HEADS UP! Last month, researchers at UPenn published the first large scale, ecologically-valid study of its sort showing causality between social media consumption and an increase in depression, anxiety and loneliness.
The study lasted three weeks and the conclusions were striking- the group that cut back significantly on their social media use (10 minutes per day per social media platform) reported a marked improvement in their mood and how they felt about their lives (according to results from 7 different established scales).
The control group did not experience the same “clinically significant” reduction of depressive symptoms.
The bottom line? Our generation’s excessive use of social media has been proven to be bad for both our moods or our overall well-being.
One way I can think of to start to raise your awareness of just how much time you are spending on social media is with the use of the “screen time” feature on iPhones. It allows you to track the amount of time you spend on your phone and then on each individual app. It also gives you the option to set limits and can lock an app when you reach your maximum (you can unlock it if you’re desperate)!
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re shocked/embarrassed when you first see how much time you’re actually spending on social media. Set a realistic goal that is small but attainable. Once you reach that goal, move the goal post! Don’t forget to pay attention to any shifts you experience. That will reinforce the value of cutting back, even if it’s hard.