You might not have heard of the term before but chances are, you’ve lived it. Doomscrolling, the act of endlessly scrolling through negative news and distressing content on social media or news apps, has become an all-too-common behavior thanks to the popularity of smartphones. With an abundance of information available at our fingertips, it's easy to get caught in a cycle of doom and gloom that can negatively impact our mental health.
We consulted the experts and explored strategies to break free from doomscrolling and cultivate digital well-being when using your smartphone.
Set Time Limits
One of the first steps to avoid doomscrolling is to set time limits for your smartphone usage. Most smartphones come with built-in screen time management features that allow you to monitor and restrict your daily usage. Set specific time limits for social media and news apps to ensure you don't fall into the endless scrolling trap.
Engage in Mindful Usage
Practice mindfulness while using your smartphone. Before opening a social media app or a news website, ask yourself why you're doing it and how it will make you feel. It really helps to be aware of your emotions and reactions as you browse through content. You could also use smartphone apps that make you more productive and less prone to doomscrolling, such as language learning, playing Sudoku, or playing online games. You can also read reviews of the games to learn how they work, and claim a sign-up bonus with free spins when you register at the gaming platform.
Create Tech-Free Zones
Designate certain areas in your home or specific times of the day as tech-free zones. For example, it’s a good idea to keep your smartphone away during meals, family gatherings, or before bedtime. By creating these boundaries, you'll have designated periods to unwind, connect with loved ones, and enjoy peaceful moments free from digital distractions.
Curate Your Social Media Feed
Take control of the content you consume by curating your feed to avoid the many risks of social media. Apart from your exes, make it a point to unfollow accounts or pages that consistently share negative or distressing information. Instead, follow accounts that inspire, uplift, and educate. Surrounding yourself with positive content can help shift your focus away from doomscrolling and contribute to a more positive digital experience.
Set Intentional Scrolling Goals
If you find yourself succumbing to the allure of endless scrolling, set intentional goals for your browsing sessions. For example, you could aim to spend no more than 10 minutes on a social media platform or limit your news reading to a specific number of articles. This will help you stay focused and prevent you from getting lost in the dark abyss of negative content.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Rather than mindlessly scrolling through an endless stream of content, choose quality over quantity. Seek out reputable news sources like The Guardian or the New York Times, and limit the time you spend reading articles or watching videos. Focus on consuming meaningful content that adds value to your life and fosters personal growth.
Embrace Digital Detoxes
Regularly schedule digital detoxes to recharge and reset your relationship with your smartphone. Choose a day or a weekend to disconnect from social media, news apps, and digital devices altogether. Don’t worry, you’ll survive! You can use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, such as reading a book, going for a walk, or spending quality time with friends or family.
Seek Support When Needed
If you find it challenging to break free from doomscrolling habits on your own, don't hesitate to seek support. Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional who can provide guidance and encouragement as you work towards cultivating a healthier relationship with your smartphone and digital content.
Doomscrolling can be a harmful habit that negatively impacts our mental health and overall well-being. But it is possible to reclaim control over your smartphone usage and cultivate digital well-being. Remember that balance is key as you navigate the digital landscape with intention and mindfulness.