What is Doomscrolling?
Doomscrolling is the act of constant and mindless scrolling or surfing through social media and other news sites. This is done in order to keep up with the current news, especially during crises. In times like these, when there are issues surrounding COVID-19, vaccines, racial injustice, the faltering economy, politics and climate worldwide, doomscrolling can be a common occurrence. As we constantly enquire regarding the health of our closest and loved ones, unanswered questions regarding health measures to be taken and resources pop up over time.
To satiate these unanswered questions and resolve the uncertainty, we naturally seek information.
On the other hand, this act of seeking information helps us stay aware and take precautions. Such acts are helpful during a period of crisis. But there is a detrimental side to this. One can often feel worried and anxious about missing out on crucial information that might help or give us the required answers.
What are the effects of doomscrolling?
Doomscrolling can evolve to be a destructive habit affecting your mental and physical health. Over time, the brain and body can become exhausted by constant and elevated levels of doomscrolling. It can reinforce negative thoughts and a harmful mindset, which can greatly impact your mental health. It can make one anxious and paranoid about the world and current issues.
How can doomscrolling be controlled?
->Set a timer
Set time limits on your social media usage to remind you when it's time to take a break. We recommend using digital wellness apps to keep a track of your screen time and to limit the usage of social media.
->Exercise and meditate
Physical activity such as exercise can help you reconnect with your body. Exercise has benefits such as reducing panic and anxiety while boosting health and fitness. Meditation helps in the relaxation of the body and mind to enhance mindfulness.
->Engage in distracting activities
Putting your phone aside can help distract yourself away from the constant influx of concerning news and social media posts. Indulging in other activities such as reading, gardening, talking with your loved ones or something as simple as solving a crossword can serve as a break. This can avoid spiralling back into a pattern of doomscrolling.
Try making a list of "things you are grateful for each day”. Practice writing a gratitude journal where you write down things to be grateful for. This can help focus on positive thoughts instead of things that bring about fear. Despite seeming simple, it is proven that practising gratitude can foster calmness in times of uncertainty.
"Check your phone consciously, not compulsively”
-Susan Albers Psychologist