1. What is doomscrolling?
  2. Why do we do it?
  3. Why is it bad for us?
  4. How to stop the cycle?
  5. What if I miss important news? Are there ways to keep up without losing your mind?

What is doomscrolling?

Coined during the pandemic, doomscrolling is a relatively new and poorly studied term that first appeared on news and social media. As its name indicates, doomscrolling refers to an obsessive urge to surf through anxiety-producing information, mainly news, which fuels negative emotions.

Why do we do it?

Doomscrolling traps us in a vicious circle. Bad news makes us anxious and to cope with our emotions, we seek to gain control over the situation, which is a natural human reaction. We wrongly assume that consuming as much news as possible can help us do that. However, in reality we only start to feel even worse. To put it simply, our fear of losing control makes us glued to our newsfeeds and, as a result, we end up even more stressed than before.

Why is it bad for us?

First and foremost, the constant barrage of bad news can lead to difficulty falling asleep. Nine times out of ten, we check our feeds right before bedtime using a smartphone or a tablet. Such devices have long been found to emit blue light that has a negative impact on our sleep. Just like electronic devices, anxious thoughts, too, don’t help us have a quality sleep. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg. One problem comes after another: we feel anxious, we undersleep or experience other issues, and we’re constantly stressed – hence concentration difficulties, poor performance, and in some cases even a physical and emotional exhaustion paired with panic attacks.

How to stop the cycle?

Everyone understands that reading less news can help break this toxic habit, but how exactly can we do that?
  1. Turn on the dark mode on your phone. If you turn on the night mode and dim your screen, you’re more likely to stop reading news all the time.
  2. Don’t scroll through your newsfeed while laying in bed. You should use your bed for sleep only.
  3. Socialize. When anxiety cripples you, give your family a call or even better meet them in person instead of spending another night on your feed. Social interactions are more important than we think.
  4. Exercise more. Any physical activity, be it running, dancing, or walking, is a tried-and-tested method to decrease anxiety.
  5. Try to read news only in the daytime and in limited time.

What if I miss important news? Are there ways to keep up without losing your mind?

In case you can’t completely quit reading news or drastically reduce their consumption, you should remember to take breaks and pay attention to good news, too. Funnily enough, there’s even a term meaning the opposite of doomscrolling, and that’s joyscrolling. It might seem that there’s only bad news but that’s not true. Plus, there are even some easy-to-apply techniques that can help you focus on the positive: for instance, you can write down all the good things that happened to you during the day.