Social Media Break Can Significantly Improve Mental Health

A social media break could significantly improve overall well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a new study from the University of Bath.

The researchers examined the mental health effects of stepping away from social media for one week. For some participants, the break freed up about nine hours that they would have normally spent on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

“Social media (SM) has revolutionized how we communicate with each other, allowing users to interact with friends and family and meet others based on shared interests by creating virtual public profiles,” wrote the study authors. “In the United Kingdom, the number of adults using SM has increased from 45 percent in 2011 to 71 percent in 2021.”

The researchers noted that previous studies have found negative relationships between social media use and various mental health indices. For example, a study of US adults showed that participants who used social media the most frequently had much greater odds of suffering from depression.

To investigate the benefits of a social media break, the researchers focused on people between the ages of 18 and 72 who used social media every day. The individuals were randomly assigned to either stop using social media platforms altogether for seven days or to continue their social media engagement as usual.

At the beginning of the study, the participants had reported spending an average of eight hours per week on social media. Those who took a break showed significant improvements in well-being, depression, and anxiety.

“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,” said lead researcher Dr. Jeff Lambert.

“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.”

“Of course, social media is a part of life and for many people, it’s an indispensable part of who they are and how they interact with others. But if you are spending hours each week scrolling and you feel it is negatively impacting you, it could be worth cutting down on your usage to see if it helps.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Source: Social media break can significantly improve mental health • Earth.com

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Critics:

By: Zia Sherrell

Social media has associations with depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, particularly among heavy users. A 2015 Common Sense survey found that teenagers may spend as much as 9 hours of each day online. Many of these individuals are themselves concerned that they spend too much time browsing social networks. This wave of concern suggests that social media could affect the mental health of its users.

The researchers behind a 2017 Canadian study confirmed this finding. They noted that students who use social media for more than 2 hours daily are considerably more likely to rate their mental health as fair or poor than occasional users. A 2019 studyTrusted Source tied social media use to disrupted and delayed sleep. Regular, high quality sleep is essential for well-being, and evidence shows that sleeping problems contribute to adverse mental health effects, such as depression and memory loss.

Aside from the adverse effects on sleep, social media may trigger mental health struggles by exposing individuals to cyberbullying. In a 2020 survey of more than 6,000 individuals aged 10–18 years, researchers found that about half of them had experienced cyberbullying. One of the downsides of social media platforms is that they give individuals the opportunity to start or spread harmful rumors and use abusive words that can leave people with lasting emotional scars.

Although social media may not play a role in each of these incidences, the time frame correlates with the growing use of these platforms. A 2021 study confirms this effect. The researchers reported that while social media use had a minimal impact on boys’ risk of suicide, girls who used social media for at least 2 hours each day from the age of 13 years had a higher clinical risk of suicide as adults. Furthermore, findings from a population-based study show a decline in mental health in the U.S., with a 37% increase in the likelihood of major depressive episodes among adolescents.

A 2019 studyTrusted Source suggested that teenagers who use social media for more than 3 hours daily are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and antisocial behavior.

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5 Daily Wellness Tips to Improve Your Health Now

1

Meditate! Be Grateful! Journal! It’s starting to sound a lot like “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” from The Brady Bunch. I now know what Jan must have felt like. Daily, if not hourly, we are bombarded with much of the same information on how to improve our overall health and well-being. While all of those practices certainly work and are valuable, there are a few methods that do not get as much air time.

The following tips might sound a bit strange and counterintuitive, but not only are they effective, but they are also cost and time-efficient.

1. Contrast therapy

Being told to take a cold shower and sober up may have more than one meaning after all. Contrast therapy or hydrotherapy is a process in which you take your body from one temperature extreme to the other through the use of hot and cold water. This centuries-old practice is widely known for its many benefits.

Ranging from inflammation reduction, accelerated tissue repair and improved circulation, contrast therapy is no longer just primarily for athletes. “It has the ability to help tone the autonomic nervous system in ways few things can,” says Dr. Kelly Bender, founder of the Pure Vitality Rejuvenation Center located in Los Angeles, California.

People seeking to increase their energy, sharpen focus and enhance overall mood have started to incorporate contrast therapy into their daily life. According to Dr. Bender, “The easiest but still very effective way to use it is by simply ending your showers with 30 seconds of cold water. Start with cool water one day and work your way up to full-on cold. Ending your shower with about 30 seconds of cold has a different effect than taking entire cold showers. Having a quick burst at the end will actually cause your body to react and heat up more”. The intensity and duration of the shower can be adjusted depending on your preference and tolerance. No matter how small you start one thing is certain, you will have the ability to get comfortable with being uncomfortable real fast.

2. Sunlight

It’s known that sunlight is an actual physiological human need. More often than not, we think about the sun in terms of how over-exposure leads to skin cancer, eye injuries and premature aging. But depending on the time of day, the sun brings a lot of reward with reduced risk.

The golden hours to reap the benefits of sunlight are between 7 am to 9 am, as opposed to later in the day when the sun’s rays are the strongest. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it triggers the production of vitamin D, aka the “sunshine” vitamin. Aside from just building bones, D plays a major role in strengthening our immune system. If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, oddly enough, sunlight is extremely powerful in regulating our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal alarm clock. Misalignment of the circadian rhythm not only throws off our sleep/wake cycle, but our ability to handle stress is severely diminished. If you are still not convinced, take into account that the phrase “sunny disposition” holds some merit. Sunlight increases serotonin, the feel-good hormone which helps us to feel calm, focused and promote overall well-being.

A few simple ways you can invite 15 to 20 minutes of morning sun into daily routine include going for a quick walk or any other type of activity. If you are pressed for time you can get smaller amounts of sun exposure by opening windows as you get ready for the day or even while driving.

3. Grounding

Earthing, otherwise known as “grounding,” has evolved from once being considered an oddball trend to more of a mainstream therapeutic technique. Having been around for centuries, grounding is simply what it sounds like — making direct physical contact to our planet. Whether by bare feet, hands or even our entire body, the belief behind this practice is that the Earth’s surface contains electrons that promote feelings of well-being. Healthline reports that there’s not a ton of scientific research on the benefits of grounding, but that people who do it have reported improvement for conditions such as fatigue, anxiety and depression.

Grounding is an easy lifestyle addition involving a minimal amount of effort and time. Although it may sound a bit off the beaten path, it’s as simple as sitting, standing or walking barefoot outdoors for a few minutes a day. A patch of grass, dirt, sand or a body of water, are all great places to soak up the healing power of nature.

4. Cellular repair

This wellness component is so important and yet talked about very little. The best way for us to maintain the foundation of our health is on a cellular level.

Well known within the science world, it’s only recently that the molecule NAD has become mainstream and embraced by the wellness industry. NAD, think of it as a “helper”, is an essential resource because it supports the repair of our cells, supports metabolism and helps turn what we eat into energy. Additionally, increased NAD fights immune stress. As we age, we lose up to 50% of these helpers. In addition, a variety of everyday stressors and even viral infections can deplete our cell’s NAD levels (up to 80% in the case of viruses).

By:

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com

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People across Western Washington are choosing or being asked to stay home from work amid coronavirus concerns. Physical therapist Jacob Kmiecik from Core Physical Therapy gives tips for staying healthy while changing your routine.
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