In times of anxiety, the modern era has given us a popular but harmful coping mechanism—doomscrolling. A cognitive response similar to ruminating, doomscrolling entails repeatedly scrolling through bad content online, providing only a short respite without addressing the underlying cause of worry. Let’s look at the influence of doomscrolling and how to break out from the loop.
Rumination, doomscrolling, and the illusion of control
Rumination, the mental act of repeatedly cycling over worrisome thoughts, has a digital counterpart in doomscrolling. While both may temporarily provide a sense of control over worry, they fall short of addressing the root causes. They may worsen the situation by exaggerating its breadth and distorting reality.
Recognize and redirect
The first step in ending the doomscrolling cycle is self-awareness. Recognize the indicators of a downward spiral and disrupt the trend. Instead of giving in to the appeal of endless scrolling, turn your attention to alternate activities that actually treat your worry.
Concrete steps for combating doomscrolling
Calm your mind
When anxiety sets in, engage in calming activities like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, exercise, or a simple walk. Shift your focus away from the virtual chaos and toward the soothing routines that settle you in the present.
Directing your emotions onto paper results in a physical narrative that externalizes the source of fear. This method not only provides temporary relief but also helps you gain a better understanding of your emotions.
Studies show that expressive writing can reduce anxiety by transforming your inner turmoil into an organized story. By externalizing your thoughts, you create a concrete detachment from the anxiety, which aids comprehension and resolution.
Focus on control
Evaluate the origins of your concerns and assess whether they are within your area of influence. Concentrate your efforts on taking actionable steps to handle situations that are within your control.
Rather than giving the impression of control through doomscrolling, embrace actionable control. Refocus your efforts on finding practical answers to the problems that are causing you concern. By focusing on what you can change, you can not only break free from the cycle but also actively construct a bright future.