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Does Your Screen Time Report Make You Feel Ashamed?

Does Your Screen Time Report Make You Feel Ashamed?

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We all know we should limit our screen time, but scrolling has become a part of everyday life. Continuously swiping our fingers up and down a screen has become a bad habit that can put us in a state of emotional despair, depending on the content we consume.

If you’re scrolling through numerous funny cat videos, you’re probably not being emotionally disturbed. However, you can easily find yourself going down the rabbit hole of negative news and information. For many, their screen time has turned into doomscrolling. 

What is doomscrolling, and why do we do it?

Doomscrolling is intentionally looking for negative news or information on social media or online. It’s a slippery slope. You come across one negative topic that leads you to search for answers. You scroll and click, searching for some explanation, and are slowly led down a tunnel of despair. It’s very similar to gambling. After a big loss, you continue to gamble your money in hopes of the big win that will make up for it all. With doomscrolling, you’re looking for that one glimmer of hope on your feed that will tell you things will be alright. 

Additionally, seeking out negative information can sometimes be a defense mechanism. Being up to date on the world’s atrocities helps you better protect yourself from whatever horrors may lie ahead. 

Doomscrolling is also appealing because it can make you feel a bit better about your life. For instance, if you come across some terrible event on your news feed, you may feel bad about what has happened. Yet you might also find comfort in knowing you’re still doing okay despite seeing the world go up in flames. For instance, if you come across news such as stocks crashing or 1,000s of people getting laid off, this news is shocking and scary but may also help you feel at ease if you’re financially stable. 

While you may blame yourself for constantly seeking negative information, this need for negativity isn’t entirely your fault. Many news outlets aim to draw you in with scandalous and shocking headlines, creating this irresistible need to want to know more and find out what happened. Social media prioritizes posts that are the most surprising and controversial, so right from the moment you open the app, you’re sucked in by some outrageous post. So, you may have started the habit of doomscrolling, but outside forces have made it worse.

Why you should pause or altogether stop doomscrolling?

Apart from flooding your mind with disturbing images and news, doomscrolling can have many adverse effects on your mental health. If you’re someone who experiences depression and anxiety, doomscrolling can make those conditions worse. 

Additionally, studies have shown that people who scroll before bed often have trouble falling asleep since their minds are so active with the previously consumed content.  

Doomscrolling can also cause you to question your sanity. There’s an overload of information, with one outlet saying one thing and another saying the opposite, your mind can go a little wonky not knowing who to believe. For these reasons and many others, it’s time to rethink your mobile habits.

Social Media May Be Required to Have a Warning Label. Is This Too Much?

How to stop doomscrolling

While doomscrolling may seem soothing at times, it’s not good for your mental or emotional health. Here are some tips to help you put away your phone, walk away from the computer, and enjoy life. 

  1. Gain awareness

You might think your doomscrolling is not out of control, but there’s no need to wait until you find yourself staring at your screen for 6 hours to stop this wrenched habit. The first step is to become more aware of your doomscrolling habits.  Know how long you’re scrolling, when you scroll the most, and how your body reacts. Do you notice your shoulders are more tense than usual? Do you have pain in your neck? Does your stomach rumble after staring at your screen for too long? If these bodily reactions seem familiar, your body might be telling you to put your phone down. 

When you become aware of how long you are doomscrolling, you can shorten your time every day or every week by limiting your app usage or deleting certain apps for a while. By becoming aware of when you’re most likely to doomscroll, you can replace your scrolling with healthier habits like walking or talking to a good friend. With awareness brings the power to change.

  1. Seek out others for support

One of the troubling things about doomscrolling is that it can be isolating. You are sitting in bed, with nothing but the light of your phone to illuminate the room, and your mind ruminates on the negative images popping up on your feed.

Instead of shuffling in despair, talk to someone about what you see. Others may have a different perspective, which will help you see the brighter side. 

Additionally, having a supportive friend or partner to remind you to put your phone away is another great way to end doomscrolling. 

  1. Be active

It’s essential to stay informed about what’s happening in the world, even if the news is less optimistic. To help you cope, consider taking action. For instance, if you doom scrolling on disasters such as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi, you can act to support those communities. Donate to organizations, call your local representatives, and follow organizations on the ground trying to improve things. 

  1. Consider a social media detox

Sometimes, to stop doomscrolling, you have to go cold turkey with a social media detox. Try deleting your social media apps for 30 days to eliminate the opportunity of doomscrolling. You may find yourself seeking information in a healthier way, such as watching the news for 30 minutes or reading the newspaper. There are other more nutritious ways to consume information that don’t lead you to spiral down a black hole. 

Social media has been one of the most influential tools in the last decade. However, we must be mindful of how we interact with these platforms. Remember that doomscrolling doesn’t have to take over your life, and life is not always as scary as it is through a screen. 

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