Doomscrolling, or intensely checking social networking sites and internet sites for the bad news. It causes stress hormones to be released, which can hurt mental and physical health. Doomscrolling, is also known as doomsurfing. It is a concept in which you constantly scroll or browse through media platforms. And other media websites to stay up to date on the current developments. Even (and, it seems, especially) bad news. Although the word is believed to have originated on Twitter in 2018. It has gained traction in our cultural lexicon since then. Especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April of 2020. Doomscrolling is not always about COVID-19 or Donald Trump but provided how the Coronavirus has overpowered the media narrative throughout 2020. Many individuals who are doomscrolling are fixated on reports about COVID-19 or Trump.
Doomscrolling Warning Signs
If you’ve spent most of the time or even hours reading articles or posts on the internet. And they prefer to be depressing—you’ve most likely been doomscrolling. When you realize you’ve landed on a narrative and have no concept of how you got there, it’s call doomscrolling. You’re not sure why you picked up your phone in the first place. But you’re now reading loads of comments or retweets from someone you don’t follow.
Mental Health Impact
Though since “anxiety is about command or the lack of control,” Brigham says, those who suffer from anxiety or anxiety-related disorders (such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD], and generalized anxiety disorder) are especially vulnerable to doom scroll.
“The more nervous we are, the further we try to control the instances. And people in our lives,” says the author “Brigham agrees. “Being briefed appears to be a good way to keep track of what’s going on over there. But it only adds to our anxiety and fear.”
According to Wong, doomscrolling can aggravate well before developing psychiatric symptoms. Even if you don’t have a history of mental illness. Constant exposure to bad news can lead to catastrophic thinking. Or a tendency to focus on the deleterious aspects of the world. Around you to the point where it becomes increasingly hard to perceive anything positive.
These mental health issues can then snowball, resulting in physical problems. When you’re stressed, your body kicks into high gear and discharges stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Whether it’s stressless from doomscrolling or an unexpected, traumatic situation like a car accident.
Fight Or Flight Response
This developmental response, known as fight or flight, originally assisted humans in fleeing wild animals. And can still be beneficial in a dangerous situations today. People who are in the throes of a fight-or-flight response fueled by adrenaline and cortisol. They have been renowned to lift vehicles. And perform other feats of strength, having heightened senses of sight and smell. And staying up all night for longer durations to analyze for finals or make preparations for a big presentation. However, planning to release too much adrenaline and cortisol for an extended period can lead to burnout and other negative consequences. Long-term activation of the fight-or-flight response has been linked to a variety of health problems. Including digestive issues, headaches, heart problems, weight gain, anxiety, sexual adverse reactions, and increased blood pressure, among others.
Why are we doing doomscrolling if it is so dangerous to our health? “It’s like a traffic accident,” Wong says, “where you’re trying to watch something occur and you just can’t take anything away.” “Being on our phones has an unhealthy addiction to it, which makes it extremely difficult to pause or stop negative behavior, such as doomscrolling because they become highly on both the content and the respond of scrolling itself.”
Why Do People Use Doom Scrolling?
Why do humans persist to doom scroll if it’s hurting mental health?
“There are a variety of reasons why people doom scroll,” Brigham says. “The primary reason is that it gives me a sense of control in a universe that constantly feels out of control.” As a reason for doomscrolling, she cites the feeling that “if I know what’s going on, I can be trained better when things get bad.” The fear is that something terrible will occur that you will not be prepared for; doomscrolling appears to be an impactful way to stay fully ready.
Brigham continues, “We are engrained to sustain and to see tasks that could potentially damage us.” “It’s in our DNA, and our forefathers required this ability to essentially survive.” While our worlds are vastly different, we still feel compelled to protect ourselves, which we believe we do by reading deleterious news stories.”
How do you get rid of doomscrolling?
Resigning is easier than it sounds because media coverage about the currently underway pandemic is everywhere, and doomscrolling is a behavior that can be compulsive at times. There are, however, ways to defeat – or at the very least, cut back, as per Wong.
Set a deadline for yourself. Setting time restrictions (and reminders) can help you snap out of a doomscrolling workout because it can sometimes last about hours. Set time restrictions on your social media profiles to remind you to log off, or plan an exercise with a companion during the times you’re most probable to doomscroll. Apps that limit your screen time, such as Liberty (which blocks distracting websites), can help.
Stay away from social media. Avoid sites that have a lot of news or chatter, especially those that focus on how the universe is desperately trying, Wong, advises. Consider deleting Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter from your phone if they cause doomscrolling sessions. You can still access them through your search engine, but it will require more time, especially if you have to log out and sign back in each time.
Create boundaries. People who have trouble with doomscrolling or who are prone to depression or anxiety should create boundaries around the media they consume, says Wong. Likewise, be mindful of what subjects you focus on and talk about, and how long you tend to discuss them.
Gratitude should be practiced. Doomscrolling can make you forget about anything but whatever is wrong in this world. “List a few things you’re thankful for each day,” Wong suggests as a way to fight back. Making everyday records of what you’re appreciative of, even though it’s just one thought, can help facilitate a sense of happiness and calm in uncertain times, according to research.
There are ways to make trying to scroll into a pleasant outcome, as luring as it is to constantly consume deleterious news stories. “One way to make it pleasant is to only travel to places that you trust to accurately report on events,” Brigham says.
“Avoid sensationalist media sites that want to shock or scare you, and instead go to places where you know you’ll get honest, accurate information.” Consume in moderation. “You can remain updated by having watched one display or reading a summary of the day’s news,” Brigham explains. If you’ve discovered yourself in a loop of doomscrolling that repeats itself several times a day, it’s necessary to test in with your psychological disorders and use Brigham’s advice to avoid falling down a rabbit hole.
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