It is 3 a.m. You have been scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok since 9 p.m.
It feels like you have spent maybe 5 minutes on social media, but in reality it has been hours. Hours you will never get back. And did you learn something new during those hours, or develop a new skill? No. You are now depressed and stressed.
You have been consumed by doomscrolling.
Doomscrolling is the obsessive scrolling through social media and news articles focussing on negativity.
In 2019, NAS (National Academy of Sciences) published a study linking doomscrolling to a evident decline in mental and physical health. Also, doomscrolling has been greatly linked to negativity bias, “that the greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events”.
This is in connection with the brain’s desire for bad news that becomes all consuming when we do encounter bad news, because it is expected, and so disappointment never occurs. This desire and consuming thrill received from doomscrolling, demonstrates the lengths that one can go to to engage in that longing for negativity.
It would be impossible to suggest that this has a positive impact in day-to-day life. Not only does this lower mood, it also has an impact on the way that one can see the world. If one is always consumed by the negativity, then the negativity imbeds itself in the very essence of the self.
Thus, to cease the habit of doomscrolling, the impact it has must be considered.
Firstly, the increased screen time from obsessing over negative news means that a considerable amount of time is consumed by an activity that has little benefit for the personal or professional aspects of one’s life.
Not only is more time spent on the self-destructive mobile phones and social media, one can also gain a morphed perception of the world. By viewing the world as primarily negative, then little joy can be found in the mundane. If there is little positivity in one’s life, then it might be possible to become disposed to depression, stress, and anxiety.
These are all serious mental health conditions that if you are suffering from, please contact your local health provider to access the correct professional help. Doomscrolling does truly influence the mental states of an individual and can leave them unsettled and unequipped to deal with life’s struggles.
However, there are some ways to fight the daily habit of doomscrolling.
Initially, a great place to start is limiting time spent on your phone. Whilst these little electronic devices have arguably become the centre of society’s universe, there are ways to manage their use. For example, in most modern mobile devices, it is possible to control certain app usage and set a time limit so that, for example, only 15 minutes a day is spent on any given news app.
Another phone restriction that can be made, is by removing notifications on your phone on apps that tend to send you down a spiral. You are also able to filter out specific keywords from news articles.
For example, if stories involving dogs are particularly upsetting for you, then these articles need not appear. A simple change that can have a massive effect. In an attempt to reframe this, downloading a positive news app such as ‘Good News Network’ will cater for your desire to read the news, but it will make positivity the focus of your ‘online’ time, which can have a massive positive benefit.
Next, it is imperative to rely on friends and family for support. If doomscrolling is massively affecting your ability to operate in normal day-to-day life, having friends and family hold you accountable for the time spent reading the news is overwhelmingly useful. Thus, it is important to find someone to talk to. Asking for help is always the first step.
Most importantly, it is vital to stay grounded in reality and take time out everyday to fully digest the negativity you have experienced online.
A useful way of framing the thinking behind this could be by suggesting that every negative piece of news or social media post you see, you take the action to do something positive in your day. A good example of this is by immersing in nature or enjoying a sunset.
Ultimately, doomscrolling can have a significant negative impact on one’s physical and mental health, there are ways to combat its effects. Reframing negativity is always the best approach to understanding the importance of positivity.
And remember, the changes start with you.
Subscribe Now For Everything You Need For Personal & Professional Growth:
Newsletter – Growth Tips To Propel Your Life: Sign up now