Doomscrolling and doomsurfing. This is a new term that denotes a tendency to constantly look for bad news on the network. Sad, sad and depressing articles await us, especially in today’s coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, around every corner. Therefore, sometimes it is very difficult to avoid it. However, finding and tracking bad news can have a negative impact on our behavior and mood.
Maybe for some there is nothing good going on in the world anymore, which is certainly not true. However, if we just dive into doom scrolling, the excessive amount of screen time devoted to reading negative news, this might seem that way.
Doomscrolling can cause and increase feelings of anxiety and depression, write professional server The Conversation. For example, try to imagine how sad you feel when you watch a tragic drama with sad music on it, whereas when you watch a comedy or romantic movie, you usually feel happy or excited, and so does the news. This is caused by two psychological conditions, the first is what is called mood induction (a phenomenon that can change our current mood) and empathy.
Unstoppable flow of negative thoughts
Serotonin is a brain chemical important for regulating mood, and levels can drop when we are chronically stressed or depressed for a long time because of bad news. Studies even show that it is possible to reduce serotonin levels in the bodies of healthy people by listening to sad music.
Empathy is a good and important quality that helps us live with others and supports the functioning of society. This is the ability to empathize with others. However, excessive empathy in watching tragic world events can lead to reflection on negative scenarios and thoughts that affect our mental health and well-being. Bad thoughts that constantly run through your head can lead to depression or anxiety.
This condition, in the long term, can have a major impact on our minds, eventually leading to real cognitive impairments, such as decreased attention, memory, and thinking problems. Negative information is so busy in our memory and attention that our cognitive powers are exhausted and we no longer manage to use this ability for other things. This puts us in a vicious circle, sucking in negative news and because of that we can’t see anyone else, who is more pleasant.
In addition, the longer we are in a bad mood, the harder it is for us to think flexibly. That’s why we then get into situations where we feel that this bad period will never end or that there is no good news. The main thing we then feel is a feeling of complete helplessness.
Technology: good servant, bad master
However, you don’t have to be clinically depressed to have trouble paying attention. It can also be fundamentally influenced by the technology we use every day. For example, one study examined the effect of receiving a recent message on a cell phone while respondents were writing a test. The group that was distracted by the report took longer to complete the test and, in addition, experienced significantly higher levels of stress than the group that wrote without the distraction.
So it’s not only the negative content that we consume that can distract us, but also the technology we use. This can ultimately affect our performance at work, at school or even in social circles.
It restarts your brain
So the question is, what can we do about it? One thing is clear, it is important to avoid obsessive doomscrolling, it takes time for rest and relaxation. So try to plan some daily activities that you enjoy, relieve and relieve stress. Read books, watch fun movies, visit friends. Mood and memory are improved, for example, by learning something new, a language or a musical instrument.
Another way to take internal control over an entire situation is to be actively involved in helping. For example, by supporting charities that are now helping in Ukraine. When you do an act of kindness, it activates a feeling of contentment in your brain and helps you maintain your sanity in the current situation.
If you still can’t avoid doomscrolling, consider seeing a clinical psychologist who can help you reduce your network and Internet activity, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which is currently one of the most common directions of psychotherapy.
In a modern, globalized world with various forms of technology and a continuous flow of information, both negative and positive, it helps to set our boundaries and determine how much we can receive. It’s equally important to choose the sources from which we draw and not be overwhelmed by tragic news alone, even though they may seem to have won out significantly of late. Therefore, the basis of everything is to try to stay positive and resilient, not only for our own good, but also for the good of our loved ones.
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