Curtail diet of doom to boost your mood
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Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m a doom-scrolling addict. I go home after work, drink a glass of wine or two, and scroll depressing news for hours and hours. I can’t seem to stop myself.
I have a mediocre day job that pays the bills, and I have no motivation to go out and do anything after work. I have some friends, but… we aren’t really close. I do feel quite lonely.
It’s depressing to think of just working and watching the terrible daily news for my entire life. On my death bed, I’d definitely feel like I wasted my life, but I can’t seem to stop. What can I do?
— Perpetual Doldrums, Winnipeg
Dear Doldrums: Checking out bad news by endlessly scrolling your smartphone may start as a way to comfort yourself that you’re not alone in difficult times. There’s no shortage of scary and depressing stories around the world these days.
But, rather than doom-scrolling the news to read about the suffering of others, you can end up feeling even more anxious about your own life. Sometimes, if you go at it long enough, you can start feeling like you’re circling the drain.
Yes, it’s responsible of you to know what’s going on in the world, but you do yourself no service to doom-scroll until you’re beaten into depression and inaction. The worst time to do it is in the evening, when you’re tired and your defences are down, and you need to get to sleep, without bad dreams.
So how can you cope in a different way? Some people put themselves on a scrolling diet. After taking in the news they feel they need to know as a responsible person, they go outdoors. Then they breathe in the fresh air, and take off for a walk or run. It’s fine to go alone, but can be more interesting if you ask a friend or neighbour along.
Another antidote is to start helping out in any ways you can. Volunteer Manitoba is a good place to start (volunteermanitoba.ca/how-to-get- involved). It will help you decide what you want to get out of volunteering and the different ways you can get involved. You may not be able to fix this challenging world yourself, but you can certainly help. And, as a welcome side effect, you will find it elevates your mood.
It would also be worth speaking to a therapist about your feelings of depression and anxiety, so inquire at your workplace. They may be able to cover all or part of the cost. Some people find individual counselling to be the best thing they ever did for themselves.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Song lyrics keep running around in my brain: “I kissed a girl and I liked it.” I just broke up with my husband because something was really wrong with our love life, or I should say, the lack of one.
When I got married three years ago, I was technically a virgin, although there’d been a lot of fooling around. I thought the honeymoon sex would be even better. It wasn’t. For about two years, we tried everything to make it work, and then we just gave up.
Recently, I was home drinking some champagne with one of my closest girlfriends — on my birthday — and I confessed how disappointed I was in the sexual aspect of the marriage. Then she looked at me, and laid a kiss on me I will never forget. Now, I just want more of a woman’s touch. That’s what’s been happening with me and her.
Now I’m really mixed up! I don’t know what to do with my dreams of having a regular home and children.
— Spoiled for a Woman Now, Fort Garry
Dear Spoiled: Long-term relationships and marriages — with or without children — come in all shapes and sizes these days. People are finding the stability of a family has a lot to do with how close and loving the parents are, not so much which genders they are.
Have faith in yourself as a human being — and your ability to be a mature, kind and loving parent. Then look for a stable relationship with someone you really love and feel deeply attracted to — male or female. Also look for an additional quality: Admiration! It’s a magical offshoot of respect, and has been missing from the marriage equation for too many people these days. It needs to make its triumphant return in modern times.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.