Breaking News: You Are Doomscrolling & Here Is How To Stop It

Hi, My Name Is X, and I’m a Doomscroller

Fast forward into the future, it’s likely that there will be a ‘support’ therapy group where people join to break free from ‘doomscrolling’ or ‘doomsurfing’— the act of getting trapped in a rabbit hole of endless negative online scrolling. 

But what exactly is it? Are we really harming ourselves, or are we simply surfing social media within a safe zone?

Doomscrolling: What It Is Exactly

Via Today

First coined in 2018 but became more prevalent during COVID-19, this term came to the surface to describe the act of getting stuck in an endless loop of reading and watching negative events.

Picture yourself on social media. You’re surfing the internet, and you come across a post about a recent shocking murder in your local news.

You then find yourself actively searching for posts about that murder — who was killed, why, the reaction of the victim’s family and friends, and even posts reminiscing about the victim. Maybe that’s part of your curiosity. But as they say: curiosity killed the cat.

Soon, you’re caught in a dark loop: similar murder incidents, how to protect yourself from being a victim, the meaning of loss, grief, and injustice.

That’s the trap you find yourself in – an endless cycle of pointless negativity. From one negative post to the next, you find yourself craving more and more.  

How Doomscrolling Leads to a Negative State of Mind

Interestingly, you might be doomscrolling without even knowing that you’re doomscrolling. Yes, it’s that tricky. 

In the world of digital media, that happens more often than you think. 

Now, sit for a moment, and think: How is this endless loop of negativity affecting my mind

Unhealthy Coping Mechanism

Via News

Studies have shown that continuously scrolling through these negative events, despite their depressing nature, is an act to cope with your anxiety.

You divert your mind and attention toward anything that distracts you from your anxiety – so we can say you’re ‘avoiding’ your own thoughts by immersing yourself in another, possibly dangerous, cycle of negativity.

More importantly, this habit ‘steals’ reality. To illustrate, instead of reaching out to friends, reflecting on your anxious thoughts, and having a good night’s sleep, your mind opts for the easier, short-term distraction method: scrolling into negative vibes. 

This actually results in even more anxiety since your chosen way of distraction triggers anxiety in itself.

Pseudo ‘Safety’

Via Builtin

Our minds make us believe that, as long as we nurture it by feeding them more of that particular event, we’ll be armed with more knowledge, and since knowledge is power, we feel “safe”, one way or another. 

That’s a temporary feeling, indeed, and it’s not entirely true. Even if you have all the knowledge about that murder case, there isn’t a guarantee that you’re actually ‘safe.’ So it’s a bargain that isn’t so fair to your mind.

Exaggerated Feeling of Danger

Via Reader’s Digest

This might sound contradicting. However, yes, you can feel both safe and at risk while doomscrolling. 

But the risk you feel following doomscrolling is actually exaggerated. It’s not true. The feeling of ‘danger’ is rooted in the fact that you’re soaking yourself in that amount of negativity. That’s because you become more vulnerable when you subject yourself to this news.

How The Algorithm Is Driving You Into Doomscrolling

Via Gates Notes

We’re in 2024 now, so you probably know that the content that appears on your timeline is content you’re used to watching and consuming. Once you enter the doomscrolling trap, shifting your focus from one negative post to the next, the algorithm will play into the trap’s favor: suggesting more of that negative content you’re consuming. 

That’s why controlling your actions on social media should be a priority since the whole social media game revolves around stealing your attention; if you weren’t aware enough of that issue, your next Instagram or TikTok post will only make things harder and dig you deeper into the mud. 

Healthy Social Media Scrolling vs. Doomscrolling: How To Moderate Yourself

C’mon. It doesn’t make sense to just say, “Stop scrolling social media and preserve your mental health.” 

Instead, practice moderation and seek positivity.

Limit Screen Time

Via OSX Daily

We all scroll, but the catch is to do it healthily. You probably know that report that pops up on your mobile about your screen time. If this time is peaking due to doomscrolling, then you need to look into limiting that screen time. But how? 

By setting a specific amount of time for yourself on your screen. Want to watch that TikTok? Go ahead, but see it at a designated time.

Don’t just surf the web whenever you want; set limits for yourself and establish clear boundaries for when you’ll allow yourself to scroll freely. Try to avoid doomscrolling in the early morning and late at night, though.

You can even try to keep your phone away from you, especially before you sleep. We’re usually tempted to check our phones before bed or when we’re bored, so cut to the chase and keep your phone at the other end of the room.

Be Selective

Via Travel Payouts

With lots of options out there, we need to control what we consume. You’re not doing anything wrong if you’re checking out the latest news or want to learn about a specific topic. You’re just ‘informing’ yourself. 

However, you need to choose who you want to listen to and what you want to be informed about. In other words, ‘select’ what works for you and ditch what doesn’t. 

Seek Out Positivity

Via Happier Mind Journal

Stay on social media, but try to find positive news when you scroll. Let the algorithm do its work and flood your FYP page on TikTok or Explore page on Instagram with things that, if you lose the battle and end up scrolling, will bring positivity.

Beware, though; we don’t want you to be addicted to “scrolling,” so be mindful. 

Listen to Your Body

Via Tiny Buddha

It’s recommended to always listen to your body. Explore your thoughts. Reflect. See how your body feels. Use that time you spend scrolling (and the news you encounter) and think about how you react. 

Why are you stuck? Why do you want to keep scrolling? Are you hiding from something in your life? Investing time into understanding why you’re doomscrolling in the first place makes half the effort.

Doomscrolling: Should You Seek Help?

Via Get Fit Now

If you feel doomscrolling is sucking up your energy and directly affecting your life duties, then you might want to consider therapy.

Know by heart that you’re not alone, so always try to communicate and seek help.

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