Are you addicted to bad news? It may feel harmless, but doomscrolling is taking a toll on your mental well-being.
What is doomscrolling?
'Doomscrolling', also known as doomsurfing, is a relatively new term that describes the act of mindlessly trawling through negative news on news apps and social media for hours on end. Essentially, it's reading one negative story after another.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, doomscrolling is the “tendency to continue to surf or scroll to bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening or depressing.” The term first appeared on Twitter in 2018, but the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has brought more awareness to the habit.
There is actually a valid reason why we doomscroll. The human brain is hardwired to look out for threats to our safety and well-being. The more we know about a negative situation, the better prepared we will be for what is to come. Many people are drawn to doomscrolling because it gives a sense of control over the bad news, but often it just leaves you feeling more miserable.
How doomscrolling affects your mental health
Studies have long shown the links between excessive social media use and increased feelings of depression and loneliness. According to health experts, the more recent phenomenon of doomscrolling is having an even more negative impact on mental health, causing feelings of uncertainty, apprehension, fear and distress. It can also affect your mood and sense of well-being.
Some of the effects of doomscrolling are:
- Sleep disruption or insomnia
- Feelings of isolation