How To Stop Doomscrolling For Better Mental Health
It takes work and self-reliance.
Humans today have the ability to access an unprecedented amount of information and news in time spans that have never been seen before. Within seconds, we can find out what is happening on a local level in virtually every country in the world, all at the tip of our fingers.
Though this innovation has obviously been recognized as a marvel, it’s also leading humanity into uncharted territory in terms of the effect it has on our mental health.
Having such immediate access to world events and even our friends’ daily lives on social media is keeping us, as humans, emotionally invested into so much more than we truly have the capacity for. It can take a serious toll on our mental health therefore it’s important to set distinct boundaries, and to be aware of the signs that you may have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.
So why do we do doomscroll? Well as writer Kat Nicholls explains, ”at its core, doomscrolling is a totally human reaction to what we’re going through. When stressful things are happening in our life (such as the pandemic) our primitive brain takes over and it’s concerned with keeping us alive above all else. This can lead to us scanning for danger, putting ourselves on high alert for anything that could be perceived as a threat.”
This is why when world events seem to be occurring every single day, we find ourselves checking in on social media and news sources at a much higher rate. We can’t unplug because we want to be on top of every single piece of information flowing through the system. Crowding our minds in such a way can be an extreme risk to our health.
Tips to Help You Stop Doomscrolling
Begin your mornings with calmness: more often than not, our days are usually set within the first hours of us waking up. Not just from the perspective of scheduling and meetings, but from an energy and aura perspective. If you start your day immediately reaching for your phone and plugging into the many different things happening in the world, your mind will carry that frantic energy through for the rest of the day.
It’s so important to start our days with calmness and peace. That may be a healthy breakfast, journaling and yoga. For others it may be a couple pages from their favorite novel. What’s important is that we take time for ourselves each morning, and set the tone for a fulfilling and powerful day.
Set boundaries with your devices: it’s so easy to keep our phones on us at all times, as if it’s an extension of our minds. That’s often what it can feel like when we’re so attached to our phones and the communication it allows us to have with our loved ones. It’s undeniably important to set boundaries with our devices though. Just as it’s important to set boundaries with our loved ones, constantly being in touch and available to the outside world is a hazard to our health. Having discipline is a major aspect to breaking habits in general, but even more exaggerated when it comes to our phones. Finding time to be device-free, especially at night and as we sleep is critical to a healthy lifestyle.
Replace your doomscrolling habit: another way to break down your habit is to replace it. Many people find success replacing their doomscrolling habit with language apps like Duolingo, or flashcard apps to help them with their studies. Better alternatives are also Kindles to read fiction instead.
It’s important to break your habits down step by step and slowly move away from consuming useless material that can take a heavy emotional toll on us such as news. Even better, everytime you catch yourself going down a rabbit hole, get up and do some yoga, or exercise. These are all amazing ways to quickly and distinctly shift a habit.
Find time for Meditation: mindfulness is also an important part of breaking down your habits. Especially when it comes to mindlessly scrolling through rabbit hole after rabbit hole. Being aware of what you’re doing and how you’re spending time is beneficial in almost every aspect of life. Meditation is the most powerful tool to cultivate that, and it brings a host of benefits for your mind, body and spirit.
Sink into Nature: finding time to spend in nature and greenery is an amazing way to break a doomscrolling habit. Better yet, find a way to completely unplug for a week or two and recalibrate your system. It won’t be easy the first few days, but it’s because we are changing our stimulative habits day by day with the way we consume news.
Recalibrating that is an important aspect to healing. Being in nature will help you reconnect with the natural protocols of our consciousness, and guide you to what’s important for you, as opposed to what’s important for the world.
Building Better Consumption Habits
All in all, many of these habits rely on discipline and breaking addiction patterns. It’s extremely difficult, but being aware of the issue is one of the most important parts. It takes work and self-reliance, as well as persistence to break through and get to the healthiest version of ourselves. However, it’s so important we do the work so as to not find ourselves in trouble down the road.
It can be extremely scary to think about the unknown health risks that come with such an unprecedented amount of connection, communication, and information consumption. So it’s up to us to protect ourselves from it.
We always need to set boundaries from our devices so we can stay connected and calibrated in the real world. The virtual world is only a tool to enhance our experience and not the true experience. Keeping that at the forefront of our minds allows us to focus on what’s important in life.