Doomscrolling: What Is It And How Does It Affects Your Mental Health?

It is well after midnight now. You should put your phone away and go to bed, but despite knowing this, your finger is mindlessly scrolling through the feed. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This evening routine has become firmly established ever since the Covid-19 outbreak caused a large number of individuals to get cooped up in their homes in early March. Every night ends with an unceasing scroll through social media in a frantic attempt to find clarification. This habit has been termed ‘doomscrolling.’ Continue reading if you think you might be a victim of this habit and want to put a stop to it.

What is doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling is the act of aimlessly perusing depressing news stories, social media updates, or other content-sharing websites. It basically amounts to reading depressing stories one after the other. This behavior has even been referred to as "social media panic" in one Canadian study. Although the expression is believed to have been created on Twitter sometime in 2018, it has gained popularity in our culture since then. This is especially true after the COVID-19 epidemic began in March and April of 2020.

How does it affect your health?

We all feel "over-arching senses of dread and depression" as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While obtaining information and staying informed are good things, if someone spends hours upon hours reading just negative news, it can magnify the threat and heighten emotions of vulnerability. Ingesting more information—especially unpleasant information—can feed a vicious cycle of anxiety and sadness. Additionally, doomscrolling can make current or emerging mental health issues worse. Catastrophizing, or focusing on the negative parts of the environment around you in a way that makes it more and more difficult to perceive anything positive, can occur even in people who don't have an underlying mental health disorder. Doomscrolling can significantly alter how you perceive reality. Doomscrolling appeals to people because it gives them the impression that they have some influence over all of the horrible news. However, it does not provide you with control and only worsens your situation. The overall effect of doomscrolling on people varies, but it often makes you feel more worried, unhappy, and isolated. Many individuals scroll through their feeds before night, which increases anxiety just as you're attempting to relax enough to sleep. Poor sleep, in turn, promotes stress and other mental health difficulties, perpetuating the vicious circle. Stress hormones are also released with doomscrolling. Spending too much time on social media raises tension and the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are released in your brain and body as you play doomscrolling. This causes additional tension as well as mental and physical fatigue. Another major problem to examine in relation to the detrimental impact of doomscrolling is that valued, healthy activities are not taking place as a result of the significant time spent online. Going outside, getting some exercise, really talking to others, and getting enough sleep are all critical right now because our typical habits have been so disrupted. As a result, it's vital that time spent online does not interfere with addressing other demands that help us manage our mental health.

How to break this habit?

Here are a few tactics you may implement right away to avoid and stop doomscrolling:

Limit Your Online Time

Take control of how much time you spend online. Even though the majority of us use the internet and its applications multiple times every day, try setting reasonable time restrictions for yourself, especially when you don't need to be online. Start by dividing your time and utilizing it effectively. Prioritize completing your most crucial online duties, especially those that are relevant to your job, first. Then, if you have time, consider visiting more uplifting and helpful websites when you feel the impulse to browse the web.

Concentrate on the Positive

There are numerous advantages to using social media and keeping up with current events. Concentrate on these rather than the dread and gloom. Use social media, for example, to reach out to and stay connected with those you can't see in person right now. Anyone whose posts bother or overwhelm you should be blocked. Participate in positive sites, even if they are only lighthearted joke pages. Spending more time on positive internet activities frees up time for doomscrolling.

Block Graphic Content Pages

It might not be possible to avoid dark, dismal web stuff completely. Simply check out the news feed from your preferred search engine or streaming news site. Setting your own limitations on the content you are allowed to access is one approach to managing the websites you visit. Other than that, you might need to develop more self-control to prevent you from resuming your descent into the seemingly bottomless pit of doomscrolling.

Apps for digital wellness

While technology contributes to the problem of doomscrolling, it may also contribute to the solution, owing to a multitude of wellness apps that are already accessible. Set time restrictions on applications or alarms on your phone to reduce your time on social networking sites.