The coronavirus pandemic has had multiple negative impacts on different aspects of our lives. And one such habit a lot of us have fallen into is doom scrolling or doom surfing. Let’s delve into this term!
The unrestrained use of screen while scrolling through predominantly negative news is called doom surfing/scrolling. And ever since Covid-19 has gloomed our lives, negative news has not stopped for a breath. It is rather not surprising to find yourself swiping past page after page searching for more details about a disturbing news piece.
Without wanting to, many of us constantly consume hard news, in the recent, that includes the pandemic, protests, or climate crisis. The underlying oxymoron may taste bitter, but It cannot be denied that it is only human to be drawn to negative news. Our tendency towards negative bias inclines us to scan for negative news more as compared to positive news, says a report in The Times of India. But we all know that this is at the cost of our mental well-being.
So, here are some ways to lessen the impact of doomscrolling on your mental health. However the first and big step is to acknowledge the habit, as for the rest, it follows with time.
Keep tabs on your screen time
As it is said, ‘Iron cuts iron,’ smartphones have escalated doomscrolling, but they also provide a feature to keep a track of the time you spend on each app. Keep tabs on your screen time so that you are not lured into excessive use. Try to avoid scrolling before going to bed and right after waking up. The best way to do this is by keeping the phone away from your bed.
Regular exercising helps release neurotransmitters that have a feel-good effect. Yoga and meditation also help in de-stressing and conscious living. And goes without saying, a healthy and balanced diet adds to the benefits. Avoid munching on non-nutritious food while scrolling through your phone. The idea is to be aware of your thoughts and actions and not lose yourself to a behavioural pattern.
Mindless scrolling weakens your attention span. Be mindful of any task that you are doing. Whether you are reading, writing or working out, you must pay full attention to the same. Make sure the news source you are reading from is credible. Also, inculcate the habit of reading positive news too and share the same with your friends and family too. Make sure that any activity you indulge in, you are fully present in that moment.
The STOP technique
It is a human tendency to choose to give yourself up to what looks like a facade. So if you are unable to control the scrolling, you can try the STOP technique. When you exceed your screen time and are unable to control your fingers, say STOP loudly and give yourself a physical stimulus at the same time, which can be a tap on the hand. Doing this repeatedly trains your brain to understand when it is time to stop the current activity.