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Natural Awakenings, Broward County, Florida

Take a Social Media Break to Improve Mental Health

Smartphone sitting on table with unplugged charger

Karolina Grabowska/Pexels.com

With 82 percent of Americans using apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, scrolling through social media has become an unconscious automatic behavior for many. But that distraction comes with a price, indicates a new study by the UK’s University of Bath. Half of the 154 participants ages 18 to 72 stopped using virtually all social media for one week, reducing their average usage time from eight hours to 21 minutes for that period. After the seven days, they showed significant improvements in their well-being, depression and anxiety scores compared to those in a control group that did not take such a break. “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,” says lead researcher Jeff Lambert. “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.”