Are You Doom Scrolling | 5 Effective Ways to Stop It
Do you often find yourself scrolling through your phone aimlessly, without paying much attention to it? And all of sudden you will find yourself in a pool of information that you were not even looking for?
Stop! You might be falling into the trap of doom scrolling which is certainly not healthy for your mental health, your wellness, and your physical health. The phenomena of doom scrolling witnessed a surge, particularly during the COVID-19 times.
With the internet being filled with negative, panic-creating, and dread information everywhere it has taken a toll on people’s mental health. Therefore, it becomes crucial to explore this phenomenon and understand how we can avoid doom scrolling at all costs.
What is Doom Scrolling?
Ideally, doom scrolling or doom surfing refers to mindless scrolling through negative information that is available on the internet. It is like a spiral wherein one negative piece of information leads to another and you can’t help but scroll through it.
While you might not necessarily be looking for sad news, our causal behavior of seeking information may lend us to that place. There are many driving forces behind doom scrolling, which have underlying psychological explanations. Some of these factors are:
Doom Scrolling Works as A Reward For Our Brain System
When you see a cute or calming picture on your social media, don’t you just feel like scrolling to get another dose of the same? The same applies to posts that evoke emotions like outrage. They too work as a reward, making us crave more of such posts, and in no time we find ourselves doom scrolling.
Doom Scrolling Activates Automaticity Phenomena
The infinite scroll design ignites the automatic behavior in our brain. Without even us realizing we find ourselves scrolling through the information that you might not even need! Because this information is not accessible to your conscious mind, therefore, you can’t really find out when to stop!
Doom Scrolling Triggers Our Emotional Area
The content of doom scrolling activates our primitive emotions. Which further triggers to find answers behind the concepts that are emotionally triggering. So to calm the hyperaroused emotions we end up falling into this endless process of scrolling.
Am I Doom Scrolling?
Does that mean every time I scroll through social media I am putting myself through doom surfing? No! For your scrolling to be marked doom scrolling certain factors are related to it. This includes the time spent on scrolling and the level of awareness you have while scrolling. If you have lost track of both these factors then you might be doom scrolling!
According to Tess Brigham, the best way to check whether you are doom scrolling or not. It goes like this,
“Doom scrolling occurs when you realize you’ve landed on a story and have no idea how you got there. You can’t remember why you even got on your phone in the first place, but now you’re reading hundreds of comments or retweets of someone you don’t even follow.”
Why is Doom Scrolling Bad for Your Mental Health
This mental activity that you are not even aware of has a detrimental impact on your mental health. It might surprise you but the impact of doom scrolling is so concerning that it has been a buzzword for the year 2020.
Let us quickly review the ill impact of Doom Scrolling on mental health.
- Doom scrolling may give rise to various mental health issues like generalized anxiety, panic attack, and more.
- You lose your touch with reality and the moment, as doom scrolling takes you away from the present.
- Doom scrolling is likely to make you paranoid around the world.
- Negative, fearful, and apprehensive thoughts are triggered through doom scrolling.
How Do I Stop Doom Scrolling
1. Be Aimless With Healthy Options
In a panel discussion by Calm Sage on social media and mental health, Dipa, a Counseling Psychologist gave wonderful insight on how to deal with doom scrolling. She suggested that you scroll but replace the object you are scrolling through.
Instead of scrolling through social media or news channels where you have chances to be misinformed or fall in the cycle of doom surfing, find a healthy option to scroll through. This can be a book, novel, literature, or research journal.
Just pick it up and keep reading and turning the pages, just like you keep scrolling without any aim or conscious awareness. You will find your subconscious mind consuming helpful information instead of an unhealthy one by replacing your unhelpful object of aimless scrolling with a helpful one.
2. Using Digital Wellness App
Putting your phone away once in a while is a real-time solution to deal with doom scrolling. But isn’t that the most difficult part as well? It certainly is challenging to identify when to put your phone aside at the right time so that you don’t fall in the spiral of doom scrolling. Imagine getting a reminder every time you are on the verge of starting with doom surfing?
Just like every time you don’t put on your seatbelt in 30 seconds or so, the car starts making intolerable noise. Well, there are different digital wellness apps that aim to set a reminder for your app usage and guide you to engage in some other productive activity instead.
These apps help you limit your content intake and divert your attention to something productive instead. One app that I will have been using to ward off doom scrolling is Social Fever App. You can also use this app or share an app of your choice with us in the comments section below.
3. Bring in Mindfulness
Did you read the definition of doom scrolling? It is all about aimlessly scrolling through negative content. This definitely indicates that doom scrolling takes you away from the present moment. So to break this never-ending scrolling trap you have to first make yourself available in the present moment.
This helps you realize what you are consuming at a given time, evaluate it, and then further process it. Be mindful of how a particular article makes you feel while you scroll through it. Pay attention to the emotions, sensations, and thought process that it triggers. If it feeds your soul then continue reading it.
But if upsets you and triggers negative thoughts then take a pause, switch the source of entertainment. It will be even better if you ground yourself every time an unwanted piece of information drifts you away from the present.
4. Optimize Your Social Media Healthily
Let me ask you again what is the biggest source of doom surfing? Social media! Because the technology is designed so that it keeps us in that loop. Here you have to retrain your social media to work in your favor instead of feeding you content that is against your mental wellness. For this to happen you can optimize your Instagram and Facebook to uplift your mental health.
5. Switch To A Positive Practice
Unhook yourself from the screen and give your mind some rest by engaging in a positive activity. This activity can be anything that you enjoy doing. Some of the positive activities that will work for you to stop doom scrolling are:
Share with us in the comments section what is your favorite positive activity that you will replace your scrolling cycle with.
Now it is time for you to jump out of this spiral of doom scrolling and keep checking in with yourself for what you are consuming. Stay informed but don’t be misinformed or load yourself with information overload. Use social media but for your good not to find yourself in a rabbit hole.
Time for you to relish and cherish the good things in your life.