Doomscrolling has become the world’s favourite past-time. It’s almost impossible to use any social media account without unintentionally doomscrolling. But once you start, it’s hard to stop, especially when you want to know what’s going on in the world. When it comes to world news, it’s almost entirely negative news we’re spoon feed. But it doesn’t have to be.
What Is Doomscrolling?
In case you’re unfamiliar with the word doomscrolling, we’ll start with a quick definition. Doomscrolling is the act of being unable to stop scrolling through bad news even though it’s bringing you down. Or as Merriam-Webster worded it:
Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing
When it comes to the news, it’s almost always negative. The only times you really get any positive news is if it’s a sporting event and your team won or if it’s local news, rather than national or international news. So the urge to doomscroll is almost unavoidable, as Matt from Sumo Cyco can testify too.
The biggest part of my mental health is just to put my phone down, turn on airplane mode or whatever it’s called and try not to look at everybody’s life. Because when you’re scrolling and looking at everybody’s life, all that kind of stuff can get in your head in this weird way. And I find that that’s the worst part of my mental health, that happened over this pandemic, was having too much time to scroll through shit.
What Is Cheerscrolling?
I first defined the term cheerscrolling in my pervious article, cheerscrolling but here it is again:
Cheerscrolling is the flip-side to doomscrolling, whereby you seek positive and uplifting content to consume by filtering your news for positive content to scroll through.
Which Is Better?
Regarding your mental wellbeing, without a doubt cheerscrolling is better for you. However, if you’re interested in news outlets holding people in power to account (McIntyre, 2016), then you also have to accept negative news. Otherwise, how can you hold politicians to account if news outlets only churned out positive news stories?
It all comes down to want you want from your news, and like most things in life, it’s finding the right balance. But if you’re struggling with feeling depressed, then it’s likely going to be better for you to favour cheerscrolling over doomscrolling. That said, check the section below for tips on how to stop doomscrolling which will help you find that balance.
How To Stop Doomscrolling
Put your phone down
One method that sounds easy, but isn’t, is reducing the time you spend on your phone. Matt, from Sumo Cyco, did this. During my interview with Skye and Matt from Sumo Cyco, Matt told me how he kept his phone in airplane mode to avoid doomscrolling for the sake of his mental health. Instead, Matt only looks at his phone and answers messages when he wants to, rather than when he gets notifications. Fair play to him. I’m not sure I could do that myself.
Setting yourself timeframes for when you can mindlessly scroll social media and the news. By setting timeframes to scroll through this kind of information, it won’t make you feel down all day. Otherwise you’ll be doomscrolling every chance you get; when you wake up, during your commute, during your breaks at work, while you’re watching TV, on the toilet, and before you go to bed.
Ideally, start your day off with cheerscrolling so you can carry that positive feeling through the day, rather than starting off feeling negative about the world by doomscrolling at breakfast.
To avoid your phone crying out for you to give it attention, turn off notifications for apps your most use to doomscroll. By doing this with your problem apps, you’ll start using your phone when you want to, not when it wants you to. Also, stop using your phone as an alarm, such as your morning alarm. When you stop using your phone as your alarm, that means you don’t need to keep picking it up, because once you pick your phone up, it’s easy to be tempted to have a quick scroll through social media.
If you read my article about cheerscrolling, then you’d be aware that I set a cheerscrolling challenge (#Cheerscrolling). I created a Twitter search so people could quickly view all the content that was tagged with the hashtag cheerscrolling, which you can find by clicking here. You could do something similar on Twitter.
You can also set up Google alerts that will filter out positive content to your inbox, so you don’t have to keep manually searching for positive content.
Mix it up
Keep a healthy mix of news consumption. If you spend 10 minutes doomscrolling or reading negative news content, try to spend the next 10 minutes cheerscrolling or reading positive content as well. Also, ideally, start and end your day with positive news content as well.
Visit positive sites
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time doomscrolling my Facebook feed looking for news articles to read, which are rarely positive. It’s all food shortages caused by Brexit, Covid19, racism and homophobia, etc., you get the picture.
A pretty obvious answer to doomscrolling comes from Happiful, and that’s to visit uplifting sites. However, just because it’s obvious, that doesn’t mean it’ll easily come to your mind when you’re trying to think of ways to avoid doomscrolling. Furthermore, what counts as an uplifting site? Well, if you follower me on Twitter or through my Facebook page, then you might have seen me talk about IdeaSpies. I also wrote a post on Ko-fi which talked about how bloggers could benefit from using this site to promote their work.
However, if you’re still unfamiliar with IdeaSpies, then let me quickly bring you up to speed. In short, IdeaSpies is a site that seeks to bring together ideas that are positive, so there’s no doomscrolling here. Instead, IdeaSpies seeks to provide a space for cheerscrolling instead.
There are other sites that dedicate themselves to positive news, which I talked about in a pervious article about #Cheerscrolling. If you’d like to find out who those sites are, then click here to be taken to that article.
We spend far too much time making ourselves depressed by doomscrolling through our social media accounts. But now that you’ve read this article, you know what you can do to add some positivity to your daily news consumption. So what’s stopping you?
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences of doomscrolling and cheerscrolling in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, you can make a donation of any size below. Until next time,
Unwanted Life readers.
McIntyre, K. (2016). What makes “good” news newsworthy?. Communication Research Reports, 33(3), 223-230. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2016.1186619 and http://karenmcintyre.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/good_news_2016.pdf.
54 thoughts on “Doomscrolling To Cheerscrolling, Which Is Better For You?”
I have definitely been doomscrolling a lot. Maybe because the news tends to be negative lately.
You rarely see positive news in the media unless you get your local newspaper
I curate my social media so that I see mostly positive posts, the radio/tv news tends to be where I feel like I only hear negative stories. I also follow ‘good news’ pages on social media sharing upbeat, feel good stories x
It seems like you’ve found a system to make sure you have access to positive news
Very early in the social media craze I stopped receiving notifications. I felt, I didn’t want to be the slave of someone else’s agenda. I also put lots positive accounts on my streams so I feel I have a good balance of negative things that I try to do something about with petitions etc and positive ones that make my day. Have a good one all of you who ?
There really is so much doom and gloom around, I remember your great post on Cheer scrolling. I like what Matt does regarding putting his phone down and only answering msg when he wants to for his mental health. I took a break from social media and blogging most of December, and it really does do you good, so I might start doing it every Christmas 🙂
Taking a break can be a very healthy thing to do, especially over Christmas that can often be stressful
This is interesting, first time know about this and reading your post made me realize about it. Now I will be aware of it in the future. Thank you for sharing!
Happy to have helped make you aware of it
I’ve been watching a lot of animal rescue videos lately. They make me happy.
Got to love a good animal video
I know right, just a little bit of joy
I am so fascinated by your thought that only positive news can have its downsides without the balance of negative news. It is also true that we need to be aware of certain events, no matter how unfortunate their nature, in order to have a good grasp of world affairs and our own personal standing.
Thank you for sharing this!
Unfortunately most world events are negative, but at the same time important to know, so balance is the key
You keep suprising me! I have never heard these terms so far and luckily for me I got a temper so I get pissed at bad things and toss the phone away. But to think of that – social media is built to show similar content which you have already looked/watched and suggest or adds to your list similar content. So someone at power should really change that algorithm. When I have a rough day I like to scroll kittens and puppys on Pinterest.
You must got through a lot of phones given the frequency of negative things online
Some 🙂 I have now mastered the art of tossing phone on something soft pillow, bed, sofa, car seat… or if not possible, more like slip it away from me.
This is such a interesting post. I’ve never heard of doomscrolling before but now I know, it’s something I’ve defiantly done in the past. I do more cheerscrolling nowadays as I like to try and keep a positive mindset. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
I’m glad you started cheerscrolling long before I wrote this article
I had no idea a term like doomscrolling existed! I have definitely fallen victim to this before, especially in the beginning of the pandemic. Now, I do more cheerscrolling but even that can be way too consuming for my liking. There are days where I just stay off of social media altogether to disconnect and refresh. Great post. Thank you for sharing!
Yeah, sometimes its just best to switch off from it altogether for a while
I definitely tend to doom scroll because the news in America is mostly negative. However, I have been making more than effort to curate my news so that there are some positive stuff in there
Every little bit helps
Really interesting post, hours can be lost to doom scrolling – I work in news so am very strict with myself when it comes to social media use outside of work for my sanity.
You’re absolutely right though, to have a media that properly holds those in power to account you’ve got to take the bad news as well as the good – but definitely try and limit it
It must be interesting to work in news, although I imagine your work day is filled with negative news content as a result
It can be interesting, Covid killed a lot of that off and it has at times been hard to deal with the constant stream of ‘everything is just shit’, but things are returning to normal, I’m getting more opportunities to now to tell those stories that don’t get the coverage they deserve again – that’s the most rewarding part.
That’s pretty cool that you’re getting to work the stories that would usually get less coverage
I make a deliberate effort to consume no news and I’m quite happy for people to think I’m ignorant than letting the news drag me down! When it comes to social media I will mute people who always talk about depressing topics like covid, or those who just whinge about politics all the time.
The world can be crushingly depressing enough as it is, so it avoiding a never ending stream of negative news makes your life better, then there’s nothing wrong with that
this was such an interesting topic. i’ve never heard of these terms before but i immediately thought of the pandemic and just news in general – it can be so negative but almost addictive to follow although it brings me down. i’m trying to break this habit and stay informed but not consume too much of it. it’s truly a balance.
Once you became aware of what doomscrolling is, you quickly realise you’ve likely got a problem with it or your loved ones do
It’s a very inspiring post. Doomscrolling and cheerscrolling are the two sides of the same coin: one is negative and the other is positive, but I think that the balance is in the middle. Even if some news are very negative, I think they are important to be known, and at the same time we cannot be led only by positive news, because they give us an idea of the world that it’s not always true. So it’s important to search for both of them, but be aware of not being too much influenced by them. Put down the phone, and have some moments just for ourselves is very necessary for our mental health, because there is the risk to get carried away by all this news (positive and negative) and forget to live your own life 🙂
You’ve quite nicely summed up what I’ve basically said in this article ?
I already mentioned in another post where you touched on this how good of an idea cheerscrolling is. Right before this, I was reading the trending news on Twitter and it’s always at least 75% negative (then the positive “news” is about celebrities I don’t care about so I don’t look at it). It’s so hard not to do. I like knowing what’s going on so I can’t not look at the news. However, I’m starting to realize that more often than not the news never changes. The characters and quotes change, but otherwise it’s essentially the same. So, if I start reading an article and within the first two paragraphs it’s obvious it’s just more of the same, I quickly click out of it. It’s been helpful to a degree.
Negative news is really unavoidable when you want to know what’s going on in the world, unfortunately. But I like your plan for avoiding it as much as possible
Great post! Very insightful! Thank you for sharing!
Great Post! I love the “Cheerscrolling” what a wonderful way to go about thinking positive and creating those positive habits. I call mine social media diet. Plus I control where I spend my time. I love Twitter because its so uplifting and full of supporting and beautiful people. I spend a lot less time on Facebook because its more like Dramabook. I can’t. Thats the beauty of life though we get to choose the space we are in and what we allow in!
Dramabook is a great name for Facebook
We don’t have TV or radio and select the news we want to read on the internet. For the very reason that the constant doom and gloom drags you down!
I can’t imagine living without a TV
I was terrible for doom scrolling back when the pandemic was at its height, it was compulsive and sooo unhealthy. I decided to do the opposite from summer last year and avoid all news outlets and lots of social media. I should try cheer scrolling to see if it improves my mood
Giving cheerscrolling a try if you want to infuse some news into your day. Otherwise, limiting news content and your use of social media might be the best thing to keep doing
I don’t doomscroll myself as I already struggle with anxiety depression and ptsd and absorbing news only adds to the burden. I started a new social media where I only followed what I wanted to and anything that makes me feel bad I’ll unfollow now
I rarely watch the news any more. PTSD is a nightmare I would not wish on my worst enemy. With you in solidarity.
This is very interesting!
I try to focus more on cheerscrolling since there is already so much negativity and bad news out there already!
So so much of it
Since I have a habit of doomscrolling, I have been downsizing my Facebook presence, instead watching funny Youtube videos or movie clips to chill out.
I spend way to much time boredom scrolling on Facebook when I’m desperate to keep myself occupied with something