Lilydale Youth Hub

How to beat doomscrolling with three positive changes

Avoid falling into a pit of social media negativity with tips from the Lilydale Youth Hub team.

This article in 3 points:

  • Seeing a lot of stressful content can have a big impact on your own stress levels.
  • The most important step is to recognise how social media use is making you feel and take steps from there.
  • Actions you can take include unfollowing or muting accounts you follow, reducing the amount of time you spend scrolling, or deleting apps all together – for a day, a week, a month – whatever you need.

Doomscrolling: or doom-scroll·ing [doom-skroh-ling]

noun Digital Technology.
the practice of obsessively checking online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the news will be bad, such that the feeling of dread from this negative expectation fuels a compulsion to continue looking for updates in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to burn your phone or that social media is toxic.

You likely already know that, even in the best of times, it can impact mental health in a bad way, from creating negative body image representations to disrupting your sleep.

That said, we all use some form of social media to connect with friends and different communities and there are plenty of good things about it.

More recently though, it might seem like your entire feed is filled with doom and gloom — whether about the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, or other social issues.

Naturally, the more you read everyone discussing stressful things, the higher your own stress and anxiety levels go up.

And that’s where doomscrolling comes in.

Why is doomscrolling so addictive?

When the things we’re stressing about impact literally everyone on the planet, it stands to reason that it’s going to be a popular topic covered on your social feeds.

As these large-scale stress events unfold, we can become glued to our phones reading and watching take after take about what’s happening — in real time.

This can make you feel that you alone are hopeless to manage the size and scope of a crisis as huge as a global pandemic. Your stress and anxiety levels go through the roof.

So how do you get out of a ‘scroll hole’?

We’re not here to tell you to delete your accounts. Rather, it’s important to be aware how much you use social media, and how you feel when you use it.

The key to stopping doomscrolling is to understand what your mind and body need to de-stress during extra stressful times.

You may find that the best thing is to take a break from your socials for a while, or to change how you use them. But it’s more about what works for you and your mental health.

3 ways to stop doomscrolling:

1. The Distancing approach

Identify stressful or problematic accounts that you follow and delete or mute them so they show up in your feed.

Another way to distance yourself from social media is to set a time every day where you don’t look at your phone. For example, you could try avoiding social media for the first hour that you wake up and after 8pm at night.

2. The Positive Boost approach

Make a conscious choice to seek out and follow positive accounts/personalities.

And aim to post something positive yourself once a week. You’d be surprised how powerful an impact this has on your friends.

3. The Shine-A-Light approach

If you’re viewing a lot of stressful content, talk about it with a friend. Discussing it in a safe environment can provide you with a support point for your stress.

You may feel more in control over something by bringing it into the real world.

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