Why you need to stop doomscrolling now

Advertisement

Advertise with us

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/01/2021 (625 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s been quite the year already, hasn’t it? Judging by my social media feed, everyone is still a little shell-shocked, one way or another. Doomscrolling is definitely making it worse.

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘doomscrolling’ as: “When you keep scrolling through all of your social media feeds, looking for the most recent upsetting news about the latest catastrophe. The amount of time spent doing this is directly proportional to how much worse you’re going to feel after you’re done.”

I was guilty of a fair amount of doomscrolling during 2020, especially in the early months of the pandemic. I was hoping that the new year would be better in that regard, as in so many others, but then 2021 said “hold my beer.”

Dreamstime.com We’ve all been guilty of doomscrolling for the past year or longer but now it’s time to put down the phone.

There’s no question that doomscrolling is bad for one’s mental health. It will definitely leave you feeling more anxious and depressed than when you started. So why do we do it?

Articles I have read suggest that humans are naturally drawn to morbid or bad news — “if it bleeds, it leads” is an old newsroom saying, after all.

That was clearly an adaptive approach, back when we were mostly concerned with learning how to avoid sabre-toothed tigers. In today’s world, however, we are so deluged with information, mostly scary and depressing, that we need to take active steps to counter this tendency. This was recognized back in the 1970s, with the so-called “mean world syndrome,” described as the result of watching too much sensational and morbid television.

So what to do? Don’t we need to know all this information? What about the sabre-toothed tiger lurking around the corner? Hurricanes? Earthquakes? Social justice issues? Sedition?

Yes, we do need to know what’s going on. Yes, we need to engage and raise our voices if we feel we can contribute to improving the situation. No, we don’t need to spend hours each day scrolling Twitter to do it.

I know that I have a strong tendency to indulge in doomscrolling — and in many ways it does feel like a guilty “pleasure.” I’m not gaining much information beyond the first few minutes of learning what happened and reading some cogent analysis, and I’m not doing work that I consider important and helpful to people.

You may be experiencing the same. So how do we stop?

One way is by using a timer — set yourself a certain time, maybe hourly if you are feeling very anxious, when you’re allowed to check your feed and see what’s going on. Then you have to close the app and go do something useful, something that makes the world a better place, even if it’s in a very small way.

It’s going to be hard, but I have faith that we can do this. Will you do it with me?
 
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/

Hadass Eviatar

Hadass Eviatar
West Kildonan community correspondent

Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.

Report Error Submit a Tip

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Community Correspondents

LOAD MORE COMMUNITY CORRESPONDENTS