How do you spot the signs of doomsday scrolling and what exactly is it? These days, it is normal to see most people scrolling through their phone in communal spaces. Whether standing in line at a restaurant, waiting for the bus to arrive, or waiting for a movie to begin, our phone is close to hand and he temptation to scroll through content as a distraction to boredom is always there. The benefits of being connected to everything and everyone around the world in an instant can be quite incredible. However, if you find yourself following disasters, horrific stories, and bleak news constantly then it could be causing problems.

Social media is designed to draw you in. Scrolling for the latest news updates can lead to difficult and horrific stories, plus add in all the comments left by others, and it can be difficult to know what to do with all that information.

When Does Keeping Up With The News Become Doomsday Scrolling?

Not so long ago, we would watch the news on TV at the same time each day, see some upsetting news stories, and then be immersed back into our daily lives. Now with the ability to check news updates 24/7, there is no let up.

In addition, the pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways. During lockdowns, our need to stay informed was paramount. Our smart devices became our link to the world. We could follow the terrifying status of the virus from the safety of our homes.

Doomsday scrolling has since boomed and now with the war in Ukraine, unstable governance, climate change and the threat of recession, the world can easily be viewed through the lens of a dark and dangerous place. Constant reminders of the instability and potential disasters leave us in a state of hyperalert, often without much ability to take meaningful action in our small corner of the world, which is not good for our psychological health.

You can spot the signs of doomsday scrolling when it goes past the point of gaining information and becomes obsessive. Sometimes we feel compelled to check for updates on particular stories as a way to gain a sense of control over what is happening – ever had the thought “If I know all the facts, I can protect myself and my family.”?

How To Break The Habit Of Doomsday Scrolling

  • Set times each day when you check the news, so that there is some order and routine to when you are exposed to upsetting news
  • Focus in on the meaningful actions you can take, here and now, for your nearest and dearest or your community. Reading about disaster elsewhere can lead to helplessness, but there are always meaningful actions you can take right here, right now, no matter how small.
  • Every day, put some distance between yourself and your devices. Go for a walk and get outdoors or meet friends in person for a coffee. Nature and social connection are great healers and can connect us back to what is meaningful here and now.

Doomsday scrolling can lead to fatigue, depression, muscle tension, and increased anxiety or fearfulness. If you spot these signs and would like support to break the habit, then contact us at Sydney City Psychology.