5 Things to Do Instead of Doom Scrolling

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

When it comes to social media and mental health, it’s complicated.

Sometimes the constant stream of videos, posts, stories, and reels can be fun (shout out to all the mascots on TikTok) and investigation shows that social media can sometimes help people feel connected and even reduces stress.

But it’s not always about tastes, hearts and statements. Studies show that social media can also cause stressfeelings of sadness and isolation, sleep disturbances and low self-esteem. A recent survey found that more than 1 in 3 participants said social media has a negative effect on their mental health.

Take our quiz: true or false? Mental health >>

This may be especially true for women, considering that women constitute more than a half of people who use social networks. Investigation has shown that social media can lead to self-objectification, which is linked to many mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. A recent one study found that young women who took a break from social media for just one week experienced a huge increase in their body image and self-esteem.

Using social media triggers the release of dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical. So when combined with features like endless scrolling, notifications, and bright colors, social media platforms can become addictive and negatively affect your concentration and focus.

The amount of time you spend on social media may surprise you. The average person in the US spends approximately 2.5 hours a day on social networks. That adds up to 17.5 hours a week, 75 hours a month and one amazing 912.5 hours a year.

That’s 38 actual human days dedicated to social media per year.

If you’re thinking about taking a break, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that more than 1 in 3 participants said they had taken a long break from social media because it was bad for their mental health. Science supports the idea that a break can be good for the brain. participants in one study showed a significant improvement in mental well-being after a seven-day break.

Even social media giant TikTok is encouraging people to take advantage of a tool they offer that can help you. limit how long you spend in the application.

Read: 5 health trends on TikTok: heart or hype?

Wondering what you’ll do with all your free time if you curb your social media habit? Here are five things you can try instead of Doom Scrolling that can also improve your mental health, according to science.

1. Exit. Your parents were right all those times they told you to get out of the house and play. Studies Show Being in Nature Can Help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress and improve mood. Physical activity, even a walk around the neighborhood, also helps. There’s a whole beautiful world to see when you’re not looking at your phone. And you won’t bump into other people on the sidewalk. Win, win.

Read: 4 fun fitness trends for 2024 >>

2. Get face to face with a friend. You’re used to touching hearts on Instagram, but when was the last time you saw your best friend in real life? Investigation shows that meeting in person can immediately improve your mood. Even spending a short period of time with a friend helps strengthen relationships and increases overall well-being.

3. Find a hobby. The secret ingredient to improving health and happiness may be as simple as finding an activity you enjoy. Having a Hobby is linked to lower levels of depression. and may help prevent depression in some people. Hobbies may include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Gardening
  • Games
  • Volunteering

Any activity that includes creativity, self-expression and cognitive stimulation can help achieve positive mental health and wellbeing.

Read: 10 fun activities to keep your brain sharp >>

4. Learn a new language. Sayonara, social networks. Learning a new language can improve your memory. In one study, adults who studied a new language showed better cognition after just four months. Another great advantage for the brain: being bilingual can slow down dementia as you get older.

5. Read a (real) book. You can travel anywhere and be whoever you want when you’re reading a good book. Studies Reading shows can reduce stress, make you more empathetic, and even slow dementia. Furthermore, a recent study Comparing online and paper reading found that paper was better for learning. So, pair it with number 1 if you’re feeling more ambitious.

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