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?
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.
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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.