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Posted 03/22/2022 in Christian Mental Health Tips

Doomscrolling: What It Is And Why It Is Slowly Eroding Your Mental Health


Doomscrolling: What It Is And Why It Is Slowly Eroding Your Mental Health

Bible Verse for Doomscrolling Psychology

Living in a fallen world is not easy,  you will see bad news everywhere, every day. Some people are able to scroll past the things they cannot change, but for others, it's not that easy. Some people are so drawn to bad news that they can spend hours throwing themselves into every aspect of it. The act of spending hour after hour looking or reading about negative news is called doomscrolling, also known as doomsurfing or anxiety scrolling. 

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All it takes is one post to send some people down a rabbit hole looking for more information about the story. Some people do it out of boredom, some out of fascination, and some just as a way of escape but it affects the mental health of all of them. And the worst part is that many of them don't even notice it immediately.

Doomscrolling psychology Facebook PostLike this content on FacebookNow, there's nothing wrong with keeping yourself up to date with what's going on in the world. The problem begins when you find yourself so invested in the bad news that you can't stop scrolling to know more. Needless to say, doomscrolling does not glorify God and can have a negative impact on your mental health.  

What Is Doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling is the tendency to continue scrolling through bad news, even when it makes you sad, fearful, or angry. The tendency to do so can't be explained, as many doomscrollers don't even know why they do it. 

However, many explain that their tendency to keep scrolling is far more intense than the desire to stop. This is a huge problem, not only for your mental health but for your spiritual health as well. 

Indulging in so much bad news pulls you away from meditating on the good news and that's not what God wants. God wants His children to focus on the good news, on the news that He has given us, on the Bible. 

He wants us to be happy and filled with hope from the good news, not worn out and hopeless from bad news. He has a plan for our lives, a good plan, one that doesn't involve unnecessary self-imposed stress and anxiety.

Doomscrolling Examples

You may be doomscrolling without even realizing it. So here are some examples of what doomscrolling looks like:

  • Scrolling through Facebook and clicking on a news story about a missing person's case. The algorithm picks that up and shows you more stories about missing people as well as updates on the one you first read. You become invested and find yourself scrolling, clicking, reading comments, and thinking. It consumes your time and your mind, but you need to get updates so the cycle goes on and on.

  • Reading the political debates in the comments section of the latest update regarding what's going on in the government. The thought process that some people have makes you sad, maybe even angry. But you're also entertained by the comebacks of what others are saying so you keep on scrolling.

  • You see a post about someone who killed a family member and you can't understand how anyone could get to that point. So you scroll through different posts about it, you read comments about it, you even start to Google more about it. You become extremely invested, scrolling regularly until the case is closed, which is never the next day.

Doomscrolling Makes Us Feel Bad—So Why Do We Do It?

By now you may have figured that doomscrolling is really bad, so why do we still do it? Why do we continue to scroll toward doom even though it makes us feel sick?

The answer is simple, it's what our brains are hardwired to do. This may or may not have been since Eve ate that forbidden fruit and gained the knowledge of good and evil. But our brain is hardwired to pay attention to negative news so it can help us predict the future and avoid danger.

Today, a lot of the bad news we see isn't a real threat to us, but our brains have not evolved enough to tell the difference. So our brain and its tendency to predict and protect is one reason we doomscroll.

Another reason we tend to indulge in doomscrolling is boredom and fatigue. It may affect you mentally, but physically, doomscrolling is effortless. Laying in bed and scrolling after a long day feels great because not only is it accessible but it's also stimulating to the mind. It seems like the perfect way to distract yourself from the stress of the day but it actually causes more. 

How Doomscrolling Negatively Impacts Your Mental Health

Doomscrolling can have a huge negative impact on your mental health. Paying attention to too much bad news can lead to stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, depression, procrastination, trouble sleeping, and even relationship problems.

Getting invested in what you read can also cause you to think about it long after you've stopped scrolling. This in turn makes you want to pick up your devices and check for updates regularly. It also causes you to feel anxious or depressed in the moments you're supposed to be happy and/or focused.

As Christians, we should also consider what doomscrolling does to our souls. Our brains may be hardwired to focus on negative news. But our hearts and souls are created to experience and share the good news. The darkness can be there but it's not supposed to dim our light. Our light is supposed to shine through, even in the darkest of times with the most devastating news around us.Doomscrolling psychology Pinterest ImagePin It

How To Stop Doomscrolling News And Social Media

It's impossible to control the news, but it is possible to control how you consume and respond to it. Here's how to stop doomscrolling the news and social media:

Be aware of it

It's important to be aware of your emotional responses to the news you read. If you notice that something is making you feel bad, stop reading it immediately.

Replace it with something better

Sometimes we only scroll because we have nothing better to do. So if this is your reason for doomscrolling replace it with something better. Pray, read your Bible, listen to worship music, journal, or even watch your favorite TV show instead.

Look for positive stories

There may be chaos in the world right now but I can promise you that it's not all bad. God is still at work in His people and if you look for positive stories you will find them. So if scrolling is your favorite pass time, try and find some good stories to scroll through.

Take a second look at who you follow

Are the news sites or people you follow doing fact checks before they post? If not, they're probably not a good source to learn about what's happening in the world.

Go on technology fasts

Go on a technology fast in order to detox from social media.  Choose a day, week, or month to go social media or news free. Use that time to meditate on the Good News which is the Word of God. This will unburden you from the avalanche of bad news and ground you in the truth that still stands today.

Conclusion 

The doom and darkness of the world may be prevalent today but the light has already overcome it. It's all temporary, it will all fade away and one day we will be with God forever in eternity.

So today, instead of focusing on the things you can't control by doomscrolling mindlessly, choose to be mindful. Be aware of how you're spending your energy and time. Resist the temptation to doomscroll, knowing that God has promised to not let you be tempted more than you can bear. Start where you are, even if you're only able to try one thing from the list above, try it. Starting small is always better than not starting at all. 

Little by little, you'll notice that doomscrolling has lost its hold on you.

About the Author: 

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here: https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2




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