Going down a rabbit hole on the Internet and then feeling overwhelmed? Here’s what to do when you don’t want to doomscroll
You know when you see something negative on your social media, you click, read, find 10 more posts about the same thing, but just can’t stop reading more? That is what I’m talking about. You doomscroll.
Doomscrolling, a term coined in 2018, may be something a lot of us are uninformed victims of. I didn’t know I was a victim of doomscrolling till I paid close attention to my own routine. The drill was the same every day. Despite how upsetting the news may be, I wanted to go on digging for more information, not realising how much anxiety that was causing me. I was hyper aware of what’s happening around me, staying up to date with news, and looking for the best way to foster my survival instinct. What did this instinct make me do? It made me gather information to keep myself and my loved ones safe. Doomscrolling or doomsurfing feeds on this feeling. And you might just be doing it for the very same reasons.
Before you know it, you are feeling burnt out. An excess of adrenaline and cortisol has been repeatedly released in your body in order to survive the feeling of ‘doom’ or ruin that you felt when you’re scrolling. This is extremely exhausting. I’ve come to realise that this isn’t so much the problem of the news providers (since we do need them) as much as it is of the consumers (you and me). Now that I have familiarised you with what doomscrolling is, I have come up with seven things that personally helped me, and maybe you’ll find it resourceful too.
Set time limits
Try and set a time for the day when you want to check and catch up on news. This will help you control the amount of stress your brain is exposed to.
Mindful consumption of information
Be intentional about the sources of information. Try and select 2-3 trustworthy sources of news, and stick to that.
Switching between apps
You may notice that once you’re off WhatsApp, you move to Instagram or Twitter till you’re back on WhatsApp again, having the same conversations. Try and reorganise the tabs on your phone so that you don’t mix up news, social media, and daily messaging. This will help reduce overstimulation.
Listen to your body
Your body speaks to you and if you listen closely, you will find enough cues about when you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or fatigued from incessant scrolling. You may have an increased heart rate, a sense of restlessness, or even digestive issues from the constant flight-or-fight response mode your body has to be in. If this happens, slow down, and keep your phone away.
Deactivate push notifications
Remember that you own your device, and not the other way around. Deactivate your push notifications, and reach out to your apps only when you need to.
Don’t wake up to your phone
Try and make a simple morning routine where you allow yourself a few minutes before you check what’s going on on your phone.
Find an offline hobby or meditate
Try to engage yourself in activities
that do not require you to reach out
for a gadget, and you will notice how connected you feel with your physical surroundings, something that we all are seeming to lose a sense of. Meditation offers you this pathway almost directly.
In conclusion, all I want to say is that you and I both know that the digital life is here to stay, so why not act accordingly, and mindfully? Algorithms and trends shouldn’t define how you live your life, after all.