How doomscrolling could be bad for your mental health

Doomscrolling could significantly increase the risk of anxiety. — AFP Relaxnews

Negative news and information is increasingly plentiful and accessible online, favouring doomscrolling. This practice is constantly growing, accentuated by the pandemic, and could have mental health implications.

Doomscrolling, the compulsive scrolling through negative news on your smartphone and on social networks, is a growing phenomenon, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions served to increase the amount of time spent using electronic devices, whether for work or for leisure, and favouring, by extension, the time spent viewing predominantly negative news.

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Earlier this year, a study published in the American Psychological Association’s Technology, Mind, and Behavior Journal confirmed that doomscrolling is not a trend that is set to disappear in the coming months, but a "unique media habit" that develops mainly among younger people and men.

Negative news often stirs up strong emotions, and creates an addiction to keeping up to date with what's going on, which may explain why this phenomenon has grown so quickly, but also why it can be bad for health.

More recently, a study conducted by the UK healthcare company Bupa, reveals that Google searches related to feelings of anxiety in the morning have increased by 247% in 2022. This behaviour could be explained by the constant need to seek reassurance to put an end to the vicious cycle of bad news consumed day after day.

A Bupa specialist mental health nurse told Cosmopolitan UK that the body registers this information as a threat, and over time, it could also cause physical problems.

However, there are a few tricks that can help you escape the grip of doomscrolling.

First of all, avoiding using your phone as soon as you wake up allows you to focus on yourself. It is also possible to disable notifications from news applications to avoid receiving a stream of negative news throughout the day.

Finally, the most important thing is to try to disconnect. The more negative news you search for, the more your news feeds will be filled with it. Ultimately, avoiding doomscrolling involves changing your day-to-day behaviour. – AFP Relaxnews

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