Doomscrolling Can Cause Depression: Here's How You Can Stop
I recently went on a social media break -- no doomscrolling, no aggravating my depression -- and it felt great. Social media is where I get most of my news, and given that the world seems to be falling apart these days, it was a relief to get away from doomscrolling.
According to Merriam-Webster:1
"Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people are finding themselves reading continuously bad news about COVID-19 without the ability to stop or step back."
One might think that the best remedy is to embrace a technology-free life like the Amish community; at times, I am tempted to do so myself. But staying off social media and the Internet is not an option in modern society. What we need to do instead is figure out how to stop doomscrolling (and, simultaneously, deter depression). Here are some of my suggestions for the same.
How to Stop Doomscrolling and Aggravating Depression
- Be mindful of your media consumption. It's easy to get lost in the rabbit holes of social media, especially now that many of us are staying updated with COVID-19 news. To avoid clicking one upsetting link after another, monitor the amount of time you spend online. The simplest way to do this is to set an audible alarm on your phone. Once the alarm goes off, close the application you are using within five minutes. If you can't tear yourself away from whatever you're reading, skim through it quickly and then move on to the step below.
- Find something else to do. I've long lived by the belief that if you want to quit doing something, you need to replace it with something else. For example, when I experienced job search depression after failing to find employment after graduation, I turned to music and movies. In the same way, to stop reading alarming news in bulk, don't just expect yourself to stop without a reward. Replace this depressing habit with a pleasant hobby or activity. Distracting yourself in this manner will not only help you avoid feeling despair, but it will also help you relax.
- Distance yourself from chaos. If none of the above works, the best strategy is to set your phone aside for some time. Distancing can mean different things for different people. For some, this might mean stepping out of the house for a refreshing walk. For others, it might mean turning off their phone for some time and keeping it out of sight. I prefer the latter as it's easier to do than the former. Also, I highly recommend unfollowing anyone who is misusing their platforms to spread hate, fear, and conspiracy theories.
What are you doing to combat doomscrolling to deter depression? Please let me know your tips in the comments below.
- Merriam-Webster, "On ‘Doomsurfing’ and ‘Doomscrolling’." Accessed November 25, 2020.
Shaikh, M. (2020, November 18). Doomscrolling Can Cause Depression: Here's How You Can Stop, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, November 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2020/11/doomscrolling-can-cause-depression-heres-how-you-can-stop