By Akinwale Akinyoade
08 June 2020.
It is certain that in your dealings with other members of the society, you must have heard the saying, ‘we live in the social media age’. Social media is now an embedded part of our society; everyone from your mom to random Instagram influencers uses it to stay connected with their friends or to get noticed.
However, research has shown that social media adversely affects the mental health of many users and abstinence can actually have psychological benefits depending on what your social media accounts mean to you.
Research indicates that while a moderate amount of social media usage may be fine, excessive dependence on it can be damaging, and mean you over-invest in the highly unrealistic presentations of others.
If you are one of the many people out there addicted to social media, then it is time to switch off and take a step back. Here are some of the benefits you stand to gain if you can bring yourself to take a social media break.
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Improved Psychological Wellness
In a 2018 research that published a study on Facebook de-activation, it was discovered that participants of the study felt happier and less anxious when off Facebook. Sarah Eichemeyer of Stanford’s Economics Department said: “Our study shows that deactivating Facebook indeed causes people to be happier — although not by as much as correlational research might have suggested.”
However, Eichmeyer says her work also shows that social media has a lot to offer. “Our results leave little doubt that social media provides large benefits for its users,” she says.
What this means is that going off Facebook might make you feel better, but it won’t cause a complete psychological reversal. So taking a break doesn’t mean damning social media entirely; it can just mean re-evaluating the positive ways in which it can affect your life, and choosing to moderate your use to focus on those.
Reduce Negative Self-Talk
Many of us get unrealistic images of what or who we should be from social media and inadvertently cause damage to ourselves with constant negative self-talk. Feeding off other social media users’ profile and their seemingly exotic lives makes us think we aren’t living our best lives forgetting that things aren’t always as they seem.
Studies have found that negative self-appraisal, which is essentially poor judgement of oneself compared to others, can increase when you’re on social media searching for approval from others and absorbing unrealistic imagery. Some time off may reduce that — and therefore reduce symptoms of depression, which are also linked to negative self-appraisal.
Evaluate Your Response To Social Media
Taking a one month break off social media may seem a long time to many but it is also a good enough amount of time to judge your relationship with social media and give yourself perspective about life without social media.
Conceptual Image Of Young Woman Using Social Media On Laptop With Holographic Icons Projected From Screen
Taking time off social media allows you to focus on yourself and rewire your brain. Social media is meant for socialising and too much use can draw attention away from the self. A month-long break from social media forces you to re-focus on yourself, and on face-to-face interactions with others. A break on social media can re-adjust priorities and drown out voices that encourage comparison rather than self-focus.
Re-Assess Your Online Behaviour
Are you finding yourself getting into social media arguments or even saying things you don’t mean? Now is a good time to take that needed break from social media and evaluate your online behaviour. Taking a break allows you to monitor if you are growing callous and getting carried away with your online activities. A month-long break may help you step back from your behavior and evaluate what’s actually going on.