Study finds decreased social media use boosts mental health, job satisfaction

In a groundbreaking study conducted by the renowned Ruhr University Bochum and the German Center for Mental Health, it has been revealed that decreasing social media usage by just 30 minutes per day can significantly improve mental health and job satisfaction. The research also suggests that frequent social media users struggle to maintain focus on their work, leading to decreased productivity.

The study, published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology, explored the effects of reduced social media usage on individuals’ overall well-being. Participants, all of whom were employed and spent a minimum of 35 minutes daily on non-work-related social media activities, were divided into two groups. The first group continued their regular social media habits, while the second group reduced their social media time by 30 minutes per day for a span of seven days.

Prior to the experiment, participants completed questionnaires regarding their workload, job satisfaction, commitment, mental health, stress levels, fear of missing out (FOMO), and behaviors indicating addictive social media use. These questionnaires were then repeated on the day after the experiment began and one week later.

The results were striking. Those who reduced their social media usage experienced a decline in feelings of being overworked and a decrease in FOMO, the fear of missing out on important events within their network when offline. By refraining from social media, individuals gained more time to focus on their job, resulting in reduced divided attention and improved performance.

Julia Brailovskaia, the study’s author, explained, “Our brains struggle to deal with constant distractions, particularly when they involve diverting attention away from our tasks. Individuals who frequently interrupt their work to check their social media feeds find it more challenging to concentrate and achieve optimal results.”

The research team recruited 166 participants, all of whom were employed and met the daily social media usage criteria. The group was split into two, with one group maintaining their regular habits and the other reducing their social media time by 30 minutes per day for seven consecutive days.

Brailovskaia stated, “Even after this relatively short period, we observed noteworthy improvements in job satisfaction and mental health among the group that reduced their social media usage by 30 minutes per day.” Furthermore, these positive effects persisted for at least one week after the experiment concluded and, in some cases, even improved over time.

The study suggests that individuals often turn to social media platforms to compensate for positive emotions missing from their work lives, particularly when feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, platforms like LinkedIn offer opportunities for job seekers seeking new employment.

However, the researchers caution that while temporarily escaping reality through social media might provide a short-term mood boost, long-term excessive usage can lead to addictive behaviors and have adverse effects on one’s well-being.

This study serves as a wake-up call for individuals who find themselves spending excessive amounts of time on social media platforms. By reducing social media usage by just half an hour daily, individuals can experience improved mental health, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. So, take a step back from the virtual world, and embrace a healthier and more fulfilling reality.