Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.
Roy T. Bennett
It’s there in the dark as you squint into the blue light of your screen.
In the commercial breaks and curbside pickup lines and a thousand tiny moments each day.
The urge to pick up your phone and “doomscroll”.
You already know what you’ll find there (and how it’ll make you feel). So, why is it so hard to stop?
Today we’re sharing 3 tips to help deepen your awareness of this familiar habit:
1. Identify what’s behind the urge.
Doomscrolling isn’t about intentionally stressing ourselves out. Or even morbid curiosity. In fact, at its core, doomscrolling is closely aligned with many of our most reliable survival instincts. Our minds are hardwired to anticipate threats in our environment, which prompts us to check (often repeatedly) for new evidence of danger. Unfortunately, the more frequently we check, the more intense our perception of danger becomes, which elevates our anxiety even further and compels us to keep checking.
Is there a specific piece of information I’m looking for right now? Is there a particular question I need answered? Or am I opening myself up to a flood of whatever narratives I might find in my social media and news feeds?
2. Set reasonable limits.
With so much going on in the world at any given time, it’s perfectly normal to want to stay informed. The best emotional wellness practices are practical and sustainable, so certainly the goal isn’t to swear off the internet for good. Instead, it’s wise to set reasonable limits around your doomscrolling behavior, to help curb your dependence on the relief these checks bring. (What’s “reasonable” will vary, person to person. But, if you’re unsure, you might find it helpful to talk it through with a friend or your therapist.)
What’s a reasonable amount of time each day to spend checking for news updates? How can I help enforce this boundary around my time today?
Struggling with doomscrolling?
3. Be present, then switch gears.
No matter what habit we’re talking about, we always want to approach it with greater mindfulness. That means allowing yourself to scroll your news feed, guilt-free, within the limits you’ve set for yourself… but maintaining self-awareness as you do so.
Tune into your body and take note of how you feel as you skim the headlines: Is there tension? Pain? Nausea? Exhaustion? Take note of your emotions: Anger? Sadness? Fear? Overwhelm? Try to stay plugged into your senses as you scroll. Then, when time’s up, set down your phone and switch to a completely new activity. Go for a walk, play with your dog, prepare a snack and enjoy the sights and sounds of the people and things right in front of you.
With practice, it’ll get easier; we promise.
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Need some help curbing the doomscrolling habit?