
A University of Bath study observed 154 people who use social media daily and split them into two groups — one who continued using social media as normal (about seven hours a day) and the other who tried to cut it out entirely (although, given how vital social media has become to our lives, most said they still had to use it at least a few minutes every day). The group who cut out social media saw enormous spikes in their wellbeing and saw anxiety and depression levels plummet. This held true across all age groups.
“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,” lead researcher Dr. Jeff Lambert said in a press release. “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.”