Take this test to find out if social media really makes you happy

Waldinger has shared a quick and accessible test to determine the impact that social networks can have on well-being. — AFP Relaxnews

This simple 10-minute test aims to measure the impact of digital media, of all kinds, on your mental health. Developed by a world-renowned American psychiatrist, this short test could help you limit your exposure to some of these media, including social networks, which are often singled out for their harmful effects on well-being.

To what extent can social networks affect people's mental health? This question is increasingly being addressed by the scientific community, which has been carrying out a growing amount of research on the subject over the past few years.

In fact, users themselves believe that social media can influence their well-being, as revealed by several surveys conducted around the world.

As part of a campaign to raise awareness of these harmful effects, the Dove brand, in collaboration with Mental Health Europe and the e-Enfance association, published the findings of a survey on the subject in April 2023.

The study showed that almost one in two French teenagers aged 10 to 17 (45%) was negatively affected by social media.

Whether it's stress, anxiety or lower self-esteem and self-confidence, many users are aware of these harmful effects, but are unable to give up social media. And while certain tools now make it easier to better control your exposure to digital media – notably by measuring the time spent each day on these platforms – it remains difficult to assess their real impact on well-being, and more broadly, on mental health. Robert Waldinger, a doctor of psychiatry and professor at Harvard University, intends to overcome this obstacle with a quick and simple test that's available to all.

After helming the longest scientific study ever carried out on happiness (over 85 years), the results of which are published in the book The Good Life, the American psychiatrist posted on his Instagram page, on May 10, inviting people to take 10 minutes to evaluate their relationship with social networks. It involves an easy-to-perform test that the specialist says can help you determine whether digital media are making you happy or, on the contrary, dragging you down.

Waldinger invites those who wish to do so to engage in their usual activity on online platforms for 10 minutes. Once this initial step has been completed, the next step is to answer two questions: Do I have more or less energy than when I started this activity? Am I more open to the world and to others, or am I more inclined to withdraw into myself?

The American psychiatrist explains that if you feel more energetic and open, then the activity in question is healthy for you. If not, he advises you to step back from it, or even drastically limit this type of digital activity.

The specialist claims to have applied this method to himself in regard to the news. He explains that he always wants to know what's going on around the world, but sinks into a state of depression when exposed to too much news. As a result, he now aims to limit such exposure.

The test can be applied to traditional media, social networks and online games, among other forms of digital media. – AFP Relaxnews

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