Doomscrolling: How it might increase anxiety
I unlock my phone and instantly forget why I unlocked it in the first place. Instinctually I dive into social media and start scrolling. Bad news, more bad news, meme, more bad news, scrolls faster, and still more bad news. As I continue to scroll, I think to myself, “Well, this sucks,” I keep scrolling in hopes of recalling why I dove into my phone in the first place. The constant scrolling and refreshing, of news or social media, to no end, is now referred to as “doomscrolling”.
This unintentional behavior can negatively impact our mood. As we are flooded with a constant stream of bad news our anxiety might increase, our mood becomes negative, or both. We need boundaries in our relationships, and our relationships with technology are no different. The infinite scroll is the absence of an end boundary. This is designed to keep the user on the platform to increasingly consume or create more content. Unfortunately, this creates a positive feedback loop where the discomfort reinforces doomscrolling leading to more discomfort.
Technology is an integral part of our daily lives, so what is one to do? This article provides a great way to check-in with ourselves and how we use technology. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/19/892728595/your-doomscrolling-breeds-anxiety-here-s-how-to-stop-the-cycle
For me, a vital step is maintaining awareness of my motivations for going into my phone. If I am browsing social media, I want to stay aware as to why I am in that app, such as sending the content of a hobby to my friends, commenting on pictures posted by friends, or looking for information from a company. Just as important as the awareness of my motivation is setting an endpoint, the article suggests setting a timer. I set a boundary by having a handful of sources outside of social media for news rather than scrolling for continuous updates about the same news items.
You are not alone if doomscrolling has negatively impacted your day-to-day, whether that is your mood or your sleep routine. If this is something you would like to work on feel free to contact us: https://www.healthymynds.com/contact/