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The Health Benefits of Defriending Social Media

By Chris Brown

Social media companies spend millions on market research and testing to constantly increase the engaging addictiveness of their platforms to keep users' eyes locked on their applications. However, there are real health consequences to social media invasiveness in our daily lives. Unplugging yourself can provide you with mental and physical health benefits that extend beyond what one may think.

Reduced depression - A 2017 study from the University of Pittsburg discovered that depression risk increased by 9 percent with heavy social media use. This increased depression was attributed to how the misrepresentative social comparisons on social media (where posts typically exaggerate the positive in others' lives) impacts users' self-esteem and self-worth.

Regain lost interpersonal communication - You may feel that people are generally less effective communicators than they once were, and according to a 2014 American study, you might be right. The study found that, unsurprisingly, a phone with an open social media application nearby caused participants in a conversation to miss subtle social and conversational clues, even if they weren't actively engaged with the application. The mere fact that the application was within close proximity distracted participants' ability to concentrate on the conversation at hand.

Increased attention span - Due to the known dopamine hit of social media's constantly changing stimuli, a University of California Berkeley study in 2016 found that participants could only focus on a screen-based task for a maximum of 40 seconds. Disengaging from this stimulation can help rewire your brain back into a state of greater focus.

Be more creative - Without the crutch of checking social media apps during every moment of boredom or wait in line, going social media-free will force you to occupy your mind with your own creative thoughts instead. Boredom has led to some of the greatest human innovations. Just imagine the brilliant ideas you've lost by consistently cutting your opportunities for self-reflection short by scrolling a Facebook feed instead.

A healthier cervical spine - Most people primarily use their cell phones when checking their social media. Looking downward at a cell phone eventually leads to poor neck posture and an increasingly common spinal ailment known as tech neck. Removing social media from your life can greatly reduce your time spent looking downward in poor neck posture and your risk of developing tech neck.

In addition to the health benefits, taking a break from social media can release you from the vast time drain of these apps. Whether it is one hour per day or five, imagine what new skill or healthier pastime can be pursued without the addictive pull of social media. To start your journey to mental freedom, you can either go cold turkey and remove all social media applications from your phone or ease yourself from social media slowly by setting daily access limitations. Whichever your personal choice, reducing the time spent locked to the latest social app can be key to a happier, healthier you.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hurst, Tex.

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