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How to manage doomscrolling

How to manage doomscrolling

Let the doomscrolling commence!

It happens before you even realize it — you are doom-scrolling. What is doomscrolling? An article from The Los Angeles Times defined doomscrolling as “an excessive amount of screen time devoted to the absorption of dystopian news.” (Check out this handy article about the word “doomscrolling.”) Have you been there recently? Have you found yourself scrolling through Twitter and your anxiety spikes? Perhaps going through Facebook and next thing you know you’re in a cold sweat?

You’re not alone. Social media is a real double-edged sword right now. It’s a tool to connect with people who we aren’t seeing in person (or bumping into at restaurants or concerts or grocery stores or… the list goes on). At the same time, increased social media use has been shown to negatively affect mental health. So, connecting might be why we log on, but it might not be what we’re actually getting from social media.

Ask yourself: Why are you logging in?

The biggest tip for coping with social media anxiety is this: intentionally consider your use. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your reason for logging in? (Connection? Distraction?)
  • Are you logging onto Instagram [insert other social media platform here] when you’re feeling lonely? Sad? Hangry?
  • Are you doing it mindlessly? (Did you even REALIZE you opened the app or was it an automatic action?)

If you are logging on and didn’t even realize you’re doing it, you might want to consider building awareness around the habit. It might be compulsive at this point. (And if you’re into watching documentaries, I recommend this one about the addictive nature of social media).

But seriously consider why you’re using the app. That can help clarify why and when you want to use it.

Tips for managing social media overuse

Set time limits

It’s a simple as that. Set time limits for using an app. Maybe you spend 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening catching up on your social media. Cool! Set a timer and then log off when you’re done. Pick an amount of time that feels good to you and then really limit yourself to that.

You can also use ScreenTime on iPhones to limit app use and you can download other screen time tools for Android and iPhones. These let you know when you’ve been using an app longer than you should/need to be.

Consider removing apps from your phone

This is a pretty simple place to start. Do you have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all on your phone? Deleting them from your phone might help the scrolling. You might be able to access those accounts through a browser, but that’s way less fun and thus less addicting.

Delete your accounts altogether

I’ll tell you a personal story. I recently had my best friend change my password on my Twitter account; I realized literally today that I haven’t been on Twitter for three weeks and I haven’t even THOUGHT about logging in. And guess what? I haven’t missed it at all.

Practice some calming techniques

If you’re doomscrolling and you’re feeling the associated emotions, take a minute to build some awareness around what’s happening. Pause and then notice what you’re feeling. Let it be there. Just allow it. And then ask yourself: do I want to or need to continue scrolling? The answer is likely no, so take a break and give yourself a pause.

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