According to therapists, there is a thing called “doomscrolling” that is becoming more and more prevalent. The world has seemingly become a darker place and it is becoming more difficult to find the light.
But what doomscrolling mean? How does it impact us? There is a lot to know about this trend, the psychological impacts it can carry, and what can be done about it.
What is Doomscrolling?
So, what is doomscrolling? The simplest explanation is that it is mindlessly scrolling for hours through negative social media posts, news articles, and any other content-sharing platforms. The thought is that it is actively finding and reading one negative story after another after another.
There is another term for this as well known as “social media panic.” When you are doomscrolling, it can seem like everything in the world is bad and there is no escape from it all. There are potentially major negative impacts to be felt from doomscrolling, which means that it is important to recognize the signs and know what can be done to combat it.
What are the Signs of Doomscrolling?
There are two main signs that can show you that you are doomscrolling. The first is the amount of time that you spend online looking into news posts, not even just the “negative” ones. For the most part, people should spend no more than a few minutes online in a given week looking into certain topics.
When that time frame stretches into not only several minutes per day, but even hours at a time reading the latest in stories or posts, particularly those that are distressing, then it is a clear sign that you may be doomscrolling.
There is also the overwhelming feeling that everything is “bad” or “wrong.” Every story seems to be completely negative in nature and it changes the way that you view this information even if it is presented without bias. This can happen over a long period of time and can have a drastic impact on one’s life.
The Pitfalls of Doomscrolling
The question more important than “what is doomscrolling” is “what can be done about it?” Scrolling the doom and gloom on a daily basis isn’t good for mental health. We are learning more and more about mental health and how to deal with it. By becoming engrossed in negativity, it can have major impacts on your mental health.
It also keeps us from caring for our thoughts and emotions, further degrading our mental health. It can be difficult to even realize just how much doomscrolling impacts our mental health until we are fully engrossed in it.
Doomscrolling can make us angry, depressed, anxious, and more. Being fully involved in these negative stories can make it difficult to find the positive in anything, even when the story is a generally happy one.
How to Prevent Doomscrolling
If you think that you may be involved indoomscrolling or it is something that you think about from time to time, the good news is that you don’t have to be mired in the negativity. As tempting as it can be to consistently consume that kind of media, it can be turned into a positive experience.
For starters, visit sites that you trust to report on things in an unbiased manner. There are plenty of sites out there that skew the perspective, clearly aligned on one side of the fence or another. Some sites are naturally sensational and will clearly look to incite a response.
Avoid those outlets like the plague. When you find an unbiased source, you will see a major difference in the way the information is presented. It is hard to find accurate information in this day and age, but there is a clear difference in the presentation.
Limit your intake as well. It is great to be informed, but it is all too easy to fall into the negativity of any story. Try to put a cap on the time you spend scrolling. Maybe 20 minutes or so tops is a good way to keep from becoming lost in all the stories.
You can also purposely seek out positivity. Instead of actively engaging in doomscrolling, try to find something funny, read a story about something good happening, look at family photos, etc. This can help you build up a little positivity in your life so that even coming across those negative stories isn’t enough to drag you down.
Finally, try redirecting your attention. Whether that means doing something else online or just closing your computer or shutting down your phone, it will allow you to stop from being inundated by the negativity that can exist online.
There are a lot of potentially negative effects of doomscrolling. Finding a way to limit the amount of negative exposure, while still remaining as informed as possible, becomes crucial to combat the negativity.
The sad reality is that many of these platforms and forums present negative news and information because that is what draws clicks. Sifting through the negative and keeping it from becoming overwhelming becomes imperative, difficult as it may be.