Doomscrolling is when a person uses their devices for extended periods of time looking for negative news and posts. This is commonly done on social media platforms, the internet, and other applications. This endless scrolling can have detrimental effects on one’s mental health.
It’s common for people to scroll through their cell phones to check their social media feeds and the latest news. This is frequently done to unwind and relax after a long day or when stressed out. However, some people take this activity too far.
These people want to find out as much information as possible about what’s going on in the world. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were constantly reading and watching the news to stay informed. This however led to feelings of isolation, FOMO (fear of missing out), and depression.
The above situation is the perfect example of doomscrolling (also referred to as doomsurfing). The term was popularized by Karen Ho, who consistently tweets about the topic. Read on to further educate yourself on this term and understand methods to stop doomscrolling.
5 Signs of Doomscrolling
- Spend hours scrolling on your phone or other devices.
- Your screen time has increased.
- Searching for negative news articles, posts, and other content.
- Constantly refreshing websites and social media sites for new content.
- Scrolling endlessly online is part of your daily routine.
The Negative Effects of Doomscrolling
FOMO (fear of missing out) is often caused by excessively using the internet and social media. Pertaining to doomscrolling, people may feel as though they are missing out if they’re not constantly on their devices. They feel as though they may be missing out on the latest information and news from around the world. When they miss this news, FOMO is heightened and their doomscrolling habits will likely increase.
Anxiety and Depression
Consuming negative content and news can lead to several mental health issues including anxiety and depression. When situations and events, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are negative and out of someone’s control, this will result in anxiety. People naturally want control over their lives and what is occurring around them. And with all of the bad news being read about, it is common for one to suffer from depression as well.
Those who have anxiety and depression from doomscrolling will commonly have physical side effects as well. This may include a lack of sleep, overeating, and headaches.
Anger and Hostility
As said previously, people want to have control over their lives and the environment they live in. When they cannot do anything, specifically in negative situations, they may exude anger and hostility. This reaction is due to feelings of fear and being threatened.
How To Avoid Doomscrolling On Your Devices
One of the most common things that promotes doomscrolling and device addiction is notifications. Seeing your phone screen light up and/or hearing that notification “ding” sound prompts people to immediately grab their phones. To decrease this urge, block notifications altogether especially from social media and news apps.
Use Your Phone With Intent
As a general rule, always utilize your phone with intent. Don’t just use it aimlessly because of boredom or having free time. Before going on your device, ask – what’s my reason for going on it? If it’s unnecessary and non-urgent, try stopping yourself.
Monitor Your Screen Time
Most people who are guilty of doomscrolling don’t realize they are doing so. To avoid this, regularly monitor screen time including the apps you utilize and how long they are used. Being accountable for your device use is an essential part of using it with purpose. Many phones, including iPhones, offer built-in and free ways to monitor your screen time.
Watch The News At Specific Times
As most people do, staying educated about what’s going on in the world is wise. Instead of scrolling and scrolling for news, set a specific time to watch your local news on television.
Enjoy More Positive Activities
To prevent the issues of the world from consuming you, try to take positive actions for yourself. Keep in touch with loved ones and be active in your community. Make a meal for a neighbor, volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or re-design your at-home office.
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