Let’s face it, in recent years, there has been a lot of negative news affecting our country. From the pandemic to racial injustice, problems with the economy, and racial division, the news can certainly feel heavy. We all know that continuing to focus on negative news too much is bad for our mental health. But have you ever found yourself stuck in the habit of doomscrolling?
Doomscrolling involves continuing to scroll through negative news without being able to stop yourself. This habit involves continuing to delve deeper into negative news despite the fact that you recognize that it is causing you stress and mental turmoil. The term developed on Twitter around 2018 but picked up more heavily in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that if this is a habit of yours, there are things you can do to stop it.
Understanding What Doomscrolling Is
To understand what doomscrolling is, it can help to learn how it applied to COVID-19-related topics that were discussed in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020. There were many questions the public had about what to expect from the virus and the different ways it could be spread. Nobody knew how to handle this unique situation.
Because this was such an unprecedented time, government officials and medical professionals did not have an answer to every question the public had. This lack of information ultimately led to rumors and misinformation due to speculation, as well as social media in general. Misinformation only added to the fear the public was struggling with and amplified the problems at hand. Still, people who were desperate to come to a greater understanding of these issues were compelled to gather more information from any source they could, even unreliable ones.
While it is a good thing to be aware of current events and things going on in the world, diving too deeply into negative topics can take a major negative toll on your mental health and lead to anxiety and depression. Some who experience these issues may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope, only making matters worse.
There are a lot of different ways that you can actively prevent doomscrolling. Start by being cautious about where you are getting your news from. There is no point in getting worked up over theories and rumors that might not even be true. Thus, it is important that you stick to legitimate news sources that you know you can trust.
It’s also important to take breaks from social media. These days, sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are often used as platforms to discuss controversial news topics. Not only can this be very divisive, but a lot of what people say on social media also does not have real validity. If you feel like your mental health is suffering as a result of your social media use, you might want to step away from it altogether.
Make sure to set time limits when you are scrolling. With so much news and information at your fingertips, it is easy to get carried away. You may find yourself scrolling for far longer than you ever intended. Not only can this be a waste of time, but you can find yourself spending too much of your focus and energy absorbing potentially negative news.
Simply set a timer on your phone. When it goes off, make sure that you put your phone down and take a break from it.
Protecting Your Energy From Doomscrolling
Maybe you make a conscious effort to avoid doomscrolling but often find yourself wrapped up in conversations with those who don’t. They may open up conversations about current political discussions, news events, or even rumors that you’re not comfortable discussing. Make sure to set boundaries. Be clear about what you’re willing to discuss and what you’re not, and step away if you need to. This is a way of protecting your own energy and mental health.
Don’t forget to also practice gratitude. Yes, there may be a lot of crazy and overwhelming things going on in the world, but there are plenty of positive things too. Make sure to focus more on these good things than issues you don’t have control over.
Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to everybody, but you can turn it into a habit. Consider writing down three things that you’re grateful for each day. Do this when you wake up or before you go to bed. These things can be unique to that particular day or as simple as good health, shelter, food to eat, and another day of life. Before long, you may be surprised by how much happier you feel.
Don’t let the habit of doomscrolling take a toll on your mental health. Set boundaries, be conscious of what type of information that you’re taking in, and don’t be afraid to step away from scrolling through social media. There are a lot of scary events going on in the world, and focusing on them too heavily can lead to depression, anxiety, and even substance misuse. If you are struggling with substance use and are ready to make a positive change in your life, there are resources available. Our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today, and we will answer any questions that you have about the types of services that we provide.