There have been a lot of news reports about the negative impact social media has on mental health, but, at the same time, many people struggle to give it up entirely. 

However, taking a break from it for a few hours a day could have a big effect on levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

According to a study from 2022, having a one-week break from social network sites reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in participants. 

Another one also showed that three days away from them lowered incidences of body shame and surveillance among ten to 19-year-old girls. They also felt a greater sense of self-compassion during this time. 

One of the main reasons for this is because social media encourages members to show off the best versions of themselves, making other people feel inferior about their own lives. Seeing unrealistic, and often digitally altered, images every day can increase a sense of envy, frustration and low self-worth. 

Therefore, as well as increasing incidences of anxiety and depression, it could also lead to a greater risk of developing an eating disorder, self-harming, or substance abuse.

Despite this, social media does have some benefits. For instance, it can strengthen relationships by keeping friends in touch with one another; it can help users find support when they need it; enables them to connect with similar-minded people; and broadens their understanding of the world. 

Therefore, some will not want to quit it altogether. Another approach is to delete the apps on the phone and just use them on the computer; changing the colour on the phone to grey to discourage you from looking at it; and keeping your phone at a distance so you cannot keep reaching for it. 

Some people also swear by turning their phones off in the evening, so they can concentrate on family life or just have a break from scrolling and encouraging these negative thoughts. 

This is not enough for some people, and they may need to seek psychological therapy for their deep feelings. Talking through reasons for their self-loathing, anxious thoughts, or issues with control is the first step to getting the help they need.