Doomscrolling is a word that has entered the forefront of social media over the past year, and it means to continually scroll through social media and news sites to keep up with the news, even if that news is very negative and taking a toll on your mental health. Whilst staying educated and keeping with the news is important, we also need to learn how to break the cycle of constant scrolling and we must set boundaries. Here are some tips for how you can break the habit of doomscrolling, to help gain back some control and positivity.
One tactic many people go for is to just ban themselves from looking at the news and social media at all – but this cold turkey approach doesn’t work for everyone. If you still feel like you want to keep yourself in the know, why not try consuming your news through a podcast instead – such as the BBC Global News Podcast? This way, the quantity of news stories delivered to you is contained and limited. You’ll still have the opportunity to hear what’s going on in the world, but with an inability to continue scrolling on and on.
We all love our social media time, especially whilst isolated from friends and family, but try setting up time limits for each of those apps to give you enough time to check in with your loved ones, but to stop you obsessing over your feed.
You can also use an app such as Forest to ‘block’ your phone from use for certain periods of time. This charming app allows you to set a time limit, in which a tree or flower will grow in your virtual forest – but if you use your phone, the tree will die! This really discourages the habit of picking up your phone, but leaves the ability to use your phone in case of an emergency.
If you find yourself scrolling simply because you’ve picked up your device and have nothing better to do, but enjoy a little screen time in the morning or evening, or during your coffee break, why not try downloading something that’s a more productive and stimulating app? Try Sudoku or Crosswords that are proven to help stimulate your mind and keep you sharp.
It’s very important during these times to be aware that not everything you read online is true. Before getting worked up about something you’ve read, or starting a discussion about it with friends and colleagues, take a moment to look up that piece of information via a different source. Incorrect information can cause a lot of panic and distress.
Replace that moment first thing in the morning or last thing at night where you pick up your phone with a moment of positive journaling. Try writing something down that you’re grateful for, or something positive that happened in your day. Cultivating a habit of positive thinking throughout the day can really help when you’re stuck in a rut of negativity.
If you find yourself stuck staring at the screen, trying going outside for a walk. Leave your phone behind (or if you’re not comfortable leaving it in case of emergency, try an app like Forest that we mentioned earlier) and just enjoy getting back to basics with nature and some fresh air. Fresh air can do wonders for a negative attitude, and give you that all too needed break from devices and screens!