Time off social media boosts mental health, study suggests – Chicago Tribune

 Time off social media boosts mental health, study suggests – Chicago Tribune

It’s no secret that excessive social media can be detrimental to a person’s mental health. Now, research suggests that taking even a short break from TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Staying on social media for a week means, for some study participants, having about nine hours of free time, which improves their well -being, British researchers report.

“If you feel like you’re using too much social media and it’s negatively affecting your mental health, then rest can be a test and give you at least some improvement in speed,” the author says. in the study Jeff Lambert, an assistant professor of health psychology at the University of Bath.

These findings may have implications for how people manage their mental health, offering an option for people to try, according to Lambert. “However, more research is needed to assess longer -term effects and whether they are appropriate in a clinical context,” he added.

For the study, researchers randomly selected 154 people aged 18 to 72 who used social media daily, ordering them to stop using all social media for a week or continue to use it as usual. The people in the study spent an average of eight hours per week on social media.

Those who took a break from social media had significant improvements in well-being, depression and anxiety, compared to those who continued to use social media, the study found.

Those who took a week off used social media for an average of 21 minutes, compared to about seven hours those left, Lambert said.

The findings were published recently in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.

Dr. Scott Krakower, a psychiatrist at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York City, thinks that for some people, social media can result in feelings of depression and anxiety as they compare themselves to some of these sites.

“Maybe they feel unworthy because they’re not like the people they’re with,” he said. “You don’t know anything about them, even though you know a lot of information and you may feel excluded because of some things other people do to evoke feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. of self -confidence. “

Krakower doesn’t think leaving social media entirely is the best strategy for people experiencing negative feelings. Better, he believes, is to create a plan to manage social media use, which could include going to these sites less often or taking frequent short breaks.

“I think if you have any suspicion that depression [and] Anxiety comes from online or you’re upset by looking at things you’ve noticed on social media, and it hinders your functioning, then I think you need to rest a bit, even if it’s one or two. day. days, and see how you do without it, ”Krakower said.

“I don’t think you have to be completely lost unless you feel like you’re completely addicted to it, but I think you have to keep an eye on it,” Krakower said.

Another expert says staying on social media isn’t the answer, rather it’s learning how to use these sites in a healthy way.

“While abstention can improve well -being, it can be unrealistic, feasible or even good in the long run,” said Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Ultimately, our goal should be to focus on reducing damage to these platforms, not prevention,” he said. “These platforms have become an important part of daily life for most people under the age of 30. The real challenge is to help people use the platforms thoughtfully and adaptably. “

c.2022 The New York Times Company

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