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These days, there is no shortage of bad news out there. Doomscrolling is the habit of seeking out negative content to catastrophize over. By clicking on negative content on social media or online, we teach the algorithm to show us more of the same. Over time, doomscrolling can have major impacts on your mental and physical health.

What is Doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling – also called doomsurfing- is the act of obsessively scanning social media and websites for bad news. We think what we are doing here is ‘preparing’ ourselves for potential disasters. What we are really doing is trigging the release of stress hormones that negatively affect our mental and physical health.

By clicking on negative content on social media or online, we tell the algorithm to show us more of this kind of content. What started as an inquiry about the weather becomes an endless rabbit hole of distressing content. When we finally stop for the day, our phones and computers remember our last session, and shows us more negativity. Suddenly, we get the impression the world is a much worse place than it is.

 

How Does Doomscrolling Affect Our Mental Health?

Doomscrolling can be a harmful habit. It can exacerbate pre-existing or developing mental health symptoms. Constant consumption of bad news can lead to catastrophizing or focusing on negative aspects of the world around you. Over time, it becomes difficult to notice anything positive.

The effect doomscrolling has on your mental health can also cause physical issues. Prolonged stress can cause burnout, or worse. Long term release of cortisol, the stress hormone, is linked to numerous health issues such as:

  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual side effects
  • High blood pressure

How Can We Stop Doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling can be addictive, and it may take a conscious effort not to indulge in this negative habit. A good place to start would be to set some boundaries.

Set a Time Limit

It can be easy to doomscroll for hours at a time. Instead, set a limit on how much time you spend on social media. Set a timer to remind you when it’s time to log off. You can even try to counteract the habit by scheduling an activity during the times you are likely to be scrolling.

Avoid Social Media

Make an effort to avoid certain sites or platforms that trigger you. Consider deleting apps that you know cause you to doomscroll, or logging out at the end of each session. At least then you have to put extra effort into attempting to doomscroll.

Seek Help

If you feel like your doomscrolling is getting out of control, it could be an indicator of an underlying mental health concern. People who are prone to depression or anxiety may begin doomscrolling for months before they have a significant issue with their mental health. Consider is for you doomscrolling is an indicator of a decline in your mental health and seek out a therapist or counselor to help.

Conclusion

There is no shortage of bad news out there. Doomscrolling is the act of obsessively checking social media and news in search of negative or bad news. This habit is born out of an attempt to be prepared for a potential disaster, but all this does is stress us out. Too much or prolonged doomscrolling can cause significant mental and physical health issues, such as depression or heart disease. Try stop doomscrolling to often by limiting time you spend on social media, avoiding triggering sites or topics, or seeking our professional help should you need it.

Family Strategies Counseling & Mediation is a family-focused therapy office located in Homewood, IL. We specialize in a holistic method of family support. Our services include child-focused play therapy, couples and marital counseling, and divorce support therapy. Take a look at our staff page, and contact us at (708) 798-5433 or info@Family-Strategy for information to book online or in person.