What Is Doomscrolling & How Is It Affecting Your Mental Health? Here’s Everything To Know - Wockhardt

What Is Doomscrolling & How Is It Affecting Your Mental Health? Here’s Everything To Know

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The pandemic has had a deep impact on many aspects of our lives, right from new public norms to the cumulative effects on our usage of social media, the internet and daily news. One such effect is ‘doom surfing’ or ‘doomscrolling’—the excessive use of screen time to scroll through predominantly negative news. It is not uncommon to find yourself swiping past page after page searching for more details about an event even when you know that they might be disturbing.

So many of us find it difficult to stay away from constantly reading about or watching news related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises that people are facing. We keep flipping through different channels hoping to get some new information. This phenomenon is not new—our tendency towards negative bias inclines us to scanning for negative news as compared to positive news. So, to help lessen doomscrolling’s impact on your mental health, we got in touch with Dr Sonal Anand, Psychiatrist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai for some tips on how to deal with it. 

1. Limit the time you spend on social media and news apps

Most phones store data on the amount of time you spend on each app. Keep a track of this and limit app timings so that you are not lured into continuous use. If possible, keep the phone at a distance from the bed so that you avoid scrolling right after waking up in the morning.

2. Restrict Wi-Fi use in the morning and just before bed

Designate Wi-Fi-free times in the morning and before going to sleep. Morning times should have more of a ‘me’ element. Do something that is related to you and your feeling of well being. Also, your pre-sleep routine should be fixed. Try to read something relaxing or listen to music or guided meditation before sleeping.

3. Keep a track of your overall health

Regular walking or exercise (even at home) releases neurotransmitters which have a feel-good effect. Yoga and meditation also help in de-stressing. Opt for a balanced diet and avoid munching on non-nutritious food while scrolling on the phone or TV.

4. Practice mindfulness

Be mindful of the task at hand and of what you are reading, giving them your full attention. Make sure the sources of the news you are reading are genuine. Read positive news too, and share jokes and funny incidents with your friends and family.

5. Adopt the ‘stop’ technique

If you find difficulty in controlling your scrolling try the ‘stop’ technique. If you feel you have exceeded your screen time and are unable to control your fingers, stay “STOP” loudly and give yourself a physical stimulus at the same time, like a tap on the hand or a pull from a band around the wrist. As you do this repeatedly, your brain will realise that it is time to stop doing the current activity. This also acts as a positive reinforcement to direct your attention to something else.

Source: https://www.idiva.com/health-wellness/mental-health/what-is-doomscrolling-and-how-is-it-affecting-your-mental-health/18020874

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