Is Doomscrolling Affecting Your Mental Health?
Plus, expert tips to combat it.
Ever opened your favorite social networking app and been bombarded with posts upon posts of terrible news? We have. You scroll and scroll, searching for something to uplift you- but it never comes.
It’s an easy cycle to get caught up in. And it has a name: doomscrolling.
Defined by Merriam-Webster as “the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing”, doomscrolling has been on the rise since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. With news sites providing 24/7 updates on the pandemic, including rising death tolls, the natural curiosity can trigger anxious feelings.
So, how can we combat doomscrolling? We’ve gathered some expert advice on how you can banish doomscrolling from your life- forever.
Eliminate the opportunity
Speaking to the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Susan Albers PsyD advised that staying informed is fine, but boundaries are important to limit obsessive scrolling. She added that if you’re scrolling from the moment you wake up in the morning, placing your phone in another part of your room would physically displace that behavior and change up your morning routine. In short, at least get some breakfast before catching up on the night’s events.
No more news alerts
If you’ve ever downloaded or signed up to a news app, chances are you’ve been asked to enable push notifications. Those spontaneous on-the-minute notifications may be informative, but they can also wreak havoc on your psyche. Instead, set a time for yourself during the day to check the news, and limit how long you scroll. Keeping this pattern will implement a routine that your brain can rely on.
Set positive activities instead
If your doomscrolling mainly occurs on your breaks from work or school, recognize the pattern and replace that time with a healthier activity. Even just 15 minutes of journaling or listening to your favorite podcast is better for your brain than feeding it worrying junk.
Perhaps doomscrolling’s perkier cousin, joyscrolling is the act of purposefully creating a space for positive vibes online. You could search for some positive Instagram accounts to follow among the doom and gloom (I personally recommend @weratedogs and @thehappynewspaper), or create a Pinterest board for the outfits you’re going to wear when we can finally go on nights out again.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you’re in control of what you ingest online. So set boundaries, go easy on yourself, and do your best.