Doomscrolling Dangers

Staying informed of world events is crucial, but excessive doomscrolling can lead to emotional distress and lead to poor sleeping patterns. Exercising self-control and seeking positive news sources is one way to break this vicious cycle of doomscrolling.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by doomscrolling, speaking to a therapist may help. Additionally, setting time limits and reading positive stories may be beneficial.

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What is doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling refers to the practice of reading negative news stories and social media posts with the aim of becoming emotionally distressed.  This leads to anxiety, stress, depression and panic, as well as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. It is vitally important that we recognize its dangers and take measures to stop doingomscrolling from harming ourselves or our loved ones.

Doomscrolling may arise out of boredom or anxiety, or events in the world may trigger it. People who engage in doomscrolling tend to adopt a negative outlook on life and find it hard to enjoy daily activities due to all of the negativity in the world.  They believe it won’t improve over time; this negative mindset and low self-esteem contribute to depression and anxiety.

Prolonged activity may contribute to mental health issues. It may cause anxiety and depression, increase feelings of loneliness, lead to unhealthy comparisons to others on social media platforms, and lead to unhealthy ruminating which exacerbates feelings of depression or anxiety.

Doomscrollers often suffer from FOMO; the fear of missing out (FOMO). To stay informed, they believe they must continually check news updates.  This behavior can become problematic when it interferes with other aspects of their lives, including work or relationships.

One way to break out of doomscrolling’s cycle is by engaging in other activities; reading a book, spending time with friends or engaging in hobbies can all help break that cycle of self-pity and despair. Doomscrolling can also be a telltale sign of depression; therefore it would be wiser for anyone experiencing this behavior to consider looking into professional treatment.

Symptoms Of Doomscrolling

Constant Feeling of Anxiety

One of the primary symptoms of doomscrolling is a constant feeling of anxiety. When we repeatedly expose ourselves to distressing news, our brains become flooded with negative information, triggering a stress response. As a result, we may experience heightened anxiety levels, leading to difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, and an overall sense of unease.

Emotional Exhaustion

Doomscrolling can also lead to emotional exhaustion. Consuming an overwhelming amount of negative content can drain our emotional reserves, leaving us feeling mentally and emotionally depleted. This exhaustion may manifest as irritability, mood swings, or a general sense of apathy towards daily activities.

Decreased Productivity

Another symptom of doomscrolling is decreased productivity. Engaging in endless scrolling and consuming negative news can disrupt our focus and hinder our ability to concentrate on important tasks. Constantly checking for updates on social media or news websites can create an addictive loop, pulling us away from our responsibilities and hindering our overall productivity.

Sleep Disturbances

Doomscrolling before bed can significantly impact our sleep quality. Exposing ourselves to distressing news right before bedtime can heighten our anxiety levels and make it difficult to relax and unwind. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can also interfere with our natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns.

How do I stop doomscrolling?

Now that we are aware of the symptoms associated with doomscrolling, it is crucial to find ways to overcome this habit. Here are a few strategies that can help.

Set Boundaries: Establish specific time limits for consuming news or social media. Designate certain periods of the day for browsing and make a conscious effort to disconnect during the rest of the day.

Focus on Positive Content: Balance your news consumption by actively seeking out positive and uplifting content. Follow accounts or websites that share inspiring stories or provide helpful information to counterbalance the negativity.

Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises to help manage anxiety and stress. These practices can ground you in the present moment and reduce the urge to constantly check for updates.

Engage in Offline Activities: Dedicate time to offline activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Anything offline will break the pattern, such as visiting a park or museum.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with doomscrolling, it is essential that they seek assistance. There are various methods available for breaking this habit, including selecting positive media, tracking time online, and engaging in other healthy activities. Consulting a licensed therapist could also prove beneficial, particularly if a mental health condition may be contributing to it.

Doomscrolling can be caused by various factors, including boredom, anxiety and fear of the future. People often engage in this behavior to escape the stress of daily life.  Those with histories of depression or anxiety disorders may be particularly prone to this behavior as these conditions often induce cravings for negative information to feel secure and safe.

To avoid doomscrolling, it’s important to first identify what’s triggering you to scroll. Once identified, create a plan to change your habits; perhaps restricting social media use or setting alarms reminding you to log off are effective solutions. It can also be beneficial to track online time usage and note any effects it has on mood or sleep quality.

Another way to stop doomscrolling is to limit exposure to news sites and social media that make you anxious, while shifting focus toward positive, upbeat content that lifts spirits. Wellness apps may also help ease anxiety while encouraging restful slumber.

Doomscrolling can become a dangerous habit, so it is crucial that you find healthy ways to alleviate stress. Engaging in non-tech activities with friends and family members such as hiking in nature, going for a walk, or playing a favorite game, will also help manage stress effectively. A technology break can also be invaluable in reconnecting with others while alleviating tension levels.

Doomscrolling causes depression

Doomscrolling is a dangerous cycle that can create serious health issues in those already dealing with mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety. Doomscrolling may trigger or worsen depression and anxiety, and other mood disorders, as well as disrupt sleep quality. This can lead to work and social life interference, chronic stress, and may increase risk for cardiovascular disease.

Stopping doomscrolling can be hard, but there are a few steps you can take. First, identify what triggers the behavior; could it be boredom, need for approval, or seeking comfort? Once you identify its source, find ways to address it.

Consider restricting screen time by uninstalling social media apps from your phone. This will help curb temptation to scroll, freeing up more time for activities that make you happy. Apps such as StayFree can track screen time usage and help break bad habits.

Doomscrolling can be a pervasive issue in today’s fast-paced information environment, yet it can have devastating repercussions for your mental wellbeing. While staying informed is important, be conscious of how the news affects you personally and prioritize positive stories over negative ones. 

Doomscrolling causes anxiety

Doomscrolling can be tempting because many believe that reading negative news stories will prepare them better for potential disasters and issues.  However, reading about disasters only leads to helplessness and anxiety. Doing this repetitively may also serve as an avoidant behavior which attempts to cope with other psychological conditions, like generalized anxiety disorder.  

Doomscrolling affects no specific person or demographic, yet has been linked with fear of missing out and an overall sense of disconnect from society. People with anxiety or depression histories tend to engage in this behavior more readily, while those prone to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have an even harder time stopping doomscrolling altogether.

If you are still struggling to stop doomscrolling, seeking therapy from someone specializing in treating anxiety may help. A professional can help identify and address underlying anxiety while teaching healthy ways to cope. 

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