It’s not uncommon to continuously scroll through social media or the web and read bad news that gets you instantly hooked. However, this practice has gained new popularity during the recent pandemic and even a new nickname, “doomscrolling”. Worldwide, there has been a 35% increase in people watching news media and a 23% increase in people participating in social media use.
Doomscrolling is defined as the activity of spending a lot of time looking at your phone or computer and purposefully reading bad or negative news stories. The new phrase has picked up traction in today’s culture as experts are continuing to discover the impact that it has on mental and physical health.
The past few years have been filled with great uncertainty; COVID-19, vaccines, racial justice, international relations, politics, climate change, and the health of loved ones. There have been countless unanswered questions in almost every area of life. With these unknowns comes a natural desire to resolve the uncertainty, therefore seeking information.
There is a healthy side to this information-seeking that helps with learning what precautions are needed during this time of elevated threat. Yet there is also an unhealthy side that can cause feelings of being constantly on edge and worry about missing critical pieces of information that will increase safety.
Of course, there is no one magic piece of information, news story, or Facebook post. Instead, we have to learn to tolerate uncertainty. This can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming since the brain is hardwired to survive and see surroundings that can potentially cause harm.
For those that already suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder or other anxiety-related disorders, this innate part of human nature can increase the likelihood of developing a “doomscrolling” habit. As these disorders get worse, the need to control the situation around them increases. This want for control actually creates more fear and anxiety.
To read this full article, please follow this link!