Doom-Scrolling and Mental Health

Doom-Scrolling and Mental Health

January 10 2023 TalktoAngel 0 comments 63 Views

What is Doom-scrolling?

Doom-scrolling, also known as doom-surfing, is a phenomenon in which you frequently scroll or surf around social networking sites as well as other news sites in an attempt to keep up with the newest news - even (or perhaps especially) if the news is unpleasant. Although the phrase is assumed to have been invented on Twitter sometime in 2018, it has gained traction in our cultural lexicon since then, becoming more prevalent after the commencement of the COVID-19 epidemic in March and April of 2020. It's like falling down deep, gloomy rabbit holes packed with Coronavirus content, disturbing yourself to the point of physical discomfort, and eradicating all possibility of a good night's sleep.

Doom-scrolling does not have to be tied to COVID-19, but given how the Coronavirus has dominated the news cycle throughout 2020, many doom-scrolling people are fixated on COVID-19 or Donald Trump news.

Impact of Doom-Scrolling on mental health

Doom-scrolling may be a dangerous habit that can impair your emotional and even physical health. The present COVID-19 pandemic has caused an overarching sense of worry and depression among most people. Unfortunately, more information, particularly negative information, can feed anxiety and despair in a vicious cycle.

Doom-scrolling can aggravate pre-existing or rising mental health issues. Even if you don't have a history of mental illness, consistently being exposed to terrible news can contribute to catastrophic thinking, or dwelling on the negative facets of the world surrounding you to the point where it becomes increasingly difficult to perceive anything positive.

These mental health consequences can then cascade into physical problems. When you are stressed, your body goes into overdrive and releases stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, whether it is low-level stress from doom-scrolling or a sudden, stressful event like a car catastrophe.

This evolutionary response, known as fight or flight, originally assisted humans in fleeing predators and can still be advantageous today in a perilous scenario. People in the midst of a fight-or-flight response, fueled by adrenaline and cortisol, have been known to lift cars and perform other extraordinary feats of strength, exhibit heightened senses such as sight and smell, and stay awake for prolonged amount of time to study for finals or prepare for a big presentation. However, producing excessive stress hormones over time can lead to burnout and other negative consequences. Long-term stimulation of this fight-or-flight response has been related to digestive troubles, headaches, heart disease, weight gain, anxiety, sexual side effects, and high blood pressure, amongst other health problems.

Causes of Doom Scrolling

One can compare it to a car accident, where you're seeing something happen and you simply can't turn away. Being on our phones also has an addictive element, which makes it harder for people to pause or stop undesirable behavior, such as doom-scrolling, due to them becoming hyper-focused on the information as well as the process of scrolling itself.

Many people who doom-scroll can testify to an addictive component as well as a proclivity to over-analyze, whether it's regarding COVID-19, Donald Trump, or the status of the world in general. Elaine Roth, a self-proclaimed doom-scrolling addict, explains the practice as something she's tried - and failed - to overcome many times in an online column.

"When I wake up in the morning, I go to websites that count the number of positive COVID-19 tests in my city and state," Roth writes. "After that, I go to the news and read every word of every story that, without a doubt, points to the end of the world.

How to overcome Doom-Scrolling

Quitting is much more easily said than done because bad news about the world is everywhere, and doom-scrolling is a habit that can sometimes be addictive. Still, there are methods to stop - or at least cut back.

1. Establish a time limit. Since doom-scrolling can sometimes persist for hours, setting time restrictions (and reminders) can help you break the cycle. Set time limitations for your social activities.

Set time limitations on social media to prompt you to log off, or plan an exercise with a buddy during the periods you're most prone to doom-scroll. Screen-restricting software such as Freedom (which bans distracting websites) can be useful.

2. Avoid using social media. Avoid websites with a lot of news or talk, especially those that focus on how the globe is struggling. Consider eliminating Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter from your phone if they cause doom-scrolling sessions. You can still access them through your browser, although it will be more difficult, especially if you log out and are required to log back in every time.

3. Establish boundaries. People who struggle with doom-scrolling or are prone to despair or anxiety should set limits on the material they read. Similarly, be conscious of the topics you concentrate on and discuss, as well as the length of time you spend doing so.

4. Exercise thankfulness. Doom-scrolling can make you forget about everything but what's wrong with the world. We suggest fighting back by "listing several things you're thankful for each day." Making regular lists of what you're thankful for, even if it's simply one thing, might help develop a sense of optimism and serenity amid turbulent times, according to a study.

If you are searching for the best "psychologist near me" or the Best Psychologist in India for your mental health-related issues, you can connect with TalktoAngel, Online Counselling, and Online Psychiatrist Consultation platform. 

Contributed by: Dr (Prof) R K Suri  Clinical Psychologist and Life CoachMs. Varshini Nayyar

 



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