Doomscrolling is the act of endless scrolling of one’s news apps or social media apps and reading bad news. Although a problem existing since pre-COVID times, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. According to a new research conducted by the Pew Research Centre survey, 53% of adults say that the Internet has become “essential” during the pandemic. Twitter’s daily use numbers are up by 24% and Facebook’s numbers by 27% as shown by data analysis. With an emphasis on work from home, government updates, and making sure our loved ones are alive, mandates the use of the internet more than ever. With the advent of cheap internet and in an effort to make information accessible to all, many news sources are providing information on COVID for free. This ensures fewer barriers to being informed but simultaneously bolsters the abundance of doomsday headlines. Doomsday headlines inflict panic, anxiety in the reader, which in turn forces more screen time in the hope of finding some good news and finding solace. Thus the internet dictates what’s important rather the other way round. Checking the news feed for extra hours won’t hold the apocalypse but surely would make you psychologically weaker to face it. Already social media was being questioned about its net benefits in pre-COVID times as it was shown that social media bolsters the advent of anxiety and depression in its users, global-pandemic and civil unrest have just exacerbated the situations. Feeling informed in such a volatile environment may be good, but being overwhelmed by tragedy serves no purpose. Many people think that staying updated on the situation would keep them safer but they don’t realize the fact that the consumption of bad news only leads to greater fear, anxiety, and stress. Instead one could try some habits in order to get rid of this malicious and vicious ‘unsatisfying addiction’.
- Finding your voice in niche communities could help you a lot in overcoming the stress and reinforcing your emotional well-being. And these communities do not include social media communities. But remember if in the group if your voice feels another comment in-crowd, that might be not your place.
- Sticking to sites that help you feel creative and empowered are good places to be. The Internet proves to be a space for expressing versions of ourselves. So why not do it while also enjoying instead of following the crowd.
- Need social media? Use desktop versions of them, bookmarking the pages, groups or accounts so as to avoid falling in the trap of scrolling.
- Dedicate some time for the do-good feel-good. Reviewing the businesses out there providing essential services could be a great way to make the most of your time. Restaurant owners, authors, small-business owners love your reviews, especially good ones.
- Acquire a new skill, be it learning another language, drawing, coding, cooking, or whatever you feel like. This not only boosts our mental health but also distracts you from the bad news thereby providing serenity.
- Cut back and create boundaries for social media use. Get to know the limit of your body and brain. If you are feeling agitated, anxious or stressed, put away your phone as your body is signaling you to stop.